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Watchdog: Corporations, trade groups gave $170M to Republicans who objected to election results

Watchdog: Corporations, trade groups gave $170M to Republicans who objected to election results
© Greg Nash

Corporations and industry trade associations have contributed $170 million collectively to the campaigns of the 147 GOP lawmakers who voted to challenge the 2020 election results, according to a new report from progressive watchdog group Public Citizen.

Nineteen political action committees (PACs) of corporations and trade groups have given at least $1 million total to the Republicans in recent years, and 46 PACs have supported at least half of them. 

Public Citizens released its analysis, “Bankrolling the Disenfranchisers” on Wednesday. It called out the National Association of Realtors (NAR), American Bankers Association (ABA), National Automobile Dealers Association (NADA), National Beer Wholesalers Association (NBWA) and AT&T as the five largest contributors to the 147.

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The NAR, which is the largest PAC operated on behalf of a trade association, told The Hill it is pausing its federal political disbursements and that it will monitor events in Washington in the days and weeks ahead.

The ABA in a statement said it’s meeting with its stakeholders in the coming weeks to review its political activities from the 2020 cycle before making decisions about future plans. Similarly, the NADA said its PAC donates to hundreds of members each cycle and it is assessing its political contributions going forward.

The NBWA said it's evaluating its contribution strategy, and A&T’s PAC board has suspended contributions to members who voted against certifying the election results.

A growing list of companies, including some trade groups, are cutting off donations to politicians who opposed the Electoral College results, targeting the nearly 150 Republican members who voted against affirming President-elect Joe BidenJoe BidenDobbs: Republicans lost in 2020 because they 'forgot who was the true leader' Should deficits matter any more? Biden's Cabinet gradually confirmed by Senate MORE’s victory.

Republican lawmakers last Wednesday specifically attempted to challenge the results of Arizona and Pennsylvania, two swing states Biden won, during and after the deadly attack on the Capitol by a pro-Trump mob. 

Public Citizen called on all corporations and trade groups to close their political spending operations and permanently end their PACs. 

“A temporary suspension of contributions is not enough,” said Mike Tanglis, a Public Citizen research director and co-author of the analysis. “These corporations cannot simply wait for the dust to settle and then resume business as usual. Our democracy may not survive the next insurrection.”

—Updated at 4:07 p.m.