WASHINGTON, DC – As featured in MarketWatch today, Accountable.US released a report spotlighting corporations — including Facebook, Google, and Amazon — that made public statements commemorating Black History Month after contributing at least $459,000 to U.S. senators that blocked two major federal voting rights bills — The Freedom to Vote Act and the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act.
Facebook, Google, Amazon and more marked Black History Month with fanfare — after donating to lawmakers who blocked voting rights bills
By Ciara Linnane
Some major U.S. companies, including Verizon, Facebook owner Meta, Google parent Alphabet and Amazon.com, have publicly highlighted their efforts to commemorate Black History Month. But those same companies have also contributed to lawmakers who blocked two federal elections bills in 2021.
That’s according to Accountable.US, a liberal-leaning advocacy group that released a new analysis of corporate spending this month that found at least $459,000 in donations to U.S. lawmakers who blocked the Freedom to Vote Act and the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act, key pieces of legislation that backers say would help the very communities the companies claim to support.
“Yet again, major corporations are insulting the intelligence of their consumers, shareholders and employees with more empty words of support for Black communities — words that contradict their actions of rewarding the very lawmakers determined to silence voters of color,” said Jeremy Funk, a spokesman for Accountable.US.
Other corporate-accountability groups have noted a similar contradiction from last April, when some 111 companies signed an open statement pledging their support for voting rights in the face of bills in Georgia and other states that would make it harder for Black people to vote.
Yet most of those same companies were silent in January, when President Joe Biden made a last-ditch effort to shore up support for a voting-rights bill in a speech in Atlanta, according to the Popular Information newsletter.
And many had already donated to House Republicans who voted against the first elections bill in March, according to Accountable.US.
“Additionally, the lawmakers those companies gave to have been openly opposing voting rights legislation over the last few years, so their public [stance] on the issue has been crystal clear since before 2021,” said Funk.
Facebook, now renamed Meta, said it was “recognizing Black History as it’s being lived and written today.” The company has in the past called on Congress to restore the Voting Rights Act, yet in 2021, the company also donated at least $27,500 to lawmakers who voted against federal elections legislation, according to Accountable.US. Facebook did not respond to a request for comment.
Amazon started February with a pledge to “amplify Remarkably Black individuals.” Yet the company donated $41,000 to senators who blocked the federal elections legislation. Amazon did not respond to a request for comment.