Toyota is facing major online blowback after it was revealed it has donated more money to lawmakers who objected to the 2020 presidential election than any other corporation.
After the January 6 insurrection at the Capitol, a number of major corporations announced they would be suspending donations to members of Congress who objected to the certification of the Electoral College votes. With much less fanfare, many of those companies have resumed sending money to lawmakers. According to the group Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW), no company has given more cash to these legislators than Toyota.
CREW broke down the numbers and found nearly three-dozen corporate PACs have donated at least $5,000 to Republicans who objected to certifying the 2020 election…and Toyota is far and away the leader with $55,000 in donations to 37 of the 147 Republicans who objected to certifying Joe Biden’s victory, even after the siege at the Capitol.
Toyota even donated in February, just a month after the Insurrection to Arizona Republican Andy Biggs, a congressman who has been especially vocal in embracing pro-Trump election conspiracy theories, and who helped organize the “Stop the Steal” rally that preceded the siege at the Capitol.
When contacted by Axios to comment on the corporate donations, a spokesperson for the Japanese automaker sent back this reply:
The Toyota rep also added this:
“Based on our thorough review, we decided against giving to some members who, through their statements and actions, undermine the legitimacy of our elections and institutions.”
That comment seems particularly confusing given that they not only have donated to more election objectors than any other company, but they also gave campaign cash to Biggs, who figured prominently in efforts to interfere with the certification of the 2020 presidential election.
Philadelphia Inquirer columnist Will Bunch wondered why Toyota would risk its valuable brand name by refusing to distance itself from such a toxic and divisive issue.
It’s much too early to say what impact, if any, this news could have Toyota’s car sales.
According to CREW’s data, 34 companies in total have kicked in at least $5,000 in contributions to the campaigns and leadership PACs of election objectors so far in 2021. Joining Toyota on the donation list are companies like Koch Industries, AT&T, Cigna and tobacco company Reynolds American.