'Corporate America' is now funding the election deniers it once condemned: report

'Corporate America' is now funding the election deniers it once condemned: report
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Friday, January 6, 2023 marks the second anniversary of what historian Michael Beschloss has described as one of the darkest days in United States history: the January 6, 2021 insurrection. That day, a violent mob of MAGA Republicans and Donald Trump supporters attacked the U.S. Capitol Building in the hope of preventing the certification of now-President Joe Biden’s Electoral College victory.

As violent as that attack was, Beschloss has emphasized that it could have been much worse and escalated into “assassinations and/or hostage-taking” if the insurrectionists had been able to get to either members of Congress or then-Vice President Mike Pence. Some of the insurrectionists were calling for Pence’s murder that day, chanting, “Hang Mike Pence, hang Mike Pence.” And a hangman’s gallows was set up outside the Capitol.

Two years ago, Corporate America was quick to condemn the Capitol insurrection. But in an in-depth report published by Mother Jones on January 5, journalist Tim Murphy laments that some companies have since made campaign contributions to “Stop the Steal” Republicans who tried to overturn the 2020 presidential election results.

READ MORE:Law professor’s Jan. 6 takeaway: the 'threat of political violence' is 'far from over'

“Two years after President Donald Trump incited a mob to storm the U.S. Capitol and halt the certification of the Electoral College results, the January 6 insurrection is still a live wire in American politics,” Murphy explains. “Oath Keepers founder Stewart Rhodes was convicted of seditious conspiracy last month for his role in the riot. Advocates of Trump’s election lies received such an intense electoral rebuke in the midterm election that Democrats actually expanded their majority in the Senate…. But many of America’s largest companies have long since moved on.”

Murphy adds, “In the first national election since a sitting president tried to overturn the popular will, some of the country’s biggest brands showered election deniers with millions of dollars in donations via their political action committees.”

The Mother Jones reporter goes on to cite specific examples of companies that condemned “Stop the Steal” Republicans and election denialists two years ago but have since given them donations.

“In the days after the insurrection,” Murphy recalls, “dozens of companies told Popular Information and other outlets that they were pausing or reconsidering their political donations. Hallmark, which had donated to Sen. Josh Hawley (R-Mo.) in the past, singled him out by name in its statement condemning the attack. Big-pocketed corporations such as Pfizer, Eli Lilly, Comcast, PricewaterhouseCoopers and AT&T promised to suspend all contributions to members of Congress who voted against certifying the results either temporarily or for the entire 2022 cycle.”

READ MORE: January 6th 'fake elector scheme' offers a clear 'path to prosecuting Trump': attorney

Murphy continues, “But not only did each of those six companies eventually turn the spigot back on, they all ended up writing checks to help reelect Rep. Mike Kelly (R-Pa.) — a leading opponent of certification whose own chief of staff attempted to distribute a fake slate of electors on the day of the insurrection, according to the January 6 Committee. Kelly, a member of the powerful House Ways and Means Committee from a heavily Republican district, was a major recipient of corporate cash. Other contributors included PACs belonging to Intel and Verizon, both of which had told Popular Information they were suspending donations to the election-rejecters; Aflac, which had said it would be pausing all its political donations for an unspecified amount of time; Johnson & Johnson; FedEx; and the spirits-producing Sazerac Company.”

The Mother Jones reporter points out that during the “2022 cycle,” Anheuser-Busch “gave $139,500 to election-denying members of Congress” in addition to giving a “maximum contribution” to the National Republican Congressional Committee (NRCC).

“Among the dozens of recipients: Rep. Billy Long (R-Mo.), who tweeted that the election was ‘RIGGED’ for Biden in the run-up to January 6 and afterwards shared misinformation alleging that ‘Antifa thugs’ were responsible for the riot,” Murphy reports. “Airlines were major supporters of Stop the Steal candidates. Delta Airlines gave $225,000 to election-denying members of Congress, according to ProPublica‘s searchable database. Southwest Airlines’ ‘Freedom Fund’ gave $39,500 to election-rejecting candidates, including Rep. Pete Sessions (R-Texas), who tweeted on January 3, 2021 that he’d just met ‘with folks from Stop the Steal’ at our nation’s Capitol’ and ‘encouraged them to keep fighting.’”

Murphy adds, “American Airlines, which told Popular Information that it was pausing all political contributions for three months, eventually funneled $165,000 to dozens of Republicans who voted not to certify the election results, including Rep. Scott Perry (R-Pa.), who asked Trump for a pardon after helping to organize congressional opposition to certification.”

READ MORE: Highlights from the latest batch of January 6th Select Committee transcripts

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