There was a moment in those chaotic, constitutionally fragile days following the Jan. 6 insurrection attempt on the United States Capitol where, in a rare moment of corporate responsibility, nearly 200 top-tier companies declared they would no longer fund the Republican lawmakers who voted against certifying Joe Biden's victory in the presidential election. Those votes were the impetus for the nascent coup that spilled into the halls of Congress that day.
If the idea that a gaggle of the most influential corporations on Earth would voluntarily pull their fingers out of the piggy bank of legislative power over something as ephemeral as "backing an authoritarian coup" seemed a little too good to be true, well, congratulations! You were right. Because "business as usual" (that is: donating to any and every lawmaker who will help a company turn a profit) is back!
When it comes to donations to the so-called "sedition caucus" of Republicans who voted against certifying Biden as president, there's a clear winner — or loser, depending on how you wanna look at it — who has donated more than any other company to America's own ur-fascist party: Toyota.
According to an analysis of corporate donations to lawmakers and their various associated PACs done by the nonprofit Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington watchdog group, the Japanese carmaker has far and away donated to the largest portion of seditionists — 37 in all — capturing approximately a full quarter of the 147 Republicans who voted against certifying Biden's win. All told, the automotive company has given around $55,000 to Republicans whose votes abetted an insurrection.
While Toyota's political donations were twice as much as, and five times more spread out than, any of the other companies who've given to Republicans who fueled the insurrection, the carmaker was certainly not the only corporation that decided to let bygones be bygones when it comes to a little light treason. The other 34 companies noted by CREW to have given to the insurrection caucus include Walmart, Cigna, USBancorp, and Koch Industries.
Toyota defended its dubious honor in a statement to The Hill, explaining that it "supports candidates based on their position on issues that are important to the auto industry and the company."
"We do not believe it is appropriate to judge members of Congress solely based on their votes on the electoral certification," the company added, in an astonishingly lame justification for helping fund the people who attempted to dismantle the very same system Toyota is hoping to benefit from.
According to The Hill, Toyota did add that it conducted a "thorough review" and ultimately "decided against giving to some members who, through their statements and actions, undermine the legitimacy of our elections and institutions." The company did not, however, say who those lawmakers were, or what specific statements and actions it had deemed irredeemable.
Still, if nothing else, Toyota has proven an important point: When it comes to money in politics, America is back, baby!