These are the companies still giving money to the lawmakers who voted to overturn the election results

Hawley Trump
Former President Donald Trump with Missouri Sen. Josh Hawley.

  • After the January 6 Capitol siege, dozens of companies said they’d cut ties with some Trump groups.
  • Several companies vowed to stop PAC donations to lawmakers who voted against Biden’s certification.
  • However, other companies made vaguer statements – and have restarted donations.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Companies including Toyota, JetBlue, and Cigna are still donating thousands of dollars to the lawmakers who voted against Joe Biden’s certification as president.

After a mob of Trump supporters stormed the US Capitol on January 6 to try and prevent Congress from certifying Biden’s win, many top US companies scrambled to cut ties with the 147 GOP lawmakers who voted against the results.

Dozen of companies, including Walmart, Amazon, Morgan Stanley, and AT&T, said they would stop giving donations to these specific lawmakers, and Hallmark even asked Hawley and Kansas Sen. Roger Marshall to return its donations.

Other companies, including Microsoft, Deloitte, and Goldman Sachs, said they would instead pause all political donations to both Republicans and Democrats. Many gave a set timescale for their pause.

A further group of companies said they would review their contribution policies or would take the January 6 events into account when awarding funding.

Jeffrey Sonnenfeld, founder of Yale’s Chief Executive Leadership Institute, told Axios in March the companies that halted political donations are unlikely to lift this ban any time soon. However, recent Federal Election Commission filings show that some companies are still giving to these lawmakers.

Color of Change, which says it is America’s largest racial justice organization and has more than 7 million members, is urging these companies to halt the donations.

Jade Ogunnaike, senior campaign director at Color of Change, told Insider that Trump’s presidency “undermined faith in our democracy.”

She said lawmakers including Texas Sen. Ted Cruz and Missouri Sen. Josh Hawley, who voted against Biden’s certification, “would have been very happy to do anything possible that they could to ensure that Trump remained in the office.”

“You can’t forget that these are not congresspeople that we can trust,” Ogunnaike added.

“It’s incredibly important that corporations understand that and refuse to back people who were supporting violence in the transfer of power,” she said.

The vast majority of corporations who pledged to stop funding these GOP lawmakers have stayed true to their word – but some companies who made vaguer promises about assessing PAC criteria have restarted donations, while others gave money instead to various Republican committees that, in turn, fund these lawmakers.

Here are the companies that have still been funding these 147 objectors, according to Federal Election Commission data up to March 31.

Toyota

Toyota Logo

Toyota’s corporate PAC has given to 40 of the lawmakers who voted against Biden’s certification, Popular Information reported, with the donations totalling $62,000. This includes $5,000 to Michigan Rep. Jack Bergman and $3,500 to Arizona Rep. David Schweikert.

The automaker had previously told Automotive News it was assessing its PAC criteria following the Capitol siege.

“Toyota supports candidates based on their position on issues that are important to the auto industry and the company,” a Toyota spokesperson told Insider.

“We do not believe it is appropriate to judge members of Congress solely based on their votes on the electoral certification,” the spokesperson said. “Based on our thorough review, we decided against giving to some members who, through their statements and actions, undermine the legitimacy of our elections and institutions.”

 

Cigna

Cigna insurance
Cigna’s logo.

Health insurer Cigna said in January it would pause contributions to lawmakers “who encouraged or supported violence, or otherwise hindered a peaceful transition of power,” but added that this group doesn’t necessarily include all 147 GOP objectors.

The company gave money to at least six of the lawmakers who voted against Biden’s certification, Forbes reported. This included $1,000 to Florida Rep. Byron Donalds, $1,500 to South Carolina Rep. Tom Rice, and $2,500 to Pennsylvania Rep. John Joyce.

“In January, we disqualified certain elected officials from CignaPAC support based on alignment with our company values,” Cigna told Insider in a statement.

“Our new standard applies to those who incited violence or actively sought to obstruct the peaceful transition of power through words and other efforts. Congressional votes are, by definition, part of the peaceful transition of power outlined by law, and therefore, we believe are not the appropriate indicator for the application of our policy.”

Cigna added that its PAC remains nonpartisan and “focused on the common concerns of the employees who fund it.”

