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Companies paid more than M50 million to voter control supporters

WASHINGTON (AP) – Coca-Cola and Delta Airlines executives speak out Last week there was an unwarranted regulation against Georgia’s new voting law, indicating a new process from corporate America.

But if the leaders of the country’s most important institutions are going to reject lawmakers who support banned voting activities, they must abruptly change course.

State legislators across the country have been pushing for new voting restrictions and seizing unsubstantiated allegations of election fraud by former President Donald Trump, reaping more than $ 50 million in corporate donations in recent years. According to the new report of the public citizen, Washington-based government watchdog.

The report finds that the telecom company AT&T has donated more than $ 800,000 since 2015 to the authors of the proposed regulations, advisers to such measures or those who voted in favor of the bills. Other top donors during the same period include Comcast, Philip Morris USA, United Health Group, Walmart, Verizon, General Motors and Pfizer.

Voting laws were not paid for with the law in mind, but nonetheless, a number of banned measures helped to secure Republican control of the now-emerging state House.

Voter rights groups see this as an attack on democracy, testing whether companies continue to pay these lawmakers and whether they are increasingly prepared to forcibly criticize anti-risk corporate leaders for their relentless efforts.

“It really is corporate America, as a whole, that finances these politicians,” said Mike Tonglis, one of the authors of the report. “Many are trying to hide under a rock, hoping this issue will pass.”

The more than 120 companies described in the earlier report have said they will reconsider donations to members of Congress, while state lawmakers have acted with the same lies and opposed Trump certifying President Joe Biden’s victory following the terrorist attack on U.S. Capitol. Supporters.

Tensions are now very clear in Georgia, where the far-flung new voting law is under intense scrutiny, sparking criticism from Delta and Coca-Cola. On Friday, MLP announced that it was no longer hosting the 2021 All-Star Games In Atlanta.

It is not clear, however, whether this aggression will extend to the new pose corporate campaign donation practices. Early indicators show that there is risk.

House controlled by the Republican Party of Georgia Delta was voted on for millions of dollars annually in tax breaks for criticizing the new law, although the move was significant because the GOP Senate failed to take it before the legislative session was adjourned.

What is certain, however, is that withholding corporate donations to state-level candidates, as many companies have done at the federal level, will have a huge impact on state homes.

The $ 5,000 contribution to a U.S. senator raising $ 30 million is a drop in the bucket. But in some of these state races, a few thousand dollars can buy a lot of advertising time, ”said Donglis. “If Corporate America is going to say that (Trump’s) lie is unacceptable at the federal level, what at the state level?”

The public citizen analyzed the 245 anti-voting bills proposed before March 1. They selected a list of sponsors and sponsors, while also analyzing ballot roll calls. They then cite data with pre-2015 statewide donation records, including money from the company’s political action committees, and direct contributions from corporate treasuries.

Among their findings:

– Companies donated at least $ 50 million to lawmakers who supported voting restrictions, including $ 22 million in the 2020 campaign cycle.

– At least 81 Fortune 100 companies have issued a total of 7 7.7 million restrictions to supporters.

– Nearly half of the Fortune 500 companies donated a total of 8 12.8 million to supporters of the restrictions.

– Three-quarters of companies that changed donation policies in the aftermath of the U.S. Capitol attack have also provided for legislators who supported voting rights restrictions.

– More than 60 companies have paid at least 000 100,000 to lawmakers who supported the restrictions.

– Separately, industry groups and trade associations provided an additional $ 36 million to lawmakers, of which $ 16 million was provided during the 2020 cycle.

In response, AT&T claimed that “the right to vote is sacred” but declined to say whether the company would withhold donations to state lawmakers, as it did to members of Congress who opposed Biden’s victory.

“We understand that election laws are complex, not the responsibility of our company’s expertise and ultimately elected officials. But, as an organization, we have a responsibility to get involved,” AT&T CEO John Stanky said in a statement.

Verizon CEO Hans Westberg said in a statement: “We strongly oppose any legislation that would enforce or complicate matters.” But he stopped promising any specific action.

In a statement, Comcast said, “Attempts to restrict or prevent any citizen from accessing this important constitutional right are inconsistent with our values.” The company does not comment on whether it can evaluate the provision to lawmakers who support the measures.

In a statement, Altria, the parent company of Philip Morris USA, promised that “every eligible voter will be able to exercise their right to vote” and that “our political participation must be in line with the guiding principles when making future contributions to the legislature.”

The other companies listed in the report declined to comment or did not respond to inquiries from the Associated Press.

On Monday, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell urged companies to oppose what he called a “powerful and rich campaign to mislead and oppress the American people.”

“Our private sector must stop taking notes from the outrageous-industrial campus,” the Republican Party of Kentucky said in a statement. “Americans do not want or want big business to multiply … or react with frantic left-wing signals to every controversy that is produced.”

Pressure is particularly intense in Georgia, where Republican Gov. Brian Kemp recently signed into law a new law that prohibits the provision of food or water to voters waiting in line and allows the Republican-controlled state election board to remove and replace district election officials, among other rules.

Two of the best corporate contributors described in the Citizens’ Report are supporters of the move.

Since 2015, the Republican state sen. Jeff Mullis has collected more than 69,869,000 donations from corporate PACs. His top corporate donors include AT&T (, 900 15,900) and the United Health Group (, 900 12,900), the report said. Mullis chairs the Georgia Senate Rules Committee, which plays a key role in deciding which bills to vote for.

Another supporter of the bill is Republican State Sen. Butch Miller has received at least 29,729,000 corporate donations since 2015.

Miller and Mullis did not respond to requests for comment.