Since the January 6, 2021 attack on the U.S. Capitol by supporters of former President Donald Trump, Fortune 500 companies and industry trade groups have given over $36 million to Republican members of Congress—the so-called "Sedition Caucus"—who attempted to overturn the results of the 2020 presidential election, an analysis published Friday by the watchdog group Accountable.US revealed.
"The deadly insurrection at the U.S. Capitol on January 6, 2021 was the result of months of election fraud lies spread far and wide by twice-impeached former President Trump and his allies. Even after all the violence that day, 147 members of Congress and eight U.S. senators kept the 'Big Lie' alive by voting against certifying the presidential election results in some states," Accountable.US noted in its report, which analyzed year-end Federal Election Commission filings for the 2022 election cycle.
"Many corporations publicly condemned the insurrection and those lawmakers who voted against certification, and some pledged to no longer donate to their campaigns. But as time has passed, the condemnation from corporate America over January 6 and the Big Lie appears to be abating," the group added. "Some of the corporations that pledged to stop funding the members who objected to certifying the election are quietly finding ways to give again."
According to the analysis, the top five donors to election objectors were the National Beer Wholesalers Association Political Action Committee ($894,500); National Automobile Dealers Association Political Action Committee ($829,500); American Bankers Association PAC ($779,000); Build Political Action Committee of The National Association of Home Builders ($663,500); and AT&T Inc. ($629,900).
Among corporations, after AT&T the biggest donors were Home Depot ($478,000); Lockheed Martin ($440,000); Boeing ($392,000); and Comcast ($382,000).
The top five election-objecting recipients were House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.); House Majority Leader Steve Scalise (R-La.); House Transportation Committee Chair Sam Graves (R-Mo.); House Ways and Means Committee Chair Jason Smith (R-Mo.); and National Republican Congressional Committee Chair Richard Hudson (R-N.C.).
The analysis also found that over two-thirds of the final lot of donations, amounting to $113,500, went to Sens. Ted Budd (R-N.C.) and Markwayne Mullin (R-Okla.), who both objected to certifying President Joe Biden's Electoral College victory while they served in the House.
Corporate America's largesse toward Big Lie supporters stands in stark contrast with public proclamations from numerous company leaders in the wake of the January 6 insurrection. AT&T and Comcast even went so far as suspending donations to elected officials who voted against certifying the Electoral College votes, while announcing reviews of their campaign contribution policies and practices.
"Many corporations risked their reputations to reward millions to MAGA extremists in Congress that obstructed the democratic process even after a violent insurrection."
"Workers, customers, and shareholders want to work for, buy from, and invest in companies that share their values and democratic ideals," Accountable.US spokesperson Jeremy Funk said in a statement. "So many corporations risked their reputations to reward millions to MAGA extremists in Congress that obstructed the democratic process even after a violent insurrection. With many of the same MAGA election deniers now holding powerful positions that could threaten democracy and fundamental voting rights, it's critical that corporations finally stand up to their extremism—not encourage more."
Last month, a report by the government transparency watchdog showed that corporate PACs and industry trade groups have given more than $66 million to election objectors since the January 6 attack. The OpenSecrets analysis, which included more companies and PACs than the Accountable.US report, named most of the same industry groups and corporations in the top five donors—the National Association of Realtors ($909,000) topped its list—and congressional recipients as Accountable.US' list.
Also last month, Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington issued its own analysis which found that just 65 of the more than 230 corporations and industry groups that "pledged to stop, pause, or re-evaluate their political giving to the 147 members of the so-called Sedition Caucus... have kept their promises not to give, while the rest have resumed giving."