Koch Industries

Billionaire businessman Charles Koch.
Billionaire businessman Charles Koch.

Popular Information reported that Koch Industries gave a total of $17,500 to six lawmakers who voted against Biden’s certification, including North Carolina Rep. Richard Hudson and Kansas Rep. Ron Estes.

This came after the Koch political network, which is also controlled by billionaire businessman Charles Koch, told Politico that “lawmakers’ actions leading up to and during last week’s insurrection will weigh heavy in our evaluation of future support.”

The chemical-manufacturing company did not respond to Insider’s request for comment.

National Association of Realtors

California Rep. Ken Calvert.
California Rep. Ken Calvert.

The National Association of Realtors is a major political donor. It spent a total of $154.3 million on political donations and lobbying during the 2019/20 election cycle, according to a report by Americans for Financial Reform, putting it third-highest among Wall Street firms and associations.

During this time period, it was the third-biggest PAC donor to the lawmakers who later voted against Biden’s certification, giving $1.27 million to these lawmakers out of the total $13.7 million it spent on political contributions, data from political-transparency site Open Secrets shows.

The New York Times reported that in the first quarter of 2021 the National Association of Realtors gave to multiple objectors, including $1,000 each Alabama Rep. Robert Aderholt and California Rep. Ken Calvert.

The association, which told Insider that it had 1.4 million members, said it put a temporary pause on all federal political disbursements in place after the siege, but had lifted it.

“This decision will ensure we continue to engage with political candidates in an effort to support America’s homeowners and our nation’s real estate industry,” it said, adding that its PAC was bipartisan.

JetBlue

JetBlue Airways Airbus A321neo
A JetBlue Airways Airbus A321.

JetBlue told Insider that it temporarily paused its donations to get feedback from PAC contributors. Since then, its PAC has donated $1,000 to New York Rep. Nicole Malliotakis, who voted against Biden’s certification.

“We take a bipartisan approach, supporting both Republicans and Democrats,” a spokesperson for JetBlue said, adding that its PAC had donated to two further Republican candidates and four Democratic ones since resuming contributions, none of whom had voted to challenge the election results.

“By having relationships with candidates on both sides of the aisle, we can also maintain a voice in the room on issues that are important to our crewmembers,” the spokesperson said. “We’ll continue to have an open dialogue with PAC contributors to understand how and where their contributions should be directed.”

Jones Walker

Mike Bost
Illinois Rep. Mike Bost.

Jones Walker, one of the US’ largest law firms, donated $1,000 to Illinois Rep. Mike Bost, Popular Information first reported.

The New Orleans-based company didn’t respond to Insider’s request for comment.

Cubic Corporation, LKQ Corporation, and the Sierra Nevada Corporation

Josh Hawley
Missouri Sen. Josh Hawley.

Forbes also reported that defense contractor Cubic Corporation gave to at least eight lawmakers who refused to certify, auto-parts distributor LKQ Corporation to at least eight, and aerospace company Sierra Nevada Corporation to least seven. 

Cubic declined to comment, while LKQ Corporation and the Sierra Nevada Corporation did not respond to Insider’s request for comment.

Trade associations

FILE PHOTO: Wells Fargo Bank branch is seen in New York City, U.S., March 17, 2020. REUTERS/Jeenah Moon
A Wells Fargo Bank branch in New York.

Some PACs, meanwhile, haven’t given directly to the 147 objectors — but are members of trade associations that themselves gave to these lawmakers, Popular Information said.

The American Financial Services Association, for example, counts General Motors and Wells Fargo among its members. Both said they would pause all political donations, and have kept true to their word — but AFSA donated $1,000 to South Carolina Rep. William Timmons in February, FEC filings show. ASFA’s PAC donates heavily in favor of Republicans, data from Open Secrets shows.

Financial-services companies are major donors to lawmakers, and Wall Street spent a record $2.9 billion on political contributions and lobbying in 2019 and 2020, according to a report by Americans for Financial Reform. Despite almost equal support for Democratic and Republican candidates, the sector donated overwhelmingly towards Biden’s presidential campaign over Trump’s.

Some companies are instead funding GOP committees

Pfizer
Pfizer.

