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The company provided more than $50 million in funding to vote-limit supporters



Washington (Associated Press)-When executives from Coca-Cola and Delta Air Lines speak Last week, the restrictions on Georgia’s new voting law were too strict, which seems to indicate that a new kind of activism is emerging in the American corporate world.

However, if the leaders of America’s most prominent companies refuse to support legislators of restrictive voting measures, they will have to change course suddenly.

According to the latest public citizen report, state lawmakers across the country have been pushing for new voting restrictions and seizing former President Donald Trump’s unfounded claims of election fraud, which has earned more than $50 million in recent years. Of company donations.It is a government regulatory agency based in Washington.

The report found that since 201

5, the telecommunications giant AT&T has contributed the most, donating US$800,000 to authors who proposed restrictions, promoters of such measures, or those who voted for these bills. Other major donors during the same period included Comcast, Philip Morris America, UnitedHealth Group, Wal-Mart, Verizon, General Motors and Pfizer.

This money may not take into account the voting law, but it still helps the Republicans to strengthen control in the state capitol, and many prohibitive measures in the state capitol are moving forward.

Whether the company continues to dedicate to these legislators will test how far risk-averse corporate leaders are willing to go in the process of growing criticism of restrictive measures. These restrictive measures have been accused by voting rights groups as an attack on democracy.

Mike Tangles, one of the authors of the report, said: “On the whole, it is actually American companies that provide funds for these politicians.” “It seems that many people are trying to hide under the rocks and hope this problem will pass.”

The more than 120 companies detailed in this report stated that they will reconsider donations to members of Congress who falsely expressed their opposition as state members. After Trump’s fatal attack on the U.S. Capitol, Joe Bye登 (Joe Biden) winning supporter.

The current tensions are most pronounced in Georgia, where the far-reaching new voting law has caused rigorous scrutiny across the country, sparking criticism from Delta and Coca-Cola.On Friday, Major League Baseball announced that it will no longer host the 2021 All-Star Game In Atlanta.

However, it is not clear whether this radical new gesture will extend to corporate campaign donation practices. Early indicators indicate that there is a risk.

Georgia’s Republican-controlled House of Representatives Although the Republican Senate failed to adopt the bill before the legislative session adjourned, the bill was voted on because of its criticism of the new law, depriving Delta of tax breaks every year, worth tens of millions of dollars.

However, it is certain that, as many federal agencies do, refusing to provide corporate donations to state-level candidates will have a greater impact on the state legislature.

“Donating US$5,000 to the US Senator who raised US$30 million is a drop in the bucket. But in some of these state competitions, a few thousand dollars can buy a lot of advertising time.” Tanglis said. “If U.S. companies are going to say (Trump’s) lies are unacceptable at the federal level, what about at the state level?”

Public citizens analyzed about 245 voting restriction bills proposed before March 1. They collected a list of sponsors and co-sponsors, and also analyzed the phone calls for voting. They then cross-referenced these data with state-level donation records dating back to 2015, including funds from the company’s political action committee and direct donations from the company’s treasury.

Among their findings:

-The company has donated at least $50 million to legislators who support voting restrictions, including $22 million for the 2020 election cycle.

-At least 81 Fortune 100 companies have provided a total of $7.7 million in funding to supporters of these restrictions.

-Almost half of the Fortune 500 companies donated a total of US$12.8 million to supporters of restrictions.

-About three-quarters of companies that changed their donation policy after the U.S. Capitol attack also provided assistance to members of Congress who supported voting restrictions.

-More than 60 companies have provided at least $100,000 to legislators who support restrictions.

-In addition, industry groups and industry associations each provided 36 million U.S. dollars to congressmen, of which 16 million U.S. dollars was provided in the 2020 cycle.

In response, AT&T said that “voting rights are sacred,” but declined to say whether the company would refuse to donate to state members as it did to members of Congress who opposed Biden’s victory.

“We know that election laws are complicated, not our company’s expertise, and not ultimately the responsibility of elected officials. However, as a company, we have a responsibility to participate.” AT&T CEO John Stankey (John Stankey) in Said in a statement.

Verizon CEO Hans Vestberg said in a statement: “We strongly oppose the passage of any legislation or any measures that make it harder.” But he did not promise any concrete actions.

Comcast said in a statement: “Any effort to restrict or hinder any citizen’s enjoyment of this important constitutional right is inconsistent with our values.” The company did not comment on whether it will assess its support for the legislators of these measures. Donation.

Altria Group, the parent company of Philip Morris America, said in a statement that “every qualified voter should be able to exercise his right to vote” and promised to monitor lawmakers “when making future contribution decisions, Consistent with our guiding principles for political donations”.

The other companies listed in the report declined to comment or did not respond to inquiries from the Associated Press.

On Monday, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell urged companies to boycott what he called a “coordinated campaign of rich and rich people to mislead and bully the American people.”

The Republican of Kentucky said in a statement: “Our private sector must stop taking leads from the rioting industrial complex.” “Americans don’t need or want big companies to expand…or through crazy left-wing signals to everyone Respond to the controversy created.”

The pressure in Georgia is particularly high. Republican Governor Brian Kemp recently signed a comprehensive new law prohibiting people from distributing food or water to voters waiting in line and allowing Republican-controlled state election commissions to remove and replace them. County election officials, and many other regulations.

Two of the initiators of this measure are the recipients of the highest company donations detailed in the Citizen Report.

Since 2015, Republican Senator Jeff Mullis has raised more than $869,000 in donations from the company PAC. According to the report, the companies with the most donations from his company are AT&T ($15,900) and UnitedHealth Group ($12,900). Mullis is the chairman of the Georgia State Senate Rules Committee, which plays a key role in determining which bills should be voted on.

Since 2015, Republican Senator Butch Miller (Butch Miller) is another sponsor of the bill. The report said that the companies with the most donations from his company include UnitedHealth Group ($15,700) and AT&T ($13,600). ).

Miller and Mullis did not respond to requests for comment.


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