Toyota’s political action committee will cut off all donations to Republican members of Congress who tried to toss out President Joe Biden’s electoral votes in January, the company said Thursday, a reversal after Toyota endured backlash because the carmaker — along with several other large companies — financially supported dozens of objectors’ political campaigns.
Toyota said in a statement its PAC — which takes donations from company employees and distributes them to lawmakers’ campaigns — has chosen to stop contributing to any of the 147 lawmakers who objected to certifying some of Biden’s electors.
The left-leaning Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington says Toyota’s PAC has donated $56,000 to 38 different Republican objectors, more than Cigna, AT&T, Koch Industries and other frequent donors.
“We understand that the PAC decision to support select Members of Congress who contested the results troubled some stakeholders,” Toyota said Thursday.
Toyota’s decision to cut off donations to objectors comes less than two weeks after the carmaker defended them. In a statement to news outlets last month, Toyota said its PAC makes donation decisions based on a range of factors: “We do not believe it is appropriate to judge members of Congress solely based on their votes on the electoral certification.”
The objections to Biden’s electoral win were part of a last-ditch effort by former President Donald Trump’s allies to overturn Biden’s victory. The gambit coincided with a violent pro-Trump riot in the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, and many objectors in Congress baselessly claimed last year’s election was marred by widespread voter fraud. As a result, dozens of large companies reacted by either suspending donations to Republican objectors or pausing all political donations altogether. Toyota’s PAC continued donating to objectors, and after Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington documented this practice, progressive and anti-Trump commentators excoriated the company.
Some companies that vowed to cut off donations earlier this year have kept indirectly supporting Republicans, the Associated Press reported last weekend. Companies like Walmart and General Electric donated to the National Republican Congressional Committee and National Republican Senatorial Committee, both of which have previously lent financial support to Republican candidates who objected to Biden’s win. Toyota’s PAC has not donated to either Republican committee this year, according to Federal Election Commission filings.