Another way corporate PACs have been indirectly funding the lawmakers who voted against Biden’s certification is through donations to committees such as the National Republican Senatorial Committee (RNSC).

Popular Information reported that Pfizer donated $15,000 to the NRSC in February, which is run by Florida Sen. Rick Scott, who objected to the election results. These funds will also benefit the seven other GOP senators who voted against Biden’s certification, the publication reported.

Cigna also donated $15,000 to the NRSC, alongside a further $15,000 to the National Republican Congressional Committee (NRCC).

Intel also gave $15,000 to the NRCC after it had said it would stop donations to the 147 objectors.

The tech company told Insider that its policy of halting direct contributions to members of Congress who voted against certificating the Electoral College results still applied.

It said that it divides its political contributions evenly among Republicans and Democrats, including individual candidates, campaign committees, and governors associations, and added that it continuously evaluates its contributions.

Communications giant AT&T had also said in January that it would halt contributions to the lawmakers who voted against Biden’s certification, but it donated $5,000 to the House Conservatives Fund in February, which fundraises for the Republican Study Committee, itself made up mainly of GOP objectors.

AT&T told Popular Information that the House Conservative Fund had “assured” them that none of this money would go to support the re-election of the 147 objectors.

Insider has contacted Pfizer and AT&T for comment.

Color of Change wants these companies to address their political contributions

trump
Former President Donald Trump.

“At Color of Change we’re not supporting a boycott [of these companies] necessarily,” Ogunnaike told Insider. Instead, the organization is asking people to design a petition asking that these companies stop funding these lawmakers.

She added she also recommended that customers contact these companies and share their point of view.

“What we see is that corporations are very, very reactive to the concerns of consumers,” she said. “We’ve seen corporations change their minds on an important issue within moments because consumers reached.”

Read the original article on Business Insider

Creator of a scam PAC that targeted Trump supporters has been charged with defrauding the Paycheck Protection Program

MAGA hats
“Make America Great Again” set of hats await purchase outside the BancorpSouth Arena in Tupelo, Miss., Friday, Nov. 1, 2019, before a Keep America Great Rally.

  • Prosecutors have charged the creator of a pro-Trump scam PAC with wire fraud.
  • Authorities say James Kyle Bell defrauded the Paycheck Protection Program of over $1 million.
  • The websites for Bell’s Keep America Great PAC were seized and taken down by the FBI in 2020.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Federal prosecutors have charged the creator of a political action committee that scammed donors by purporting to be supporting President Donald Trump’s reelection with wire fraud for defrauding the Paycheck Protection Program.

In a charging document filed in the US District Court for the District of Columba and first reported by the Huffington Post, prosecutors say James Kyle Bell, a Nevada man, created the Keep America Great PAC and registered it with the Federal Election Commission to defraud donors by mimicking the Trump campaign, down to using the exact language in Facebook and Google ads and promising non-existent matching funds.

Read more: Washington moves of the week: Hoosiers in DC landed big jobs this week, a sign of the sprawling networks of Mike Pence and Pete Buttigieg

The Daily Beast reported in October 2020 that the FBI had seized and taken down the “keepamericagreatagain.com” website and domain, which authorities say improperly lifted copyrighted material and source code from the Trump campaign itself, including its logo, and another PAC.

The Beast said that even as scam PACs go, Keep America Great was “brazen” in its efforts to swindle people who thought they were giving money to the Trump campaign or a PAC, with even Google and Facebook cracking down on their digital ads. In all, prosecutors found, Keep America Great brought in over $246,000 from donors over the course of 2020.

Prosecutors further say that Bell then applied for business loans through the Paycheck Protection Program on behalf of five separate companies, an effort that involved submitting falsified information and even “fictitious tax forms” to defraud the program.

“For example, Bell claimed that three of the companies each had an annual payroll over $2 million with more than 200 employees, when in fact those companies combined had at most six employees with far less in payroll expenses.

Bell ultimately ended up receiving a total of $1,139,836 in PPP loans for four of his companies, which prosecutors then say he diverted to put towards personal expenses and padding Keep America Great’s coffers, where he “co-mingled the PPP loan proceeds with donations to KAGC,” the charging document said.

