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President Donald Trump attends a rally in support of Sen. David Perdue (R-Ga.) and Sen. Kelly Loeffler (R-Ga.) on December 5, 2020 in Valdosta, Georgia. The rally with the senators comes ahead of a crucial runoff election for Perdue and Loeffler on January 5, which will decide who controls the U.S. Senate. (Photo: Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

President Donald Trump attends a rally in support of Sen. David Perdue (R-Ga.) and Sen. Kelly Loeffler (R-Ga.) on December 5, 2020 in Valdosta, Georgia. The rally with the senators comes ahead of a crucial runoff election for Perdue and Loeffler on January 5, which will decide who controls the U.S. Senate. (Photo: Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

With Senate—and Nation's Future—at Stake, Corporations Pouring Money Into Georgia for GOP

From Ford to Visa to Verizon, journalist Judd Legum reports corporations are spending big "to keep McConnell in charge."

Jessica Corbett

With a pair of January 5 runoff races in Georgia set to determine which party controls the U.S. Senate—and thus how hard it will be for President-elect Joe Biden to turn his campaign promises into congressional action—reporting on Thursday revealed that corporations are dumping donations into the GOP's effort to hold onto the crucial seats.

Early voting for the races is slated to start December 14. Voters in the Peach State will choose between incumbent Republican Sens. Kelly Loeffler and David Perdue and their respective Democratic challengers, Rev. Raphael Warnock and Jon Ossoff. Biden, who narrowly won the state, plans to travel to Atlanta next week to campaign for them.

Although the president-elect has not traveled much during the coronavirus pandemic, his trip to Georgia signals he recognizes what is at stake if Warnock and Ossoff lose and Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) remains majority leader, enabling him to control votes on everything from Biden's Cabinet nominees to legislation on key issues like the climate crisis, gun control, and additional Covid-19 relief.

Legum reviewed hundreds of filings with the Federal Election Commission to figure out which corporations are funding Loeffler and Perdue's campaigns. As the journalist explained in his newsletter Popular Information:

Most campaign committees had to report their post-election receipts (up until November 23) on December 3. But due to a quirk in campaign finance law, the campaigns of Perdue and Loeffler do not have to reveal their recent donors until December 24.

But where there's a will, there's a way. Although Perdue and Loeffler haven't reported any donors since November 2, individual corporate PACs were required to report on December 3. Popular Information reviewed hundreds of those filings and pieced together a picture of Perdue and Loeffler's corporate backers between November 3 and November 23.

The newsletter also noted that corporate PACs can only contribute $5,000 per candidate. Legum detailed some of his key findings on Twitter:

In addition to publishing a list of companies that have given the GOP candidates contributions since Election Day, Legum highlighted how their support for the Republicans contradicts some of their public statements about where the companies claim to stand on a range of issues.

Anheuser Busch says that "we pride ourselves on our close relationship with our consumers, and we know they care about climate change," while Ford vows "to use 100% locally sourced renewable energy for all its manufacturing plants globally by 2035." He also noted Cox Enterprises' moves to advance racial justice in the wake of the police killings of Breonna Taylor and George Floyd, Verizon's support for voting rights, and Visa's call for stronger gun control.

As an example of what these companies are supporting by donating to Loeffler and Perdue, Legum pointed to the GOP candidates' joint statement on Wednesday endorsing a complaint filed by Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton, a Republican, that asks the U.S. Supreme Court to block four battleground states which Biden won—including Georgia—from voting in the Electoral College.

By contrast, Steve Vladeck, CNN Supreme Court analyst and University of Texas at Austin law professor, said Tuesday that Paxton's filing is "mostly a stunt—a dangerous, offensive, and wasteful one, but a stunt nonetheless." Even the office Georgia's Republican Attorney General, Chris Carr, called it "constitutionally, legally and factually wrong," according to the Atlanta Journal Constitution.

In a brief phone call Wednesday that preceded Loeffler an Perdue's statement, President Donald Trump warned Carr "not to rally other Republican officials" against the Texas suit, the newspaper also reported. "The two men spoke at the urging of Perdue, who along with Loeffler also received calls from Trump about Carr's opposition to the lawsuit."

Biden, meanwhile, announced in an email to supporters Thursday "a bold new effort, the Flip Georgia Fund, to make sure we win the state and take back the Senate."

"I really mean it when I say that taking back the Senate gives us our best chance to pass strong Covid relief, rebuild our economy, and begin to unite our country. And on January 5, Georgians will cast the votes that will decide the course of the country," the incoming president wrote. "Fortunately, they've got two great candidates to vote for. Jon Ossoff and Raphael Warnock will look out for Georgians' interests, not their own. That's exactly the kind of leadership we need in the U.S. Senate."


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