Washington D.C. – Without supporting evidence, pharma giant Eli Lilly suggests that the Members of Congress who voted against certifying the 2020 election, even after the deadly coup attempt at the U.S. Capitol on January 6th, 2021, effectively learned their lesson after the company temporarily paused political donations to these lawmakers. In response to a letter to Eli Lilly’s CEO from government watchdog Accountable.US, a government affairs director for LillyPAC & Employee Grassroots replied in a recent email: “[W]e believe that our actions to pause our political contributions [to Republicans in Congress that voted against certifying the 2020 election] were heard—and had an impact.”
Today, Accountable.US released its letter in response to Eli Lilly stressing that it is clear from the words and actions of the election objectors since the insurrection that Eli Lilly’s ‘actions’ had no discernable “impact” at all. The letter notes that campaign finance records show Eli Lilly, its affiliated trade groups, and its executives contributed $82,000 in 2021 to members of what has been dubbed the ‘Sedition Caucus’. Nearly all these donations came after a pivotal vote in the U.S. House on June 30th, 2021 to establish the Select Committee to Investigate the January 6th Attack on the United States Capitol—and every one of these lawmakers, including Leader McCarthy, either voted against establishing it or didn’t bother to vote at all.
Corporations like Eli Lilly that touted their commitment to democracy in the insurrection’s aftermath have since shown they were never serious—otherwise they wouldn’t have reopened the checkbook for politicians that tried to finish what the Capitol rioters started."
Kyle Herrig, Accountable.US President
Given that this committee is the primary vehicle in Congress for getting to the bottom of what happened that day, it is a mystery how that vote demonstrated, in Eli Lilly’s view, a “respect for our democratic process and institutions,” as the company claimed to value after the insurrection.
“Corporations like Eli Lilly that touted their commitment to democracy in the insurrection’s aftermath have since shown they were never serious—otherwise they wouldn’t have reopened the checkbook for politicians that tried to finish what the Capitol rioters started,” said Accountable.US president Kyle Herrig. “Even after the violent coup attempt, 147 Republicans in Congress kept dangerously fanning the flames of the Big Lie by voting to cancel the will of the American people. Adding insult to injury, many of the election objectors tried to shut down a Congressional investigation into the insurrection before it even began. No corporation can seriously claim these lawmakers ‘learned their lesson’ or ever stopped sowing division and distrust in our democracy. Companies that couldn’t even go a year without compromising their own stated values on democracy obviously value something much more—having political influence over lawmakers no matter what dangerous and undemocratic views they hold.”
Last month, Accountable.US released an updated analysis finding Fortune 500 companies and corporate trade associations including Eli Lilly donated over $800,000 in December 2021 alone to the 147 members of Congress that voted against certifying the 2020 election, just days before the first anniversary of the deadly Capitol coup attempt. These donations rounded out the biggest quarter since the insurrection and brought the 2021 total to over $9 million.
CEOs were quick to forgive and forget the election objectors’ rhetoric and actions that were a major escalation factor in the lead up to the assault on democracy. The question is, did these companies honestly care about preserving our democracy in the first place?
Key Findings from ‘In Bad Company’:
- Cash Flow: The 30 companies and trade groups profiled in the report contributed over $3.3 million to the Sedition Caucus since the January 6th insurrection.
- What Pause?: After the insurrection, major corporate donations subsided for a single quarter but reached nearly $3 million in Q2 and Q3 respectively; given October’s total, Q4 is on pace to be the largest quarter of the year.
- Corporate Complicity: At least 85 percent of the corporations that we profiled—17 of the 20—are major contributors to the Sedition Caucus and either pledged to or publicly considered pausing or reviewing their political spending after the January 6 insurrection.
- Purported Values: At least 60 percent of the trade groups that we profiled —6 of the 10—have stated values on furthering diversity initiatives despite their political donations to the Sedition Caucus.
- Enemies Foreign but not Domestic: 100 percent of the defense contractors profiled—6 of the 6—claim to help protect the nation and people around the world, despite that they are major contributors to the members of Congress who voted to object to the 2020 electoral college vote, which helped incite the attack on the Capitol.
- Ties to Trump: At least 53 percent of the companies and trade associations profiled—16 of the 30—have connections to the conservative establishment or former President Trump.