Washington’s largest companies, with long histories of political donations to both parties, have taken different approaches to their giving in the year since the attack on the United States Capitol.
In the hours and days following the 2021 insurrection, there was near unanimity among the corporate giants: The horror at the Capitol was unacceptable and they would pause and reassess their political giving.
In the year since, Washington’s twin tech giants, Amazon and Microsoft, have continued to donate generously to both parties. But neither company has made a single donation to any of the 147 Republican members of Congress who voted, after the attack on the Capitol, to overturn the results of the 2020 election.
Boeing, after a brief pause, has shown no hesitation in supporting the Republican legislators who voted against certifying the presidential election of Joe Biden.
In 2021, Boeing donated $190,000 to 61 members of Congress who voted to overturn the election results, according to federal campaign finance data.
Boeing actually gave more money to Republican candidates who voted to overturn the results than it did to Republican candidates who voted to accept the results of a free and fair election.
“Major corporations were quick to condemn the insurrection and tout their support for democracy — and almost as quickly, many ditched those purported values by cutting big checks to the very politicians that helped instigate the failed coup attempt,” said Kyle Herring, the president of Accountable.us, a nonpartisan group that investigates corporate power and donations. “The increasing volume of corporate donations to lawmakers who tried to overthrow the will of the people makes clear that these companies were never committed to standing up for democracy in the first place.”
A new report from Accountable.us found Boeing to be the second largest donor nationally to members of Congress who voted to overturn the election.
Boeing declined to comment Thursday.
All three corporations — Amazon, Microsoft and Boeing — promised after the attack on the Capitol that they would reevaluate their political giving.
Since then, all three companies have given slightly more money to federal Republican candidates than they have to Democrats, according to data collected by OpenSecrets, a government transparency group.
All three have donated to Washington Republican Reps. Cathy McMorris Rodgers and Dan Newhouse, who signed on to a legal brief before the Capitol attack that sought to overturn the election results in four states won by Biden.
(McMorris Rodgers had announced she would vote to object to the election results, but backtracked after the attack. Newhouse and Washington’s third Republican, Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler, both voted to impeach Trump after the attack.)
“Given the unacceptable attempt to undermine a legitimate democratic process, the Amazon PAC has suspended contributions to any member of Congress who voted to override the results of the U.S. presidential election,” an Amazon spokesperson said five days after the attack.
Amazon has kept its word, mostly. It has not given any direct contributions to candidates who voted to overturn the election.
It has, however, made two donations to leadership PACs of two members of Congress, Rep. Jackie Walorski, R-Indiana, and Rep. David Crouzer, R-N.C., both of whom voted to overturn the election.
Amazon did not respond to requests for comment Thursday.
Leadership PACs are typically used by politicians as vehicles for distributing campaign money to colleagues, to travel or to hire additional staff.
The week after the attack, Microsoft said it would stop political donations “until after it assesses the implications of last week’s events” and “it will take additional steps this year  to consider these recent events and consult with employees.”
In February, Microsoft announced that it would suspend donations to candidates who voted to overturn the election results through the 2022 elections and it would also suspend donations to state officials and organizations who supported the cause of overturning the election.
Microsoft has not given any money to candidates who voted to overturn the election, nor does it appear to have given money to PACs associated with those candidates.
One week after the attack on the Capitol, Boeing announced that it “strongly condemns the violence, lawlessness and destruction that took place.”
“We are not making political contributions at this time,” the company said. “We will continue to carefully evaluate future contributions to ensure that we support those who not only support our company, but also uphold our country’s most fundamental principles.”
Boeing’s pause on political donations lasted less than five months.
In early May, it unleashed a gusher of campaign cash to politicians of both parties. Notably, those included Rep. Kevin McCarthy, the House Republican leader, who voted to overturn the election results.
McCarthy, much like Boeing, once harshly condemned the attack, even saying a week afterward that Trump “bears responsibility.”
Since then, he and Boeing have softened their stances.
He called the House investigation into the attack a “sham process” and threatened telecom companies that complying with subpoenas issued by investigators could bring retribution from Republicans.
Boeing, in addition to its donations to individual legislators, donated last year to the Republican National Committee, the National Republican Senatorial Committee and the National Republican Congressional Committee. Boeing also donated to similar Democratic committees.
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