A number of automakers have joined the growing push by U.S. businesses to suspend or entirely eliminate political spending in the wake of last week’s attempted insurrection by supporters of President Donald Trump.
Scores of major corporations, from Hallmark to Dow, have reacted to the political violence that saw rioters break into the U.S. Capitol. In some instances, businesses have said they will suspend all political contributions. In other cases, companies are specifically targeting politicians and political groups that backed false claims that the election was rigged.
Hallmark, for example, said it not only was ending financial support for Kansas Sen. Josh Hawley but was demanding he return previous campaign donations. The archconservative Republican has been seen as a leader in the “Stop-the-Steal” effort, caught on camera encouraging rioters as they approached the Capitol last Wednesday and then voting to reject the results of the election won by now President-elect Joe Biden.
By and large, automakers have announced less aggressive responses to the what happened in Washington last week, though many did speak out against the violence, including Ford Chairman Bill Ford and CEO Jim Farley, as well as General Motors Chairman and CEO Mary Barra.
Barra last week tweeted that, “The peaceful transition of power is a cornerstone of American democracy, and regardless of politics the violence at the U.S. Capitol does not reflect who we are as a nation. It’s imperative that we come together as a country and reinforce the values and ideals that unite us.”
Asked Monday whether GM would also halt some or all political donations, a source said on background that the company is “weighing its options.”
The company’s official response noted that, “While we have not determined our 2021 PAC spending at this time, GM PAC is committed to supporting and building relationships in a bipartisan manner, funds are contributed by GM employees and are distributed to support the election of U.S. federal and state candidates who foster sound business policies and understand the importance of a robust auto industry.”
For its part, Ford is taking more immediate action. “As we have said, events over the past year have underscored the need for a broader, ongoing discussion about other relevant considerations when it comes to our employee PAC. In order to give these important discussions the time and reflection they deserve, the Ford PAC will be suspending new contributions for now,” the company said in a statement.
Toyota, meanwhile, sent a statement to TheDetroitBureau.com saying that, “Given recent events and the horrific attack on the U.S. Capitol, we are assessing our future PAC criteria.”
A number of other automakers told TheDetroitBureau.com that they were not giving political donations even before the events of recent weeks. That includes Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, Nissan and Hyundai. Several other companies have yet to respond to requests for comment.