Corporations gave over USD50M to voting restriction backers

WASHINGTON (AP) — When executives from Coca-Cola and Delta Air Lines spoke out against Georgia’s new voting law as unduly restrictive last week, it seemed to signal a new activism springing from corporate America.

But if leaders of the nation’s most prominent companies are going to reject lawmakers who support restrictive voting measures, they will have to abruptly reverse course.

State legislators across the country who have pushed for new voting restrictions, and also seized on former US president Donald Trump’s baseless claims of election fraud, have reaped more than USD50 million in corporate donations in recent years, according to a new report by Public Citizen, a Washington-based government watchdog group.

Telecom giant AT&T was the most prolific, donating over USD800,000 since 2015 to authors of proposed restrictions, co-sponsors of such measures, or those who voted in favour of the bills, the report found. Other top donors during the same period include Comcast, Philip Morris, United Health, Walmart, Verizon, General Motors and Pfizer.

The money may not have been given with voting laws in mind, but it nonetheless helped cement Republican control in statehouses where many of the prohibitive measures are now moving forward.

An AT&T retail store in Miami. PHOTO: AP