Republican leaders were able to rake in millions from grassroots campaign donations during the first fundraising quarter of 2021, leaving corporations in the dust after their freeze on political donations in January.
In January, Wall Street firms paused their political donations from their corporate political action committees (PACs) to some members of Congress after the Capitol Hill riot. Their reasoning was to threaten Republican members who were pro-Trump.
Axios reported, “If those companies hoped to push the GOP toward the center, they may have done just the opposite by turning Republican lawmakers toward their most committed — and ideologically driven — supporters.”
Instead of the Republican lawmakers becoming negatively affected, they turned to their supporters. This, in turn, gave lawmakers the ability to use grassroots fundraising to rake in millions in small-dollar donations.
According to the campaign’s filing, Axios reported Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell’s (R-KY) campaign committee received $1.9 million in contributions, all of which came from individual donors and no PACs in the first quarter. This included more than $700,000, which were “unitemized donations or donations that were under $200.”
This is compared to 2019, where he took in approximately $625,000 from 157 corporate PACs and trade associations during the same quarter, including less than $200,000 from “unitemized donations or donations that were under $200.”
In House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy’s (R-CA) first filing, it shows he received $2.2 million in contributions with very little corporate PAC money. The Minority Leader reported only receiving $2,800 from two PACs, the National Federation of Independent Businesses and a trade group representing California beet growers. The Californian received nearly $1.4 million in unitemized small donations.
This is compared to 2019, when McCarthy raised a total of $1.7 million and received more than $300,000 from 66 companies and trade groups during the same time, including receiving under $190,000 from small-dollar donations.
Overall, the Republicans have shown their ability to fundraise off the corporate PACs’ campaign to pause donations to Republicans after the Capitol Hill riot. Since then, McConnell has been seen as the face against the “woke corporate” trying to play a public role in influencing Americans’ political beliefs, culture, and social change.
Most recently, to try and make a political statement, Major League Baseball (MLB) moved their 2021 season’s All-Star game out of Georgia, just days after Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp (R) signed an election bill that would strengthen voting rules in the state. Democrats have spread false information about the law, saying it was meant to restrict voting abilities of minority groups. President Joe Biden has falsely compared the laws to the Jim Crow era.
After the MLB’s decision, McConnell issued a statement outraged over their decision and falling for a “fake narrative” set up by the Democrats using “economic blackmail to spread disinformation.” In McConnell’s statement he said corporations have been “dabbling in behaving like a woke parallel government” and will one day have to endure “serious consequences” if they continue.
Americans in a recent poll were asked how they felt about companies using their public role, position, or events to influence political, cultural, or social change. Over half (58 percent) oppose any type of influence from corporations in those areas to create change in society.
Consequently to the woke corporations, Republicans have proven to the corporate PACs that their money is not necessary to rally support for Republican campaigns because Republicans can simply turn to their supporters.