Aug 3, 2021 - Politics & Policy

Donations fizzle to GOP AG group involved in Jan. 6 rally

Protesters clash with police inside the Capitol rotunda on January 6.
Police clash with supporters of US President Donald Trump who breached security and entered the Capitol building in Washington D.C. on January 6. (Getty Images)

Donations to the Republican Attorneys General Association dipped considerably in the months following the Jan. 6 siege on the U.S. Capitol, records show.

Driving the news: Large companies that gave in the past — such as Amazon, Walmart, Visa, Capital One, Johnson & Johnson and CocaCola — didn't donate to RAGA in the first six months of this year. Another prior donor, Facebook, said it paused its political giving program altogether.

  • State attorneys general played an outsized role in advancing conspiracy theories about 2020 voter fraud, and RAGA's nonprofit arm did a robocall urging "patriots" to come to Washington and protest the 2020 election results.

Why it matters: The fallout could handicap Republican efforts this cycle to capture key state-level law enforcement posts.

  • Segments of corporate America have distanced themselves from groups that pushed efforts to overturn the legitimate 2020 election results.
  • RAGA's Rule of Law Defense Fund was listed as an organizer of the "March to Save America" rally on the National Mall on Jan. 6. "We are hoping patriots like you will join us to continue to fight to protect the integrity of our elections," the group said in a robocall promoting the rally.
  • Republican state AGs were also central to court efforts to overturn President Biden's victories in key states. This year, they've pursued legal challenges to key Biden agenda items.
  • In April, RAGA's then-chairman, Georgia Attorney General Chris Carr, resigned from the group, citing deep differences of opinion about Jan. 6 and the robocall.

By the numbers: RAGA raised about $6.7 million in the first half of 2021. That's down from $8.5 million during the same period in 2019 and also less than the group raised in the first half of 2017.

  • More than a third of its fundraising came from a conservative dark money group called the Concord Fund, which chipped in $2.5 million on June 30, according to an IRS filing submitted Monday.
  • Some companies that modified their political donation policies after the Jan. 6 continued contributing, including Pfizer, AT&T and Abbott Laboratories.
  • The U.S. Chamber of Commerce, a major RAGA donor in years past, didn't give during the first half of the year. But Harold Kim, president of the Chamber's Institute for Legal Reform, told Axios it "has a long running and ongoing relationship with RAGA" and "will continue to work with those in the state AG community who support a fair legal environment.”

What they're saying: In a statement posted on its website, RAGA said its fundraising numbers show the organization "is winning support from Americans across the country in record numbers."

  • The group hyped its fundraising in the second quarter of the year, saying the $5.3 million it brought in was "more than its total for any second quarter in the organization’s history."
  • RAGA spokesperson Johnny Koremenos underscored the figure in a statement to Axios. "During the first half of the year RAGA dedicated much of its resources to combatting the far-left progressive policies of Joe Biden, Chuck Schumer, AOC, and Nancy Pelosi," he wrote. "Our donors responded to this aggressive defense and helped us make the Q2 fundraising period the best in RAGA's history."
  • But nearly half that sum came from a single donation on the final day of the second quarter from the Concord Fund. The group, previously known as the Judicial Crisis Network, has provided large cash infusions for RAGA in the past, but not like this. Its contributions comprised 15% of its Q2 2019 haul — and 47% last quarter.
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