Toyota dealership s, New York, NY. (John Nacion/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images)
Toyota is once again donating thousands of dollars to Congressional candidates who voted to overturn the 2020 election, in spite of the pledge the company made last year to stop doing so. The PAC belonging to the Japanese automaker’s North American operation donated $1,000 last month to each of several Republicans: Reps. Jackie Walorski of Indiana, David Kustoff of Tennessee, Trent Kelly of Mississippi, Tim Walberg of Michigan, and Garret Graves of Louisiana, according to Federal Election Commission filings. The donations were first reported by the Popular Information newsletter and the Detroit News.
Walorski, Kustoff, and Kelly not only voted against certificating the election but also signed on to a December 2020 amicus brief asking the United States Supreme Court to overturn the results of the election in Pennsylvania, Michigan, Wisconsin, and Georgia, four states that Joe Biden carried.“I stand with President Trump in the fight to ensure any allegations of voter fraud or irregularities are carefully and fully investigated in order to maintain the American people’s confidence in our electoral system,” Walorski said in a statement at the time. It’s the second time Toyota has done an about-face on its donations to Republicans who supported overturning the election. Days after the Jan. 6 Capitol riot delayed the certification of the election, Toyota told E&E News the company would “reevaluate” its PAC contributions and “assess our future PAC criteria.” The company resumed its donations to Republican members of Congress who voted to overturn the elections less than a month later, according to the Detroit News, and ultimately donated more than $50,000 to dozens of GOP members of Congress who objected to the 2020 election results. After public outcry and an ad campaign from the Democratic-aligjned “Never Trump” group the Lincoln Project, the company said last summer it would pause those donations.
“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,” the company said in a July 8 statement. Toyota did not immediately respond to a request for comment from VICE News, but told Popular Information it had begun donating to the election objectors again “after a pause of six months, during which time Toyota had extensive discussions with internal and external stakeholders.” Now, Toyota told Popular Information, the company “will not support those who, by their words and actions, create an atmosphere that incites violence.” The Lincoln Project said Monday it would renew its ad campaign against Toyota. “Toyota’s customers, suppliers, workers, and communities need to know that the company is turning its back on America’s most fundamental principles,” the group said in a statement.
In February, Amazon donated $30,000 each to the Republican Senate and House campaign committees, which will support candidates who voted to overturn the election. Sen. Rick Scott, the NRSC chair, himself voted to overturn those results. Additionally, Intel and Citi both directly donated more than $10,000 to the campaigns of members of Congress who voted to overturn the elections, according to Popular Information. Want the best of VICE News straight to your inbox? Sign up here.