- AT&T and Cigna have resumed funding GOP election objectors, Popular Information reported Friday.
- Some companies paused PAC contributions after GOP efforts to overturn Biden’s victory led to violence.
- Here’s how much each S&P 500 corporate PAC had given – and if they’ve paused or resumed contributions.
- Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.
AT&T and Cigna both gave money last month to groups overseen by Republican lawmakers who sought to overturn the US presidential election results in January, contradicting the companies’ earlier promises, Popular Information’s Jedd Legum reported Friday.
After violent pro-Trump rioters stormed the Capitol, interrupting the GOP’s last-ditch effort to invalidate states’ Electoral College results, companies faced intense public criticism over their financial support of the 147 Republican members of Congress who backed the effort.
Amid the backlash, dozens of major corporations said they would pause contributions and reevaluate how they determine which lawmakers to support.
Yet barely a month later, AT&T and Cigna have apparently determined that some of those lawmakers are once again deserving of support.
AT&T and Cigna did not respond to requests for comment on this story.
AT&T’s Political Action Committee (PAC), just 35 days after pausing contibutions to the 147 election objectors, gave $5,000 to the Republican Study Committee in February, according to Legum. Rep. Mike Johnson, a Republican from Louisiana who voted against certifying Electoral College results, sits on the RSC’s executive committee.
Cigna, which had said it would “discontinue support of any elected official who encouraged or supported violence, or otherwise hindered a peaceful transition of power,” continued that support just 22 days later by giving $15,000 to the National Republican Senatorial Committee, Legum reported. The NRSC is chaired by GOP Sen. Rick Scott of Florida, another election objector.
Political Action Committees backed by S&P 500 companies gave more than $23 million to the 147 GOP election objectors during the most recent campaign cycles (2020 for House members; 2016 and 2018 for senators), according to an Insider analysis of Federal Election Commission data provided by the Center for Responsive Politics.
Critics, from activists to shareholders to other executives, have argued the contributions helped those lawmakers get elected and stay in power, giving them the platform they used to undermine voters’ faith in the election (which Trump’s former top cybersecurity official called “the most secure in American history“).
Following reporting from Popular Information and other media outlets, many companies began rethinking their political contributions.
Companies’ commitments varied widely, however.
Few have permanently blacklisted election objectors, and as Democratic Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez pointed out, the largest contributions typically happen right before, not after elections, leaving the door open for companies to resume their support once the public’s attention has turned elsewhere – an argument bolstered by AT&T and Cigna’s recent contributions.
Other companies paused all PAC contributions, potentially allowing them to benefit from the positive PR without having to explicitly condemn – or risk alienating – more than half of the Republicans in Congress.
Here’s a list of the S&P 500 companies – some of the largest and most influential businesses in the US – how much they gave to the 147 election objectors in the latest election cycles through their corporate PACs, and whether they’ve pulled (or resumed) their support.
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