The CPA ID companies that funded lawmakers who restricted access to voting
Read the first article in this two-part series: “Georgian Businesses Lead and Behind in Political Expense Disclosure: CPA Index”
By David Pendered
Companies that funded Georgian lawmakers who voted to restrict voting access are coming under increasing scrutiny that goes beyond national headlines on Coca-Cola Co. and Delta Air Lines reversing their positions in the face of public indignation.
Monitoring the issue of voting access is part of the broader focus on corporate political spending and how it matches publicly stated corporate political values ââin environmental, social and governance governance. business.
The Center for Political Accountability published “The Business Enablers: Who Are the Main Funders of Voter Suppression Legislation?” CPA is a not-for-profit entity of the Carol and Lawrence Zicklin Center for Business Ethics Research at The Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania. This report was released in July.
Georgia is one of seven battlefield states that received a quarter of the $ 79 million in corporate donations in 2018 and 2020 to GOP groups that funded lawmakers who “sponsored, advanced, or will vote on the issue. restriction or cancellation of the vote, âaccording to the CPA report. Georgia is joined by Arizona, Florida, Iowa, Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Texas.
This amount is not a large sum in this era of political spending, notes the digest. The money trail it creates is an emerging issue for companies as investors call on them to align political spending with shareholder expectations for ESG stocks. The report finds:
- âThis money trail is important, even if the sum of $ 21.5 million spent is not in itself important. This record confronts companies operating in today’s polarized political environment with questions about financing attacks in state capitals over voting rights.
Coca-Cola and Delta were caught in March in criticism of Georgia-based companies that had not spoken out forcefully against the GOP-led restriction on voting access. Both subsequently condemned the measures in Senate Bill 202, but only after the law was passed and after being criticized for not opposing the proposal. “The New York Times” captured the moment in a March 31 article published under this headline:
- “Delta and Coca-Cola reverse course on Georgia voting law, declaring ‘clear’ opposition
The trail of money from corporations to lawmakers who supported SB 202 is detailed in the flowcharts of the Center for Political Accountability report. The Georgia chapter begins with a report on the seven states where GOP lawmakers received direct contributions or funds from 527 tax-exempt political organizations, sometimes referred to as Political Action Committees or Super PACs.
The trail to Brian Kemp, the 2018 GOP gubernatorial candidate, is shown in one of the tables. Kemp signed SB 202.
Kemp received a total of $ 5.9 million from the Republican Governors Association and the Georgia Republican Party. Both entities were funded by Coca-Cola and Delta.
At RGA, Coca-Cola donated $ 604,664 and Deta donated $ 154,117. To the state’s GOP, Coca-Cola gave $ 45,832.43 and Delta $ 5,000, according to the CPA report.
The contributions went into a national RGA campaign fund of $ 41.3 million. Of that, $ 2.1 million went to the 2018 RGA Georgia PAC, which was awarded to gubernatorial candidate Brian Kemp. In addition, the Georgia Republican Party provided Kemp with $ 3.9 million, according to the APC report.
The CPA report provides a similar money trail for Georgian lawmakers in the 2020 election cycle, split into two categories: lawmakers who introduced legislation to restrict voting rights; and the lawmakers who moved SB 202. The graph follows contributions to the Republican State Leadership Committee, a total of $ 16.7 million.
Of this, the national RSLC provided $ 891,000 to the RSLC Georgia PAC, which provided $ 450,000 to the Georgia House Republican Trust Fund. The remaining money was distributed among the GOP candidates.
The CPA report highlighted Coca-Cola and Delta because each gave $ 100,000 or more to RGA. Other companies named in the report for donating to the state GOP, which funded Kemp, include Southern Co., at $ 217,500, and AFLAC, at $ 31,924.