Jun 27, 2021 - Economy

Toyota leads companies in election-objector donations

Data: Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington; Chart: Michelle McGhee/Axios

Nearly three-dozen corporate PACs have donated at least $5,000 to Republicans who objected to certifying the 2020 election, yet Toyota leads by a substantial margin.

Why it matters: Following Jan. 6, huge segments of corporate America rethought their political-giving programs. The new numbers suggest some large companies have decided to maintain support — even for members of Congress deeply enmeshed in the pro-Trump conspiracy theories that fueled the Capitol attack.

  • Some prominent GOP objectors also have found they can replace any lost corporate support with small-dollar, grassroots donations driven by their reputations as pro-Trump hardliners.

By the numbers: Data compiled by the left-leaning watchdog group Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington show Toyota gave $55,000 to 37 GOP objectors this year.

  • That equates to a quarter of the bloc that voted to nullify President Biden's win after the Capitol siege.
  • Toyota gave more than twice as much — and to nearly five times as many members of Congress — as the No. 2 company on the list, Cubic Corp., a San Diego-based defense contractor.
  • The Japanese automaker's donations this year included a February contribution to Rep. Andy Biggs, an Arizona Republican who has been one of Congress' most vocal election conspiracy theorists. According to an organizer of the "Stop the Steal" rally prior to the Capitol attack, Biggs also helped put on that event, a charge Biggs has denied.

What they're saying: "We do not believe it is appropriate to judge members of Congress solely based on their votes on the electoral certification," a Toyota spokesperson said in a statement emailed to Axios.

  • "Based on our thorough review, we decided against giving to some members who, through their statements and actions, undermine the legitimacy of our elections and institutions.”
  • The spokesperson did not respond to a follow-up about the specific threshold for statements that cross that line.

The big picture: According to CREW data shared with Axios, 34 companies have donated at least $5,000 to the campaigns and leadership PACs of one or more election objectors this year.

  • Other notable names on the list include Koch Industries, telecom giant AT&T, health insurer Cigna and tobacco company Reynolds American.

Editor's note: This story has been updated to note that Biggs has denied organizing the "Stop the Steal" rally on Jan. 6.

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