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Divided We Stand

Divided We Stand
New book about the 2020 election.

Tuesday, February 15, 2022

Companies Support Election Objectors Through Lobbyists

Emily Birnbaum, Megan Wilson, and Hailey Fuchs at Politico:
In the weeks following last year’s riot at the U.S. Capitol, Amazon suspended all campaign donations to the 147 Republicans who objected to certifying the election that day, calling their behavior “unacceptable.”

Six months later, Amazon lobbyists began doling out thousands of dollars in personal donations to those very lawmakers.

Amazon lobbyists were hardly alone in sidestepping company bans on giving to Republicans who voted against certifying President Joe Biden’s victory on Jan. 6. Throughout 2021, in-house government affairs staffers for at least 13 companies gave personal donations to Republicans who objected to the presidential election results, according to a POLITICO review of campaign finance filings from the Federal Election Commission.

That includes lobbyists for Microsoft, Google, Meta, Allstate, Toyota, Nike and Dow Chemical Company. The big tech companies were the largest group, highlighting Silicon Valley’s balancing act as it faces increasing scrutiny from both sides of the aisle.

The under-the-radar donations meant that even as the companies stuck to their Jan. 6 pledges, their lobbyists ingratiated themselves with the GOP lawmakers, some of whom are expected to take leadership roles in the House if Republicans take back control in the midterm elections. POLITICO identified more than $28,000 in donations from lobbyists to lawmakers who voted against certifying the 2020 presidential election.

“It clearly is a workaround,” said Craig Holman, a government ethics expert at progressive consumer rights advocacy group Public Citizen. “If a company is serious about not giving a campaign contribution to insurrectionists, then they can’t allow people who are in senior executive positions who represent the company to make those same contributions. And that would include the CEO as well as the lobbyists of the company.”