Headline, July 09 2021/ ''' '' CORPORATE AMERICA'S CROSSWORD '' '''



SIX MONTHS AFTER ASSAULT ON CAPITOL - all corporate pledges just fall flat. Businesses resume providing funds to lawmakers who objected to certification of Biden's election victory.

Walmart, Pfizer, Intel, General Electric and AT&T are among companies that announced their pledges on behalf of democracy in the days after Trump supporters stormed the Capitol in a violent bid to disrupt the transfer of power.

PROVIDENCE: As shockwaves spread across the country from Jan 6 insurrection at the US Capitol, corporate America took a stand against the lies that powered the mob, Or so it seemed.

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 the then -president Donald Trump.

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 have resumed funneling cash to political action committees that benefit the election efforts of lawmakers whether they objected to the election certification or not. When it comes to seeking political influence through corporate giving, business as usual is back, if it ever left.

The companies contend that donating directly to a candidate is not the same as giving to a PAC that supports them. Given America's porous campaign finance laws, that's a distinction without a difference to campaign finance experts.

The companies' arguments also glosses over the fact that, in large measure, they did their giving through PACs before their pledge, rather than to individuals, so in many cases nothing changed.

''Pledging not to give to a certain person doesn't mean that much when there so many other ways that corporate money reaches elected officials,'' said Daniel Weiner, a former senior counsel at the Federal Election Commission who now works at the Brennan Centre for Justice at New York's University's law school. '' These pledges are largely symbolic.''

Walmart's moral standard lasted three months. In January, the retail giant said it would suspend all donations to the 147 lawmakers who objected to the election results. But in April, the company gave $30,000 to the National Republican Congressional Committee, the party organization that supports House Republicans in elections.

TWO-THIRDS of those House members voted against certifying Biden's win.

In April, General Electric gave $15, 000 each to the House and Senate GOP election groups.

Likewise, Pfizer pledged to suspend contributions to Republican objectors for six months. But after three months it gave $20,000 to the GOP's Senate group. 

Pfizer spokeswoman Sharon Castillo said the company drew a distinction between giving money to individual lawmakers and to groups created to help those same lawmakers. ''We just don't think it is an accurate connection,'' she said.

Yet she said Pfizer had no commitment from the Senate election committee that the company's donation would not be used to benefit the eight senators who voted against certification.

AT&T also pledged not to give money to lawmakers who objected, but the company sent $5,000 in February to the House Conservative Funds. Company spokeswoman Margaret Boles said AT&T received assurances the money would not flow to lawmakers who objected to election results, though the PAC is led by a lawmaker who did.

Campaign finance experts say there's no way to know whether money given to Republican PACs will end up directly in the campaign accounts of incumbents who objected to the election results.

Moreover, corporate donations to the party committees do not include so-called dark money  contributions given to groups that are not-required to disclose details publicly. Dark money is a favored vehicle for corporate giving.

''It's completely frustrating from an accountability point of view,'' said Ciara Torres-Spelliscy, a Stetson University Law School professor who studies corporate campaign finance.

Pfizer, GE, Walmart and other companies contacted by the AP said their criticism of lawmakers who objected to the election results stands.

For other companies, the pledges may just be a cynical attempt to look good in the eyes of the public. Few of the companies that made pledges tended to give big donations to individual lawmakers anyway, preferring the big party' PACs or dark money groups.

Weiner said that if companies were serious about using their clout to support democracy, they would fund efforts to defeat Republican measures that would make it harder to vote in many states.

The Honor and Serving of the Latest Global Operational Research on Democracy, Finances and Democratic values, continues. The World Students Society thanks authors at AP.

With respectful dedication to the Leaders, the Corporate World, Students, Professors and Teachers of America, and then the world. See Ya all prepare and register for Great Global Elections on The World Students Society : wssciw.blogspot.com and Twitter - !E-WOW! - The Ecosystem 2011 :

Good Night and God Bless

SAM Daily Times - the Voice of the Voiceless


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