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‘They Put Democracy Ahead of Transactional Politics’: Toyota Bows to Backlash, Stops Donating Funds to Republicans Who Objected to Certifying Biden’s Election

Last month, automotive manufacturer Toyota faced backlash after it was reported that since Jan. 6it led in donations to Republicans who objected to certifying the results of the 2020 presidential election between former President Donald Trump and Joe Biden. 

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The world’s second-largest automaker was threatened to become a target in ads from political action committees (PACs) such as the Republican-run Lincoln Project that called for its boycott. 

Initially, following the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol led by Trump supporters,Toyota said the company would pause contributions to congressional lawmakers who voted against certifying Biden’s election, a position it soon abandoned. In April the company explained to The Detroit News that its decision to support candidates was centered on “their position on issues that are important to the auto industry and the company.

We do not believe  it was appropriate to judge members of Congress solely based on their votes on the electoral certification.” According to campaign finance filings, the carmaker resumed political contributions to the tarnished lawmakers on Feb. 4 with a donation made to Republican Rep. Alex Mooney of West Virginia. 

In the weeks following the blowback, Toyota Motor Corp announced that it would cease all donations to members of Congress who voted against certifying President Joe Biden’s fair and just 2020 election win in January. Spokesperson Edward Lewis sent the announcement to the news outlet in an email on Thursday, July 8. 

“Toyota is committed to supporting and promoting actions that further our democracy. Our company has long-standing relationships with Members of Congress across the political spectrum, especially those representing our U.S. operations,” the statement read. 

It continued, “Our bipartisan PAC equally supports Democrats and Republicans running for Congress. In fact, in 2021, the vast majority of the contributions went to Democrats and Republicans who supported the certification of the 2020 election. We understand that the PAC decision to support select Members of Congress who contested the results troubled some stakeholders. We are actively listening to our stakeholders and, at this time, we have decided to stop contributing to those Members of Congress who contested the certification of certain states in the 2020 election.”

The statement came just hours after The Lincoln Project revealed the Japanese company to be the first on its ad hit list in a recent press release. The statement read: “In the coming weeks, The Lincoln Project will begin releasing a series of ads and short videos digitally targeting the workforces at companies who have broken their pledges to withhold campaign funds to Members of Congress who enabled, empowered, and emboldened former president Trump and the insurrectionists.” 

Lincoln Project revealed that Toyota had “given $55,000 to 37 Republicans who fought to overturn the certification of the 2020 Election after pledging not to do so.” The ad was initially set to run on Fox Business and CNBC in Toyota’s American headquarters campus in Plano, Texas, as well as in New York. They kept their word. 

Following Toyota’s statement, The Lincoln Project returned with another post on Twitter, writing, “@Toyota made the right choice today. They put democracy ahead of transactional politics. We hope that the rest of Corporate America will follow their lead.”

Though progress was made, critics didn’t appear pleased, including one social media who wrote, “I still will not buy another Toyota ever again. I love the crap out of my Corolla and my 400+ miles on every full tank, but nah….” They added, “Corporations need to learn that their actions have consequences. You know, they are people after all.”

“I think Toyota will continue to secretly donate to officials of Congress who contested the 2020 presidential election,” said another. 

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