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Public Citizen: Coca-Cola, AT&T gave nearly $1M to legislators backing voting restrictions

Public Citizen: Coca-Cola, AT&T gave nearly $1M to legislators backing voting restrictions

Two companies that oppose Georgia’s new voting law have given almost $ 1 million to proponents of similar laws in other states over the past five years, according to a report released Monday by a left-leaning group.

The report[1] from Public Citizen said Coca-Cola and AT&T, whose CEOs disapprove of Georgia’s law, donated more than $ 944,000 to state lawmakers around the country who have introduced or indicated their support for bills that would in some way restrict the right to vote in recent years.

AT&T donated the lion’s share, with more than $ 810,000 in donations to Republican lawmakers around the country who have supported bills that critics say would restrict the right to vote and disproportionately impact minority communities.

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“Corporate leaders cannot credibly claim to love America while also giving contributions to lawmakers who are supporting thinly veiled attempts to suppress the vote, especially among people of color,” Public Citizen’s executive vice president, Lisa Gilbert, said in a statement Monday.

“The only acceptable action for corporations to take is to stop giving to supporters of these bills, forever.”

When reached for comment, a Coca-Cola spokesperson said: “We suspended all political contributions[2] in early January after the incident at the U.S. Capitol, and that pause continues.”

AT&T did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Coca-Cola CEO James Quincey slammed Georgia’s new law[3] in an interview with CNBC last week, calling it “unacceptable,” while AT&T CEO John Stankey issued a more measured statement[4] indicating his disapproval.

“We understand that election laws are complicated, not our company’s expertise and ultimately the responsibility of elected officials. But, as a company, we have a responsibility to engage,” Stankey said. “For this reason, we are working together with other businesses through groups like the Business Roundtable to support efforts to enhance every person’s ability to vote. In this way, the right knowledge and expertise can be applied to make a difference on this fundamental and critical issue.”

Stankey became CEO in 2020, while Quincey has been in the top post since 2016.

References

  1. ^ The report (www.citizen.org)
  2. ^ suspended all political contributions (thehill.com)
  3. ^ slammed Georgia’s new law (thehill.com)
  4. ^ issued a more measured statement (deadline.com)

[email protected] (John Bowden)