[Pro Trump now] New York Times...Corporations Donated Millions to Lawmakers Who Voted to Overturn Election Results

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Leroy N. Soetoro

Jan 7, 2022, 7:12:56 PMJan 7

One year after the Capitol riot, many businesses resumed corporate
donations to lawmakers who voted against certifying the 2020 election.

A report released this week by a watchdog group found that corporate money
continued to support most of the 147 lawmakers who voted to overturn the
election results last January.

By Alan Rappeport, Madeleine Ngo and Kate Kelly
Jan. 6, 2022
Updated 3:54 p.m. ET

WASHINGTON — At its annual summit on the state of American business last
January, officials from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce expressed disgust at
the siege of the Capitol that had unfolded days earlier, and declared that
lawmakers who discredited the 2020 election would no longer receive the
organization’s financial backing.

“There are some members who, by their actions, will have forfeited the
support of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. Period. Full stop,” Neil Bradley,
the executive vice president and chief policy officer for the chamber,
said at the time.

Less than two months later, the nation’s biggest lobbying group reversed
course. “We do not believe it is appropriate to judge members of Congress
solely based on their votes on the electoral certification,” Ashlee Rich
Stephenson, the chamber’s senior political strategist, wrote in a memo.

In the year since the riot at the Capitol, many corporate giants and trade
groups have moved from making stern statements about the sanctity of
democracy to reopening the financial spigot for lawmakers who undermined
the election. Millions of dollars in donations continue to flow to what
watchdog groups deride as the “Sedition Caucus,” highlighting how quickly
political realities shift in Washington.

A report published this week by Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in
Washington, a nonprofit watchdog group, showed how corporate money
continued to support most of the 147 lawmakers who voted to overturn the
election results.

In the last year, 717 companies and industry groups gave more than $18
million to 143 of those lawmakers. Businesses that pledged to stop or
pause their donations to those lawmakers have since given nearly $2.4
million directly to their campaigns or leadership political action
committees, according to CREW.

Many of the corporations that have donated are household names, including
Boeing, Pfizer, General Motors, Ford Motor, AT&T and UPS. Trade groups
such as the Chamber of Commerce have also continued to be big donors, with
such associations, or their political actions committees, giving $7.67
million to political groups associated with lawmakers who voted to
overturn the election or to PACs that support them.

Understand the Jan. 6 Investigation
Both the Justice Department and a House select committee are investigating
the events of the Capitol riot. Here's where they stand:
Inside the House Inquiry: From a nondescript office building, the panel
has been quietly ramping up its sprawling and elaborate investigation.
Criminal Referrals, Explained: Can the House inquiry end in criminal
charges? These are some of the issues confronting the committee.
Garland’s Remarks: Facing pressure from Democrats, Attorney General
Merrick Garland vowed that the D.O.J. would pursue its inquiry into the
riot “at any level.”
A Big Question Remains: Will the Justice Department move beyond charging
the rioters themselves?

To be sure, many companies have kept their word and maintained their pause
on donations. Jeffrey Sonnenfeld, a professor of leadership at the Yale
School of Management, said his own research showed that a majority of
corporations that pledged to slow or cease their PAC donations to election
certification objectors had followed through with those promises.

According to the CREW report, more than half of the nearly 250 companies
that said they would evaluate their political giving after the attack have
not made a donation to the lawmakers who tried to stop the certification
of the election. Microsoft has held firm on its pledge to cease donations
to those lawmakers, and Hewlett-Packard decided to shut down its PAC
entirely after Jan. 6.

But many companies have restarted campaign donations, with some saying
they are doing so in the spirit of nonpartisanship.

“Our employee PAC program continues to observe longstanding principles of
nonpartisan political engagement in support of our business interests,”
said Trent Perrotto, a spokesman for the defense contractor Lockheed
Martin, which contributed $145,000 to 72 lawmakers who voted against
certifying the election.

Sharon J. Castillo, a Pfizer spokeswoman, said in a statement that
“following the events of Jan. 6, 2021, the company adhered to its
commitment to pause political giving to the 147 members of Congress who
voted against certifying the election for six months.” She added that
“monitoring elected officials’ conduct and statements is a part of our
governance process, and we will continue to do so as we consider future
Pfizer PAC disbursements.”

CREW noted that some lawmakers who had downplayed the riot or sought to
sow doubts about what happened on Jan. 6 had continued to be magnets for
corporate money. Representative Madison Cawthorn, a North Carolina
Republican who has blamed Democrats for instigating the violence and has
called those taken into custody in connection with the riot “political
hostages,” received $2,000 in donations from the National Association of
Insurance & Financial Advisors and the Farmers’ Rice Cooperative Fund.

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Representative Louie Gohmert, a Texas Republican who has said there is no
evidence that an “armed insurrection” took place, received $1,000 from the
National Association of Insurance & Financial Advisors.

In the immediate aftermath of the riot, associating with lawmakers who
appeared to abet it was viewed by many companies as a political liability.
But in many cases, those concerns did not last.

Charles Spies, a Republican campaign finance lawyer who helped run Mitt
Romney’s presidential super PAC, said that while the initial shock of the
attack made corporate donors risk-averse, their thinking shifted with the
politicization of the Jan. 6 congressional inquiry. Republicans have
sought to downplay the attack and have accused Democrats of using the
investigation to hurt the G.O.P.’s image.

“It’s now a bit more politicized, which makes it harder for companies to
just pick one side,” Mr. Spies said.

