Posted on March 30, 2021
AT&T is Funding Voter Suppression & Republican Insurrection
Once again, AT&T is funding right-wing causes and Republican politicians when they thought no one was watching.
In the last few weeks, journalist Judd Legum reported that the telecom giant quietly donated tens of thousands to Republican lawmakers in Georgia and Florida who are behind new Jim Crow-style voter suppression bills that will make it hard or impossible for Black and brown voters to cast their ballots.
If that isn’t enough, just weeks after AT&T promised to end donations to Republicans who objected to certifying the 2020 presidential election — which enabled the deadly Capitol insurrection — the company broke its pledge and cut a $5,000 check to the PAC of a leading Republican objector.
All of this is on top of AT&T’s long history of supporting the right-wing agenda, reinforcing a pattern of Republican political spending and revealing where their values really lie.
AT&T is funding voter suppression efforts in Georgia and Florida
In the wake of record voter turnout in 2020, especially among communities of color that helped secure Joe Biden’s victory, Republican state lawmakers across the country are aggressively pushing highly restrictive voter suppression laws to keep Black and brown voters from casting their ballots in the next election.
These bills would institute harsh voting restrictions like requiring voter IDs and limiting drop boxes, early voting, mail-in voting, and voting on Sundays (a traditional day for voting in many Black communities). One Georgia bill recently signed into law — below a painting of a slave plantation, no less — would make it a crime to hand out water to people waiting in line to vote.
While AT&T publicly claims they support voting rights, the company has quietly been a top funder of lawmakers in Florida and Georgia who are behind these racist voter suppression efforts.
Earlier this month, Popular Information reported that AT&T donated at least $99,700 since 2018 to a group of Georgia Republican lawmakers who are sponsors of House Bill 315 and Senate Bill 241, two voter suppression bills that would make voting much harder for many Georgians.
In Donald Trump’s new home state of Florida, Senate Bill 90, backed by state Republicans and Gov. Ron DeSantis, is a harsh voter suppression bill that buys into Trump’s lies of voter fraud and would ban ballot drop boxes, limit who could return a legal ballot to a polling place, and place restrictions on mail-in voting. Popular Information also recently reported that, since 2017, AT&T donated at least $45,000 to Ron DeSantis and eight state senators pushing for the bill to become law.
AT&T broke its pledge, continues to fund Republicans who enabled the US Capitol riots
In January 2021, we shared reporting that uncovered AT&T was the largest corporate contributor to Congressional Republicans who announced that they would overturn the will of the voters and object to certifying then-President-elect Joe Biden’s electoral college victory, having donated a whopping $2,053,000 to those 130 lawmakers.
These members of Congress fueled Donald Trump’s Big Lie that the 2020 election was “stolen” due widespread voter fraud. None of this was true, yet thousands of insurrectionists took their cue from Trump and these conspiracy-toting lawmakers and stormed the U.S. Capitol in a last-ditch, deadly attempt to install Trump for a second term.
After news reports and widespread public condemnation — including here at CREDO — AT&T issued a statement claiming that it “decided to suspend contributions to members of Congress who voted to object to the certification of Electoral College votes this week.”
Barely a month went by before Popular Information revealed that AT&T’s political action committee turned on the Republican donations spigot once again and on Feb. 22 donated $5,000 to the House Conservatives Fund, the Leadership PAC of Congressman Mike Johnson, a Republican from Louisiana who not only voted against certifying the Electoral College, but also announced on Twitter just hours before the deadly insurrection that it was his “honor to help lead that fight in the Congress today.”
You’d expect this frightening irony would make any self-respecting corporation think twice about donating to a politician like this. Apparently not for AT&T.
And it won’t surprise you that this isn’t the first time AT&T has acted in its self-interest or the interests of Republican lawmakers. Here are 11 more reasons why it’s time to drop AT&T.
At CREDO, our customers never have to worry that we would fund Republican lawmakers or right-wing causes. Just the opposite. We donate millions to our partners and allies who are fighting harsh voter suppression efforts, like the Brennan Center for Justice, Black Votes Matter and Fair Fight Action, and organizations standing up for civil rights, including the ACLU, NAACP and Color Of Change.