Climate crime scene tape at an Extinction Rebellion protest

Extinction Rebellion "crime scene investigators" in white suits and masks put up "climate crime scene" tape at a rally outside the Brazilian Embassy on September 7, 2020 in London, United Kingdom. (Photo: Mike Kemp/Getty Images)

Major Companies Undercut Climate Promises With GOP Donations

From Amazon and AT&T to Citigroup, Uber, and Walmart, top corporations are giving money to the Republican Attorneys General Association, the Center for Political Accountability found.

Dozens of top companies across various industries that have pledged to cut their planet-heating emissions are collectively pouring millions into electing GOP officials standing the way of climate action, an analysis revealed Wednesday.

"This report should serve as an important reminder to corporations to reassess their political contribution policies."

"Well-known companies including Walmart, Comcast, Coca-Cola, CVS Health, AT&T, Amazon, Pfizer, Uber, and Anthem all have implemented policies or set goals to reduce their emissions," states the new Center for Political Accountability report.

"However, these same corporations' treasury dollars have helped elect state attorneys general who have acted to prevent the reduction of emissions in nine separate court cases," the document continues. "Their actions potentially or effectively undermine these donor corporations' emissions goals and policies."

The Center for Political Accountability found that "in the 2016, 2018, and 2020 election cycles, 75 public companies contributed $772,547.32 directly to 16 attorneys general candidates."

The group further found that 58 companies which gave at least $100,000 to the Republican Attorneys General Association (RAGA) for those cycles collectively contributed more than $16.5 million to the 527 political organization during that period.

Throughout the three election cycles, 22 candidates received over $5.5 million from public companies and RAGA, with over $4.7 million coming from the AG political group.

The findings show that "these corporations are really undercutting the emissions goals, pledges, and policies that they've put in place," Carlos Holguin, research director at the center, toldThe Washington Post, which exclusively reported on the analysis.

Alphabet, Bayer AG, Chevron, Cigna, Citigroup, Eli Lilly & Co., ExxonMobil, Facebook, Fox Corporation, General Motors, Home Depot, Intuit, Johnson & Johnson, Microsoft, PayPal, PepsiCo., T-Mobile U.S., Visa, and 3M are among the corporations called out in the report.

The nine court cases outlined include efforts by GOP state attorneys general to stop the Biden administration from revoking a permit for the Keystone XL pipeline; halting new oil and gas leasing; and creating a metric to estimate the "social cost of greenhouse gases."

Kevin Brennan, a board member at the center who holds multiple positions at the investment firm Bridgewater Associates, wrote in the foreword that the new analysis is both "vital and timely."

"This report should serve as an important reminder to corporations to reassess their political contribution policies," he asserted, "including expanded transparency, to ensure alignment with their public and internally defined goals."

Brennan and Bruce Freed, the center's president and co-founder, warned the companies that not aligning their climate goals with their political giving presents a business risk.

"When companies give to RAGA, they may think it's just another third-party group, and they may not realize the consequences," Freed told the Post. "But they have very serious consequences... and companies bear a great deal of responsibility for them."

The analysis comes as the House-approved Build Back Better Act that was supposed to deliver on many of President Joe Biden's climate pledges has stalled in the evenly split Senate.

The failure of that legislative package has boosted pressure on Biden to declare a climate emergency so he can take various executive actions that would likely face legal challenges from Republican-controlled states.

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