From resisting ‘right to repair’ laws to flip-flopping over emissions regulations, automakers are no strangers to politics. And that includes Toyota. However, the latest news concerning the automaker isn’t about emissions standards. It’s about the donations made by the Toyota political action committee to Congressional representatives who objected to the 2020 election results.
The Toyota PAC gave the most to individual members of Congress who objected to the 2020 election results
The January 6th riots in Washington, DC, were partially fueled by conspiracies over the 2020 presidential election results. And in their wake, many corporations began reviewing their political donations, Bloomberg explains. Several automakers–GM, Ford, and Toyota–were among them, Popular Information reports.
Like other corporations on PI’s list, these three had given money through PACs. Some of that money went to Congressional representatives who objected to certifying the 2020 election. And based on a report from the non-profit Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, it appears that Toyota hasn’t stopped its donations to election objectors.
According to CREW’s data, the Toyota PAC is the biggest donor to individual 2020 election objectors in Congress, Axios says. Since January 6th, the automaker donated $55,000 to 37 of the 147 members of Congress who objected to the 2020 election results.
To be fair, Koch Industries and Walmart both gave more money in total. And Toyota isn’t the only automaker included on CREW’s donation report. The report indicates that GM’s PAC donated $15,000 to a Republican party committee that supports the objectors. Ford, though, isn’t on the list.
However, in the case of Koch Industries and Walmart, both corporations also gave money to the objector-supporting party committees. Their donations to individual members of Congress are smaller than Toyota’s donations. And GM only donated money to the committee, not specific Congressional objectors.
How has Toyota responded to this donation report?
To be clear, Toyota didn’t violate any laws by making these donations. And Bloomberg notes that the automaker also gave money to Democrats and Republicans who supported Trump’s impeachment.
However, this situation isn’t like a minor Clean Air Act violation. To quote MotorTrend, it’s “a political storm…essentially pitting verifiable reality against the verifiably inaccurate stance of a major political party.” Whatever your political ideology, the truth is that President Biden legitimately won the 2020 presidential election. Yes, corporations make political donations, but there was more at stake on January 6th, the Los Angeles Times notes.
Since Axios reported on CREW’s data, Toyota has released an official statement:
In a reply to MT, a Toyota spokesperson said that the automaker “didn’t have anything to add to that statement.” But the LA Times received a response that said, “‘Toyota supports candidates based on their position on issues that are important to the auto industry and the company.'”
So, what happens now?
Again, the donations Toyota made weren’t against the law. The automaker hasn’t cheated on emissions or embezzled funds or something like that. It didn’t break any laws, so there are no legal consequences. And Toyota isn’t the only corporation that made donations to 2020 election objectors.
However, that doesn’t mean these corporations won’t face PR backlash. Nor does it mean that the voting public won’t want to prevent these types of situations from happening again. If that last statement includes you, contact your local representative.
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