Speed Reads

Shifting gears

Toyota says it will pause donations to the 147 Republicans who objected to certifying Biden's victory

After the Jan. 6 Capitol insurrection, "dozens of big companies, citing their commitment to democracy, pledged to avoid donating money to the 147 lawmakers who objected to Congress' certification of Joe Biden's victory on the false grounds that voting fraud stole the election from then-President Donald Trump," The Associated Press reports. "It was a striking gesture by some of the most familiar names in business but, as it turns out, it was largely an empty one." 

Six months later, many of those companies — Walmart, General Electric, AT&T, Intel, and Pfizer among them — "have resumed funneling cash to political action committees (PACs) that benefit the election efforts of lawmakers whether they objected to the election certification or not," AP reports

Toyota was not among the companies that pledged to suspend donations to "the Sedition Caucus," as Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) dubbed the 147 GOP objectors. And last month, CREW found that Toyota was the largest donor to this group, giving $56,000 to 38 Republicans who voted against certifying the election results after the Jan. 6 riot. The automaker initially defended the donations, and earlier this week a spokesman told The Washington Post's Dana Milbank that Toyota "supports candidates based on their position on issues that are important to the auto industry and the company." The anti-Trump Lincoln Project released a TV ad early Thursday slamming Toyota for supporting the anti-democrats.

And Toyota shifted gears. "Toyota is committed to supporting and promoting actions that further our democracy," the company said in a statement Thursday. "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."

CREW spokesman Jordan Libowitz thanked Toyota. "It shouldn't take a public pressure campaign to get them to do the right thing, but we're glad it worked," he said.