Boeing Restarts Donations to Members of the So-Called ‘Sedition Caucus’
Roger Sollenberger / The Daily Beast
(June 15, 2021) — After briefly swearing off political donations in the wake of the Capitol riot, Boeing is now throwing cash at officials who fought to overturn the results of the 2020 election.
In a recent filing with the Federal Election Commission, the defense contractor’s political action committee reported major contributions to three Republican members of Congress who voted to challenge the results of the Electoral College: Rep. Steve Scalise; Rep. Vicky Hartzler; and Rep. Jack Bergman.
The report, Boeing’s first to show political contributions after the assault on the Capitol, also disclosed a $25,000 gift to the Republican Attorneys General Association, whose fundraising arm helped promote the Jan. 6 rally to “stop the steal.” Boeing contributed less than half that amount to the organization’s Democratic counterpart.
Boeing gave Scalise and Hartzler each a $5,000 donation, the maximum limit for an election. Bergman, a Michigan conservative who in December pushed erroneous claims of election fraud in his home state, got half that amount. (Boeing has previously donated to all three.)
Boeing also gave money to Democratic officials like Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, as well as to Republicans who voted to certify the election results. The aerospace and defense giant also gave the maximum $105,000 to both parties’ House and Senate campaign committees.
The three other representatives, however, have continued to challenge the factual election narrative after the insurrection. Scalise promoted the Big Lie in the media a month after Biden’s inauguration. In May, two weeks after his Boeing contribution rolled in, the House minority whip pushed his GOP colleagues to oppose the creation of a bipartisan Jan. 6 commission. Bergman and Hartzler also voted against the commission, and received their checks five days later.
Scalise—who survived a gunshot wound during a June 2017 attack on a group of Republican House members—was also among the first names attached to an amicus brief filed last December in support of a doomed attempt to persuade the Supreme Court to toss the election results. Bergman and Hartzler also put their names on the brief, as did two other Republicans who got max donations from Boeing last month—Rep. Ann Wagner of Missouri and House minority leader Kevin McCarthy.
That lawsuit was authored by Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton, a RAGA member and former chair. Seventeen Republican state attorneys general joined the quixotic effort, which the high court shot down in a pithy unsigned ruling three days after it was filed. Last week, the State Bar of Texas reportedlylaunched an investigation into Paxton, citing his efforts to overturn the election, and the Supreme Court filing specifically.
The aerospace and defense giant paused political
contributions after January 6. But only for a little bit.
RAGA had thrown its weight behind similar court challenges almost immediately after the election. Its fundraising affiliate, the Rule of Law Defense Fund, helped organize Jan. 6 protests in DC and blasted out robocalls encouraging Republicans to join what became an insurrection against Congress. RAGA’s involvement in those events has led to the resignation of at least three officials, including its director at the time. The group’s new chair, former finance director Alabama Attorney General Steve Marshall, said he would order an internal investigation, but the probe’s status is unclear.
Boeing did not respond to The Daily Beast’s request for comment.
In response to public outrage following the insurrection, hundreds of corporations declared they would halt or curtail political giving. Most, but not all, followed through on those pledges, which ranged from total bipartisan abstention to suspensions targeting the so-called “sedition caucus” of members who challenged the Electoral College outcome.
Boeing joined the ranks on Jan. 13, when it announced its PAC would pause all political donations indefinitely. “Boeing strongly condemns the violence, lawlessness and destruction that took place in the US Capitol on January 6, 2021. Given the current environment, we are not making political contributions at this time,” the company said in a statement.
Boeing was the 77th largest political donor in 2020, having given roughly $7.6 million between its PAC and individual employees, according to data compiled by Open Secrets. Its top recipient was the Senate Majority Fund, a super PAC connected to Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, who decried the events of Jan. 6 and voted to confirm Biden’s victory. Neither McConnell nor the super PAC has received money from Boeing this year.
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Boeing Reasons Insurrection Is Good for Business
Robert Weissman / Public Citizen
(June 16, 2021) — After murderous adherents of Donald Trump stormed the US Capitol on January 6 with the express intention of overturning the 2020 election, many corporations announced changes to their political spending.
Some companies pledged to stop — though perhaps only temporarily — contributing to Republican elected officials who perpetuated the Big Lie that Trump won the election and who supported efforts to keep Trump in power.
- Other companies pledged to stop — again, perhaps only temporarily — contributing to all candidates, regardless of party.
- Not at all surprisingly, Corporate America is quietly resuming its interference in our democracy as January 6 recedes from recent memory.
- This week, we learned that Boeing is again contributing to several Republican members of Congress who voted to overturn the 2020 election.
- By the way, Boeing doesn’t just make airplanes. It is, some are surprised to learn, the second largest military contractor in the world.
In a statement once their renewed spending was uncovered, Boeing said this:
“We will continue to carefully evaluate our giving to ensure we support candidates who support our business and policy priorities as well as the interests of our customers, diverse workforce, and the communities where we live and work.”
Did you catch that?
Boeing is admitting that whether politicians are trying to undermine our democracy is irrelevant to the company’s political spending. All that matters is whether those politicians can help Boeing make more money.
Good grief. Some things are more important than your profits. One of those things is our democracy. It is shameful, selfish, and short-sighted to put your greed before the very survival of our democracy. Boeing should discontinue its political spending altogether. At the very least, you should be able to muster the courage and morality to never give another dollar to any candidate or elected official who perpetuated the Big Lie that Donald Trump won the 2020 election, who encouraged the January 6 insurrection, who voted to overturn the election, or who is actively undermining our democracy through legislation that makes it harder for Americans to vote.
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Robert Weissman is the President of Public Citizen
P.S. For half a century, Public Citizen has been advancing policies that put the needs of everyday Americans before the greed of billionaires and Big Business. That legacy of progress and that ongoing work could not matter more right now, as our nation transitions to a Joe Biden presidency that will be as progressive as we — you and Public Citizen, together — make it. We’re also busy undoing all the damage Trump did.
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