Jun 16, 2022 - News

Black voters call out GM, others over political donations

Activists march outside the Renaissance Center
Activists with Defend Black Voters march outside the Renaissance Center Monday, June 13. Photo: Samuel Robinson/Axios

A coalition of justice groups are calling on Michigan's largest companies to stop contributing to Republican lawmakers who are pushing restrictive election policies.

Driving the news: Dozens of activists rallied outside General Motors' headquarters at the Renaissance Center Monday to protest GM, Blue Cross Blue Shield, DTE and Consumers Energy's political contributions to Republican lawmakers.

Why it matters: The Defend Black Voters Coalition says companies that have publicly celebrated Juneteenth and made donations toward racial justice organizations are also contributing to Republicans who support Secure MI Vote, an initiative Black voter groups say decreases voting access.

What they're saying: "We came to the Renaissance Center to force them to see and hear us," Cassy Jones-McBryde, an organizer with the voters coalition tells Axios. "Do they care about Black voters or Black car buyers?"

Context: Political action committees for GM, BCBS and both energy companies support lawmakers in both political parties.

Yes, but: PACs for BSCS of Michigan and DTE have donated more to the caucus committee of Michigan's Senate Republicans than they have for Senate Democrats in the past decade, according to the Michigan Campaign Finance Network.

What they're saying: "These companies and all corporate interests donate heavily to the Republican party and barely to the Democratic Party," Sen. Jeff Irwin, D-Ann Arbor, tells Axios.

  • Irwin's campaign committee has received contributions from the same companies, including $750 from DTE last November, "but compare to my Republican colleagues and you'll find a big difference," he says.
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