Toyota faces renewed criticism after resuming donations to some Biden election objectors

Toyota in July faced a chorus of criticism from consumers and interest groups over its political donations to members of Congress who voted against Biden’s certification.

In a statement on July 8, Toyota said: “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 Lincoln Project — a PAC formed in 2019 with the goal of preventing the reelection of Trump — on Monday revived an ad campaign chastising Toyota for resuming donations to those lawmakers.

The group said the recent donations include five Republican House lawmakers who voted to block Biden’s certification: Reps. Andy Biggs of Arizona, Garret Graves of Louisiana, Trent Kelly of Mississippi, David Kustoff of Tennessee and Jackie Walorski of Indiana.

Toyota’s offices and factories are mostly in conservative states — including Alabama, Indiana, Kentucky, Mississippi, Tennessee, Texas and West Virginia.

Ford Motor Co. resumed its donations to lawmakers in April 2021 and did not rule out donations to lawmakers who objected to Biden’s certification, according to a Reuters report.

Following the criticism directed at Toyota, Ford said contributions by its employee PAC are “bipartisan and take into consideration many issues that are important” to the company and its customers.

GM also restarted donations after enhancing its employee-funded PAC’s contribution criteria around character and public integrity, a spokesperson told Automotive News in July.

In a separate statement emailed Monday afternoon to Automotive News, Toyota said it has contributed $102,500 to 53 objectors during the 2022 election cycle, Ford has given $54,500 to 20 objectors, and GM has given $180,000 to 55 objectors.

Greg Minchak, press secretary for the Lincoln Project, said the group is targeting Toyota because of the automaker’s about-face.

“They said they would stop making the donations, and when they thought no one was watching, they did it again,” Minchak said in an emailed statement to Automotive News. “We are constantly watching how companies spend their money and will say more about what it means that corporate America puts cynical politics over democracy.”

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