As a House committee continues its inquiry into the Jan. 6 riot, many
Republicans have argued that the investigation is politically motivated.

Melissa Miller, a Ford spokeswoman, justified the carmaker’s donations by
explaining that they were not driven by a single issue.

Key Figures in the Jan. 6 Inquiry
Card 1 of 10
The House investigation. A select committee is scrutinizing the causes of
the Jan. 6 riot at the U.S. Capitol, which occurred as Congress met to
formalize Joe Biden’s election victory amid various efforts to overturn
the results. Here are some people being examined by the panel:

Donald Trump. The former president’s movement and communications on Jan. 6
appear to be a focus of the inquiry. But Mr. Trump has attempted to shield
his records, invoking executive privilege. The dispute is making its way
through the courts.

Mark Meadows. Mr. Trump’s chief of staff, who initially provided the panel
with a trove of documents that showed the extent of his role in the
efforts to overturn the election, is now refusing to cooperate. The House
voted to recommend holding Mr. Meadows in criminal contempt of Congress.

Scott Perry and Jim Jordan. The Republican representatives of Pennsylvania
and Ohio are among a group of G.O.P. congressmen who were deeply involved
in efforts to overturn the election. Mr. Perry has refused to meet with
the panel.

Phil Waldron. The retired Army colonel has been under scrutiny since a 38-
page PowerPoint document he circulated on Capitol Hill was turned over to
the panel by Mr. Meadows. The document contained extreme plans to overturn
the election.

Fox News anchors. ??Laura Ingraham, Sean Hannity and Brian Kilmeade texted
Mr. Meadows during the Jan. 6 riot urging him to persuade Mr. Trump to
make an effort to stop it. The texts were part of the material that Mr.
Meadows had turned over to the panel.

Steve Bannon. The former Trump aide has been charged with contempt of
Congress for refusing to comply with a subpoena, claiming protection under
executive privilege even though he was an outside adviser. His trial is
scheduled for next summer.

Michael Flynn. Mr. Trump’s former national security adviser attended an
Oval Office meeting on Dec. 18 in which participants discussed seizing
voting machines and invoking certain national security emergency powers.
Mr. Flynn has filed a lawsuit to block the panel’s subpoenas.

Jeffrey Clark. The little-known official repeatedly pushed his colleagues
at the Justice Department to help Mr. Trump undo his loss. The panel has
recommended that Mr. Clark be held in criminal contempt of Congress for
refusing to cooperate.

John Eastman. The lawyer has been the subject of intense scrutiny since
writing a memo that laid out how Mr. Trump could stay in power. Mr.
Eastman was present at a meeting of Trump allies at the Willard Hotel that
has become a prime focus of the panel.

“Our employee PAC makes bipartisan contributions based on a variety of
considerations important to customers, our team and our company. They span
things like manufacturing, mobility, innovation and trade,” Ms. Miller
said. “We resumed contributions in April after refining our process based
on input from PAC members.”

After the riot, JPMorgan Chase, the country’s largest bank by assets,
vowed not to use funds from its corporate PAC to support lawmakers who had
objected on Jan. 6 to certifying the election results at least until the
end of the current donation cycle. Still, it has given money to groups
that support Republicans for both the Senate and the House, contributions
that are likely to find their way to individual objectors.

“A PAC is an important tool for JPMorgan Chase employees to engage in the
political process in the United States,” the bank’s political action
committee wrote in a note that was distributed to workers in June, when a
temporary ban on all PAC contributions from JPMorgan employees was first

Citigroup, which had also paused its PAC giving in the immediate aftermath
of the riot, reopened the doors to PAC contributions to lawmakers around
the same time, saying it would evaluate candidates to which it donated on
a case-by-case basis rather than committing to any blanket prohibitions.

Crisis communications experts said the resumption of donations was not
surprising, particularly given President Biden’s weak poll numbers and the
prospect that Republicans might retake control of Congress in 2022.

“Companies will need to do business with Republicans, period, so they’ll
give them money,” said Eric Dezenhall, a Washington expert in corporate
damage control. “Heavily regulated companies need to defend themselves
from multiple threats -— hostile legislation, boycotts, shareholder

The donations also reflect the fact that, over time, lawmakers are a more
influential constituency for companies than consumers.

“Consumers have short memories, but lawmakers have long memories,” said
Gene Grabowski, who specializes in crisis communications for the public
relations firm Kglobal. “Doing business with the ‘Sedition Caucus,’ as
distasteful as it might be, is a political reality for many companies.”

Although companies that have continued to halt donations to some
Republicans could be burning bridges with those lawmakers, there is also
an economic logic behind not donating to those who have demonstrated a
willingness to undermine elections.

Bruce F. Freed, the president of the Center for Political Accountability,
argued that firms that resumed the donations were being shortsighted and
suggested that there was a strong business case that the health of
America’s democracy should take precedence over political access.

“Companies need a healthy democracy to compete and grow and thrive,” Mr.
Freed said. “They still look at political spending too narrowly as a
matter of access. They're not looking at what the broader interests and
broader risks are.”

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Thank you for cleaning up the disaster of the 2008-2017 Obama / Biden
fiasco, President Trump.

Under Barack Obama's leadership, the United States of America became the
The World According To Garp. Obama sold out heterosexuals for Hollywood
queer liberal democrat donors.

President Trump boosted the economy, reduced illegal invasions, appointed
dozens of judges and three SCOTUS justices.
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