By Ilana Foggle

After supporters of former President Donald Trump stormed the Capitol on January 6th, many corporate political action committees (PACs) vowed to cease donations to any member of Congress who supported efforts to halt the 2020 election certification process.

Well, nearly eight months since the insurrection on our People’s House, many PACs have gone back on their word  and business is back to usual in Washington with corporate lobbyists bankrolling anti-democracy legislators. 

Transparency watchdog, Accountable.us, published a new report finding that PACs for trade groups and corporations have already doled out nearly $3.8 million to the 147 House members who voted against election certification. 

The report specifically calls out 67 legislators who voted against the following actions: 1) certifying the 2020 election results, 2) establishing a bipartisan select committee to investigate the events on January 6th, and 3) passing the For the People Act — a voting rights bill that will expand voting access and reform campaign finance laws. These legislators, coined by many as the “Sedition Caucus,” received $501,000 from PACs for the 16 biggest Fortune 100 companies within the first six months of 2021.

Though some PACs stuck to their word and continue to withhold any support for members of the Sedition Caucus, the overwhelming majority have, unsurprisingly, broken their promises. In fact, the most evident offenders are PACs representing defense contractors, who rely heavily on government contracts. Lockheed Martin, Boeing, Northrop Grumman, and Raytheon all publicly paused their donations after the insurrection, but have quietly resumed those donations in recent months. Together, they have given a whopping $192,000 since January 6th to the 67 most anti-democracy members of Congress.

Are we shocked? No. Not one bit.

The very fabric of our political system today not only condones but also thrives off the legal bribery that keeps the wheels turning in Washington. After January 6th, corporate PACs tried to save face with empty platitudes and a facade of pro-democracy values. Yet eight months later, it is clear that their promises were nothing more than an illusion to trick the public. We are back to the status quo with no repercussions for the Sedition Caucus — or the PACs that line their pockets.

Perhaps, these PACs thought the public would have forgotten their pledge to cease all relationships with anti-democratic legislators.

Well, we have not forgotten. And we have the receipts.

Accountable.us just released a new search tool using findings from the Federal Election Commission that tracks donations from Fortune 500 companies and trade associations to the 147 House members and eight Senators who voted against the certification of the 2020 presidential election. Now, this tool does not solve the problem of legalized bribery in politics, but it sure does help the public hold these companies liable.

At RepresentUs, we call out corruption when we see it. And there is nothing more corrupt than money having more power over our laws than the will of the American people. As these corporate PACs bankroll members of congress, their deeds are returned in the form of tax cuts, defense contracts, and policy benefits, perpetuating economic inequality and a corrupt political system where the billionaires and special interests have more power than the rest of us. It’s time we hold these PACs, lobbyists, and anti-democratic legislators accountable.

Let’s take action. 

There’s a bill in the Senate right now that would strengthen lobbying rules, increase transparency, make Election Day a holiday, and end partisan gerrymandering. Congress has just weeks left to pass it, so the time to act is now.

Add your name to send an immediate message to your Senator urging them to pass the For the People Act.