WASHINGTON — Corporations have given more than $50 million in recent years to state lawmakers who have seized on Donald Trump’s lies about a stolen 2020 election to push for new restrictions on the right to vote.
That's according to a new report by the government watchdog nonprofit Public Citizen.
The connection between corporations and lawmakers passing elections-related measures gained interest last week. Following the passage of Georgia's new elections bill, several companies, including Delta Airlines and Coca-Cola, which are both based in Atlanta, came out against the measures.
The MLB decided to move the All-Star Game from Atlanta to another city, as a way of showing the league's concerns about the Georgia measure.
Delta Airlines said in a memo to staff it is “evident that the bill includes provisions that will make it harder for many underrepresented voters, particularly Black voters, to exercise their constitutional right to elect their representatives. That is wrong."
In response directly to Delta’s statement, Georgia Governor Brian Kemp said the airline’s comments “ignores the content of the new law, and unfortunately continues to spread the same false attacks being repeated by partisan activists," according to NBC News.
However, Georgia is not alone in passing new legislation that some believe restricts voting rights. Texas is among states considering measures.
Telecom-giant AT&T was the most prolific giver, donating over $800,000 since 2015 to authors of proposed restrictions, cosponsors of such measures, or those who voted in favor of the bills.
Other top givers during the same period include Comcast, Philip Morris USA, UnitedHealth Group, Walmart, Verizon, General Motors and Pfizer.
The money may not have been given with voting laws in mind, but it nonetheless helped cement Republican control in statehouses where many of the prohibitive measures are now moving forward.
Whether companies continue to give to these lawmakers will test how far risk-averse corporate leaders are willing to go in their increasingly forceful criticism of the restrictive efforts, which voting rights groups have excoriated as an attack on democracy.
More than 120 companies detailed in the report previously said they would rethink their donations to members of Congress who, acting on the same falsehoods as the state lawmakers, objected to the certification of President Joe Biden’s win following the deadly attack on the U.S. Capitol by Trump supporters.