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After faking Jan. 6 outrage, big companies still donate to GOP election deniers

Large corporations issued statements condemning the Jan. 6 attack on democracy. Then they kept giving heaps of money to some of the attackers.


Several large corporations that previously condemned the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol, including some who pledged not to fund its sympathizers in Congress, have resumed donating to Republican lawmakers who tried to overturn the 2020 election.  

That’s according to a report from the corporate watchdog Accountable.US, the same group that previously outed corporations for similar hypocrisy on voting rights. The new report, titled “In Bad Company,” includes Boeing, UPS, FedEx, Cigna, Pfizer and Johnson & Johnson among a list of companies that claimed to support democracy in public only to quietly continue funding its biggest opponents.

These unscrupulous companies will bear responsibility for the attacks on democracy that have happened and will follow.

“CEOs were quick to forgive and forget the election objectors’ rhetoric and actions that were a major escalation factor in the lead up to the assault on democracy,” the report says. “The question is, did these companies honestly care about preserving our democracy in the first place?”

The report profiles 20 large corporations and found they “donated over $8.1 million to the 147 members of the Sedition Caucus,” a label given to Republicans who voted against the certification of President Joe Biden's 2020 election win.

Cigna, for example, may have had some people fooled in the wake of the attack. Last year, the insurance giant vowed to stop donating to Republicans who “hindered the transfer of power” on Jan. 6. They went on to donate tens of thousands of dollars to Republican lawmakers who voted to overturn the 2020 election results. 

Photo Illustration: Corporations are handing money to Americans rioting against the government
MSNBC / Getty Images

Duke Energy is another one. After last year’s attack, a spokesperson for the energy giant said the organization was “shocked and dismayed” by the insurrection attempt, and claimed they were “taking this very seriously.” But surprise: The shock and dismay didn’t last long. In 2021, Duke Energy reportedly donated more than $50,000 to Republicans who voted to overturn the 2020 election. 

These donations shouldn’t be interpreted as American industries playing political games as usual. Republicans who objected to certifying the 2020 election did so intent on denying Americans their duly-elected president in favor of a handpicked Republican. Any corporation funneling money to those lawmakers is sponsoring that anti-democratic mission, which hasn’t subsided in the wake of the Jan. 6 attack.

Overt pro-Trump benefactors, like pillow-pusher Mike Lindell and former Overstock CEO Patrick Byrne, have rightly become pariahs for their continued support of the conservative conspiracy theories that spurred last year’s insurrection attempt. 

But all of the company’s listed in the latest Accountable.US report deserve similar scrutiny now. Their donations equal permission for Republicans to continue their efforts, and these unscrupulous companies will bear responsibility for the attacks on democracy that have happened and will follow — regardless of the statements they release. 

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