Washington D.C. – Online retail giant Amazon has reopened the checkbook for members of Congress who voted against certifying the 2020 presidential election in the immediate aftermath of the insurrection at the U.S. Capitol. Amazon had formally paused political donations to these lawmakers for what they called “unacceptable” behavior, but the company is now shrugging off its PAC’s decision to give $17,500 to nine election objectors last month — telling Popular Information: “It was not intended to be permanent. It’s been more than 21 months since that suspension.”
Accountable.US, the nonpartisan watchdog group behind the ‘American Democracy Scorecard’ that recently gave Amazon a failing grade on democracy issues, challenged the company to explain to their customers, shareholders and employees how they concluded these lawmakers who have been dubbed the ‘Sedition Caucus’ have effectively learned their lesson.
It’s obvious Amazon was never serious when they trumpeted their commitment to democracy after the insurrection -- otherwise they wouldn’t have quietly reopened the money spigot last month to the election objectors in Congress who tried to finish what the Capitol rioters started,. Donation caps are for the cycle, so it makes no difference whether a company contributed to election deniers in January 2021 or September 2022 – the result is the same tacit endorsement of those who reject the democratic ideals shared by most Americans. It sends a clear message that politicians who devalue democracy need only wait out phony condemnations of their behavior from corporate donors, which only threatens our fragile democracy more.
Despite polls showing Americans remain gravely concerned about continued threats to our democracy, Amazon has somehow concluded it’s good for business to reward lawmakers determined to undermine it. While Amazon may think it’s more important to buy influence with lawmakers they once considered ‘unacceptable’, a healthy democracy always has and always will be what’s best for business and the economy. With this decision, Amazon only confirms why they scored among the worst companies in the nation on matters of keeping our democracy intact.”
Accountable.US spokesperson Lindsey Melki
Learned Their Lesson? Even after the violent coup attempt, 147 Republicans in Congress kept dangerously fanning the flames of the Big Lie by voting to overturn the 2020 election results. Months later, not one of these lawmakers, including Leader McCarthy, voted in favor of establishing the Select Committee to Investigate the January 6th Attack on the United States Capitol to get to the bottom of what happened. No corporation can seriously claim these lawmakers ‘learned their lesson’ or ever stopped sowing division and distrust in our democracy. Companies like Amazon that have compromised 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.