On top of Keep America Great, prosecutors say Bell also created a less lucrative pro-Biden scam PAC, the Best Days Lie Ahead Committee, which ended up bringing around $100,000 from online donors.

In addition to the charges, authorities have also ordered Bell to forfeit over $524,000 in funds from his bank accounts and an over $862,000 money judgement.

Read the original article on Business Insider

Former President Trump is urging Republicans to donate directly to him instead of the GOP

trump impeached

Former President Donald Trump is trying to siphon donations away from the Republican National Committee and into his political action committee fund.

Trump, who recently flirted with starting his own political party, dubbed The Patriot Party, sent a letter warning donors to avoid supporting RINOs, or Republicans In Name Only.

“No more money for RINOS. They do nothing but hurt the Republican Party and our great voting base – they will never lead us to Greatness,” his tweet-length statement said. “Send your donation to Save America PAC at DonaldJTrump.com. We will bring it all back stronger than ever before!”

Fine print on the site clarifies that the Save America joint fundraising committee donates 90% of its funds to Save America PAC, with 10% going to MAGA PAC. Neither PAC is directly affiliated with the Republican party.

Trump’s Save America PAC has raised more than $31 million, according to OpenSecrets.com.

Become a founding member
Trump’s PAC website encourages visitors to “become a founding member of the Save America team.”

Trump’s relationship with GOP standard-bearers has been rocky since he left office in January.

In February, he called Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell a “dour, sullen, unsmiling political hack” after McConnell upbraided Trump for stoking the January 6 Capitol insurrection.

Trump told reporters last month that he would support Republican challengers to any GOP members of Congress who voted to impeach him. “Where necessary and appropriate, I will back primary rivals who espouse Making America Great Again and our policy of America First,” he said, according to Bloomberg.

This week he specifically attacked “disloyal” Sen. Lisa Murkowski, threatening to travel to Alaska to campaign against her.

This latest fundraising drive comes on the heels of Trump sending out cease and desist letters to several top Republican campaign committees, warning them against using his image for fundraising without his approval. To appease Trump, the RNC opted to move part of its spring retreat to Mar-a-Lago, Insider’s Grace Panetta reported.

Trump was expected to announce his bid for the 2024 presidential nomination during the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) held in February but demurred. Instead, he once more baselessly claimed he had won the 2020 election, teasing that 2024 might offer him a third election win.

“But who knows,” he said, “I may even decide to beat them for a third time.”

Read the original article on Business Insider

Microsoft will pause political giving through 2022 to lawmakers who voted against certifying the presidential election

Microsoft.
Microsoft also changed the name of its PAC to the Microsoft Corporation Stakeholders Voluntary PAC.

Microsoft will suspend contributions from its PAC through the 2022 election cycle to federal legislators who denied certification of the presidential election, the company said in a blog post Friday.

Following the Jan. 6 insurrection in which supporters of former President Donald Trump stormed the Capitol as Congress was voting to certify the election, the tech giant halted all political contributions, pending review. Now, the company has determined it will only suspend contributions to federal legislators who opposed certifying President Joe Biden’s win, as well as state officials and organizations that supported overturning the vote.

“We believe these steps are appropriate given the importance of these issues for the stability and future of American democracy,” Fred Humphries, vice president of US government affairs, wrote in an email to the company’s PAC community.

Read more: EXCLUSIVE: Microsoft employees slam the company’s PAC over its donations to election objectors, leaked internal discussions show

Microsoft also changed the name of its PAC to the Microsoft Corporation Stakeholders Voluntary PAC in order to indicate stakeholder contributions are voluntary. The company’s PAC came under fire last month by employees who criticized it for donating to Republicans who supported unfounded claims of election fraud. Insider reported that President Brad Smith told employees the PAC allowed the company to gain access to legislators who could advocate for corporate interests. 

As part of its renamed PAC, Microsoft said it would create a new initiative to promote public transparency, campaign finance reform, and voting rights, and would work with other companies in its efforts to “strengthen democracy.” Companies, such as Google, Amazon, Marriott, and many others, similarly decided to halt contributions to Republicans who opposed the 2020 election results, following the deadly Capitol riots

Read the original article on Business Insider