Toyota says it will stop donating money to lawmakers who contested the results of the 2020 presidential election following recent pushback over its contributions.
A June report from left-leaning watchdog group Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, or CREW, found Toyota contributed more than twice as much to Republican lawmakers who voted against certifying the results than any other corporate PAC in the analysis — prompting some to call for a boycott of the automaker.
Toyota said in a statement Thursday that it is “committed to supporting and promoting actions that further our democracy” and that it understands “the PAC decision to support select members of Congress who contested the results troubled some stakeholders.”
“We are actively listening to our stakeholders and, at this time, we have decided to stop contributing to those members of Congress who contested the certification of certain states in the 2020 election,” Toyota said.
The CREW report found that after the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol, Toyota donated $55,000 to 37 of the 147 Republicans who voted against certifying President Joe Biden’s victory in the Electoral College. The contributions include those made to the campaigns and leadership PACs of the lawmakers.
The next highest amount was from Koch Industries, which contributed $17,500 to seven such lawmakers, CREW says.
Toyota initially defended its contributions amid the calls for a boycott, saying in a statement to Axios that it doesn’t “believe it is appropriate to judge members of Congress solely based on their votes on the electoral certification.” It also said in a statement to The Hill that Toyota “supports candidates based on their position on issues that are important to the auto industry and the company.”
“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,” a Toyota spokesperson previously told Axios.
Following the Jan. 6 attack — during which rioters in support of former President Trump stormed the Capitol, forcing lawmakers to evacuate as they were certifying the election — many corporations pledged to end contributions that would benefit those who objected to the election results when they returned to the building hours after the attack.
But the CREW report found numerous corporations, including some that made such pledges, still contributed either to those members or their leadership PACs, or to the National Republican Senatorial Committee (NRSC) and the National Republican Congressional Committee (NRCC), which CREW says are “the two main Republican party committees supporting these members.”
On Thursday, the Lincoln Project, an anti-Trump PAC founded by former GOP strategists, announced a new strategy to take aim at corporations that make contributions to the campaigns of lawmakers who voted against certification, The Hill reported.
“The Lincoln Project will inform employees, shareholders and customers of these companies’ egregious anti-American behavior,” the organization said, according to The Hill.
The Lincoln Project later tweeted that Toyota “made the right choice today.”
“They put democracy ahead of transactional politics. We hope that the rest of Corporate America will follow their lead,” it tweeted.
Toyota also said Thursday its “bipartisan PAC equally supports Democrats and Republicans running for Congress.”
“In fact, in 2021, the vast majority of the contributions went to Democrats and Republicans who supported the certification of the 2020 election,” it said.