Following last year’s deadly riot at the Capitol, hundreds of corporations publicly stated they would be suspending financial donations to the Republican lawmakers who voted to overturn the 2020 presidential election—a group of eight senators and 139 House members who’ve been pejoratively dubbed “the Sedition Caucus.” One year later, the majority of those companies appear to have violated their pledge in some way, according to journalists and watchdogs tracking their political contributions.
The newsletter Popular Information has been keeping what it calls the January 6 Corporate Accountability Index since last August, which it updates based on new corporate FEC filings. Of the companies that explicitly vowed to quit donating to those 147 election-objectors, reevaluate their PAC’s donation criteria, or simply pause donations in the wake of January 6, Popular Information has found that 53% broke their promises.
The Index splits these companies into eight categories, on a spectrum from those that did as they’d pledged, to those that seemingly didn’t even try at the other, and several “it’s complicated” groups in between.
- Vowed to stop donating to members of Congress who objected to the 2020 election results, and kept that promise: 37 companies, among them Airbnb, Amazon, Kraft Heinz, Lyft, Mastercard, Microsoft, Nike, Sony, Walgreens, Walt Disney, and Zillow.
- Vowed to suspend all PAC donations, and kept that promise: 43 companies, including 3M, Alaska Air, Bank of America, Blackrock, BP, Capital One, Citigroup, Coca-Cola, Expedia, Facebook, Goldman Sachs, Hilton, McDonald’s, Nationwide, Safeway, Sprint, and Target.
- Broke their pledge to stop donating to objectors in Congress: Four companies.
- Broke the spirit of their pledge to stop donating to objectors by funding the congressional committees to which those members belong: 16 companies.
- Vowed to suspend all PAC donations, then donated directly to objectors: 52 companies.
- Vowed to suspend all PAC donations, then funded objectors’ congressional committees: 10 companies.
- Vowed to reevaluate donation criteria, but gave to objectors anyway: 17 companies.
- Vowed to reevaluate donation criteria, then funded objectors’ congressional committees: Four companies.
- You can check out the full list here.
The inflow of cash hasn’t exactly been small, either. A separate tally by the watchdog group Accountable.US shows that these companies and many of the trade groups to which they belong have donated more than $8 million to Congress’s 147 objectors since January 6. In a statement, Accountable.US’s president Kyle Herrig said: “Major corporations were quick to condemn the insurrection and tout their support for democracy—and almost as quickly, many ditched those purported values by cutting big checks to the very politicians that helped instigate the failed coup.”
However, overall the dollar figure of PAC donations to Republican objectors did fall in 2021—by almost two-thirds, Popular Information says. Another new survey of about 200 PACs, published in December by the Public Affairs Council, found that 47% had, in fact, reevaluated the criteria they were using for candidate contributions, and that this “led to changes in criteria.”