More than 200 Republicans who deny the results of the 2020 election won their races on Tuesday — but they didn’t do it alone.
Large corporations spent nearly $67 million to support election deniers running for Congress in the 2022 election cycle, according to a new analysis by Accountable.US, an advocacy group that tracks corporate influence.
The group tracked donations from hundreds of corporate political action committees. All told, more than 100 Republicans who support the “big lie” each received more than $100,000 in corporate political donations, with 12 receiving more than $1 million. Topping the list are many Republicans who serve or have served in GOP leadership, such as Reps. Cathy McMorris Rodgers (Wash.), Darin LaHood (Ill.), Tom Emmer (Minn.), Steve Scalise (La.) and Drew Ferguson (Ga.).
The sheer scale of the donations underscores a key shift: Concerns about election denialism have all but evaporated for corporate interests looking to curry favor with Congress.
Many corporate PACs suspended their donations to election deniers after the violent insurrection at the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021. But some quietly resumed their giving only a few months later.
And by the end of June 2022, a separate analysis by OpenSecrets found, corporate PACs had donated $22.2 million to 122 members of the House and Senate who had voted not to certify Joe Biden’s 2020 electoral victory.
Among the top corporate donors identified by OpenSecrets were Koch Industries, the conglomerate owned by the ultrawealthy, ultraconservative Koch family, as well as Home Depot, UPS and several of the country’s top military contractors, such as Boeing, Lockheed Martin and Raytheon Technologies.
Some of the top corporate donors Accountable.US has identified include the American Bankers Association, the National Beer Wholesalers Association, the National Automobile Dealers Association, Associated Builders and Contractors, and the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association.
The Accountable.US review only includes donations that candidates received before the mid-October disclosure deadline — meaning it’s possible that election deniers received an even larger last-minute flood of donations that are not yet public record. Accountable.US and OpenSecrets used slightly different counting methods, but taken together, they make clear that corporate donations to election deniers nearly doubled in the crucial final months of the election.
On top of the corporate funding, a small group of ultrawealthy business owners funneled an additional $71.5 million of their personal wealth toward Republicans promoting the false claim that the 2020 election was stolen, a recent report from the Brennan Center found.
Bernard Marcus, the Home Depot co-founder who no longer runs the company, contributed $3.35 million to election deniers or their super PACs.
The single largest source of funding was the right-wing couple Richard and Elizabeth Uihlein, who own Uline packing supplies. They have given $63 million to federal, gubernatorial and secretary of state candidates who denied the 2020 results or vowed to undermine future elections.