These 16 companies are funding the GOP's war on voting


The Republican National Committee has filed suit to making it harder to vote during the pandemic.

The Republican National Committee has filed a lawsuit to stop California from making it easier for citizens to vote by mail during the pandemic, part of a massive $20 million effort to undermine voting rights.

More than a dozen U.S. corporations are helping bankroll that effort.

The suit — filed Sunday by the RNC, the National Republican Congressional Committee, and the California Republican Party — challenges an decision by Gov. Gavin Newsom to automatically send a mail-in ballot to the state's registered voters for the November general election.

Newsom said the move was needed to protect public health during a pandemic.

The groups claimed without evidence this week that sending these ballots to inactive voters "invites fraud, coercion, theft, and otherwise illegitimate voting."

"Democrats are using the coronavirus as an excuse to get wholesale election changes that fit their far-left agenda, but we are fighting back to protect the vote," RNC spokesperson Steve Guest said in an email on Tuesday. "While the RNC of course supports efforts to ensure that no voters are disenfranchised due to the coronavirus, we will not stand idly by while Democrats strip away important election safeguards and throw election integrity out the window. Americans deserve to have confidence in their elections, and it is critical we work to preserve the democratic process."

The RNC functions on donations from some of the country's biggest corporations, through their corporate political action committees. According to the Center for Responsive Politics, so far in the 2020 campaign the committee has received at least $985,000 total from 16 large companies and trade associations.

The list includes:

$210,000 from Comcast Corporation, the telecommunications behemoth.

$165,000 from the National Association of Realtors, the trade association for the real estate agents industry.

$90,000 from Deloitte LLP, a major accounting and professional services company.

$75,000 from the Credit Union National Association, the trade association for credit unions.

$60,000 from Lockheed Martin, a U.S. aerospace company and defense contracting firm.

$60,000 from Associated Builders & Contractors, a trade association representing tens of thousands of non-union construction firms and contractors.

$45,000 from AT&T Inc., the telecommunications giant.

$40,000 from the GEO Group, a private prison company.

$30,000 from AFLAC Inc., a major supplemental insurance company.

$30,000 from Boeing Co., an aerospace company and defense contractor.

$30,000 from Pfizer Inc., the multinational pharmaceutical company.

$30,000 from the Associated General Contractors, the trade association for the construction industry. A spokesperson said in an email on Tuesday that the PAC's annual contribution to the RNC is "based on a host of factors, including support for infrastructure, regulatory & tort reform, and more recently support for measures to rebuild our economy and help contractors withstand the coronavirus pandemic and related economic lock downs." He noted that the association has "not taken a position on efforts to counter voter fraud and that issue is not a factor in our contribution selections." He then accused this reporter of working for an "advocacy group" and asking "leading questions" about the lawsuit.

$30,000 from the Independent Community Bankers of America, a trade association for smaller banks. The organization declined to comment on its donation when reached.

$30,000 from the National Association of Home Builders, the trade association for the home construction industry.

$30,000 from the National Automobile Dealers Association, the trade association for car dealers.

$30,000 from the National Beer Wholesalers Association, the trade association for beer distributors.

With the exception of Associated General Contractors and the Independent Community Bankers of America, which declined to comment on its donation, the groups did not immediately answer questions about their ongoing support of the RNC.

The lawsuit is the latest in an ongoing effort by Donald Trump and the Republican Party to undermine the right to vote. The New York Times reported last week that the party plans to recruit 50,000 people to "challenge ballots and voters deemed suspicious" and spend $20 million on lawsuits to oppose loosening of voting restrictions.

The RNC did not immediately respond to an inquiry about the suit.

As of May 24, California had more than 94,500 confirmed COVID-19 cases and more than 3,700 fatalities.

This article was updated to include a response from the Independent Community Bankers of America, as well as a statement from an RNC spokesperson.

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.