WASHINGTON– In the days following the Jan. 6, 2021 attack on the United States Capitol, hundreds of businesses announced they would stop political contributions to Republican lawmakers who backed then-President Donald Trump’s bogus charges of election fraud in 2020.
Over a year later, Republicans in the House of Representatives who voted to challenge the election results have collected roughly half the corporate cash they did at this point in the previous election cycle, according to a Reuters examination of campaign finance records.
By contrast, corporate donations to House Republicans who voted to recognize Vice President Joe Biden’s victory against Trump are up around 10%.
The findings suggest that the corporate boycott is not restricted to the dozens of businesses that placed a moratorium on donations following the attack. Hundreds more have also reduced their support, according to the Reuters research.
The move demonstrates the growing divide between business interests and the Republican Party’s extreme wing, which has become more anti-establishment and receptive to limitations on global commerce and technology that would have been unthinkable in earlier years during Trump’s presidency.
“You’ve got members who are becoming increasingly disassociated from commercial corporate interests and more responsive to either a small number of extremely wealthy, deep-pocketed donors or a large number of culture war-activated base voters,” said Jon Lieber, a former staffer for Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell who now works for the Eurasia Group, an analysis firm.
Corporate giving is unlikely to have an effect on Republican hopes in November’s legislative elections. The party is expected to retain control of the House and possibly the Senate, in part due to Biden’s dwindling popularity and the fact that few Republican incumbents face challenging battles.
Studied the 2021 campaign financial filings of 142 House Republicans seeking re-election in November and who served during the previous election cycle. The analysis includes both re-election money and those raised by members’ leadership committees for other political purposes. The analysis concentrated on the House of Representatives, where the majority of Republicans opposed certifying Biden’s victory, compared to only eight in the Senate.
The House Republicans’ fundraising continues to be healthy – approximately $200 million in 2021. Both opponents and supporters of Biden’s victory raised more money than in 2019.
Corporate money – which does not come directly from business coffers but is contributed by employees to corporate-controlled fundraising groups – accounted for almost a tenth of the 2021 total. Their importance in campaign finance has dwindled over the previous decade as online fundraising has made it easier to accept contributions from everyday voters.
In 2021, legislators who opposed Biden’s 2020 victory raised approximately $9 million from business groups, less than half of the almost $19 million raised in 2019. Corporate contributions raised by those who made no objections increased to over $14 million last year, up from roughly $13 million in 2019.
Even before the Jan. 6 incident, many businesses avoided some of the most combative partisans.
Representative Matt Gaetz, who frequently appeared on cable television to laud Trump, raised only around $30,000 in corporate contributions in 2019, out of a total of $1 million.
He received no funding from corporate political action committees (PACs) in 2021 following his vote to contest the election results – but raised almost $4 million overall. His office did not return a message seeking comment.
Others have experienced a greater financial hit.
Representative Mike Kelly, a senior member of the powerful Ways and Means Committee that writes the federal tax code, got over $460,000 in corporate donations in 2019.
However, after filing an unsuccessful lawsuit to overturn Biden’s victory in his home state and voting against certifying the election results on Jan. 6, the Pennsylvania Republican received just over $110,000 in corporate donations last year – around 75% less.
Kelly’s campaign manager, Melanie Brewer, stated that he had no regrets about his decision.
“While financing was a challenge for many Republicans in 2021, it was more crucial that he embodied the district’s values and objectives,” she explained.
Kevin McCarthy and Steve Scalise, the chamber’s top two Republicans, also saw significant drops in corporate donations following their votes against the Jan. 6 results. Neither made a comment in response to a request for comment.
Companies, on the other hand, continue to contribute to Republican election accounts that benefit the entire party, enabling these accounts to keep up with Democratic fundraising.
The National Republican Congressional Committee raised $140 million altogether in 2021, matching the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee’s $146 million hauls. Both organizations raised more money in 2021 than they did in 2019.
Support for Technology and Finance Entities Is Suspended
Corporate support for those who challenged the election has dwindled, but there are significant differences between industries.
Eight of the major corporate donors have ceased all funding to anyone contesting election results ahead of the 2020 election, records indicate.
Google, Microsoft Corp, Lowe’s Firms Inc, Morgan Stanley, Bank of America Corp, Prudential Financial Inc, Citigroup Inc, and General Electric Co are all technology, financial, or consumer products companies.
None responded to a request for comment or declined to do so. In early 2021, the majority of them indicated that they will cease contributions to those contesting the election results.
Contributing to those lawmakers “may significantly incite a number of their major stakeholders – such as employees, suppliers, and customers,” according to Russell Crook, a University of Tennessee expert on corporate political participation.
Certain individuals have proclaimed boycotts only to abandon them.
Walmart Inc., which made no contributions to the objectors in 2021, donated them $10,000 in January, which was shared between McCarthy, Scalise, and two other members of Congress who voted against recognizing the results.
Walmart spokesman Randy Hargrove said the business changed its attitude because it believed it could advocate for its interests more effectively “by interacting with lawmakers on both sides of the aisle.”
By contrast, many defense companies, whose earnings are contingent on congressional spending decisions, have maintained their support for all Republicans, regardless of whether they contested the election results.
Boeing Co and BAE Systems PLC both raised their donations to those who voted to dispute the election.
Boeing and BAE did not reply to requests for comment.
Rock Holdings Inc, the parent company of mortgage lender Rocket Mortgage, increased their contribution to objections to at least $97,000 in 2021. A request for comment from the corporation was not responded to.
Additionally, Boeing, BAE, and Rock upped their donations to people who did not object to the election outcome.
According to a Republican strategist who distributes business donations to lawmakers, some Republican members reacted angrily last year when corporate officials informed them they would not receive their support.
However, those tensions have subsided in recent months as Republicans have grown more confident in their triumph and less interested in starting battles with potential allies, according to the strategist, who spoke on the condition of anonymity.
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