Toyota announced Thursday that its political action committee would no longer make donations to Republican members of Congress who objected to certifying the presidential election results in January, after uproar over news that the automaker’s corporate PAC had supported those lawmakers at a higher level than other PACs.
“Toyota is committed to supporting and promoting actions that further our democracy,” the company said in a statement Thursday. “We understand that the PAC decision to support select Members of Congress who contested the results troubled some stakeholders. We are actively listening to our stakeholders and, at this time, we have decided to stop contributing to those Members of Congress who contested the certification of certain states in the 2020 election.”
The Capitol riot on January 6 prompted large number of corporations to vow to stop contributing to the 147 members of Congress who had objected to certifying Biden’s win. Last month, however, the watchdog group Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) compiled data that showed that, despite some of those promises, many corporations were still making donations to those lawmakers.
Toyota, which had not made an initial promise to cease such contributions in January, was atop the list, having donated $56,000 to 38 members of Congress who voted against certifying Biden’s win. Other entities called out in CREW’s report included Boeing, Koch Industries, Walmart, PNC Bank, Cigna, iHeartMedia, and Anheuser-Busch.
“By continuing to fund members of Congress who would undermine American democracy, these corporations and industry groups are sacrificing democratic government for access and influence,” CREW said in a statement then. Despite a backlash, Toyota initially defended its political contributions, telling The Washington Post’s Dana Milbank earlier this week that the company “supports candidates based on their position on issues that are important to the auto industry and the company.”
In its about-face, the company said it “has long-standing relationships with Members of Congress across the political spectrum, especially those representing our U.S. operations.” The statement also noted that the “vast majority” of its corporate PAC’s contributions in 2021 went to Democrats and Republicans who had voted to certify Biden’s win. In a statement, CREW spokesman Jordan Libowitz said the group was thankful for Toyota’s decision. “It shouldn’t take a public pressure campaign to get them to do the right thing, but we’re glad it worked,” he said.
Earlier Thursday, the Lincoln Project, a PAC started by anti-Trump Republicans, targeted Toyota in a new ad over its continued support of members of Congress who voted to overturn the election results. The anti-Trump group vowed that it would be the first in a series of ads targeting companies “who have broken their pledges to withhold campaign funds to Members of Congress who enabled, empowered, and emboldened former president Trump and the insurrectionists.”
ARTICLE: PATEL CHAITANYA
MANAGING EDITOR: CARSON CHOATE
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