Hidden Funding: Amazon and Google Engage in Elusive Tactics to Support Anti-Abortion Legislators

As the 1st of July approaches, signaling the enforcement of North Carolina’s 12-week abortion ban, a recent investigation conducted by the non-profit organization Center for Political Accountability (CPA) has shed light on the financial support provided by major corporations to anti-abortion lawmakers. The analysis reveals that prominent companies such as Comcast, Intuit, Wells Fargo, Amazon, Bank of America, and Google donated substantially to the Republican State Leadership Committee (RSLC) in 2022.

It was subsequently discovered that these funds were channeled towards groups that actively worked towards electing state legislators who advocate anti-abortion policies. Notably, these contributions occurred following the leak of a Supreme Court decision hinting at a potential nationwide curtailment of abortion access, as reported by Politico.

Following the disclosure of a draft decision by the Supreme Court, major corporations such as Google, Amazon, Comcast, Wells Fargo, and Bank of America reportedly made substantial contributions to the Republican State Leadership Committee (RSLC), as revealed by the Center for Political Accountability (CPA) through their review of tax filings. According to the CPA, Google donated $45,000, while other companies contributed even larger amounts. Amazon contributed $50,000, Intuit donated $100,000, and Comcast provided $147,000.

When approached for comment, Google, Amazon, Comcast, Wells Fargo, and Bank of America did not respond to the requests. However, an Intuit spokesperson emphasized that their company also contributes to Democratic political organizations. They further clarified that their financial support does not necessarily imply an endorsement of every stance taken by individual policymakers or organizations.

Corporate Contributions and Indirect Support for Anti-Abortion Causes

In response to the analysis conducted by the Center for Political Accountability (CPA), companies such as Intuit and Bank of America have provided statements regarding their political engagement and contributions. They highlighted the importance of engaging with policymakers for a robust democracy, with political giving being just one avenue through which Intuit supports its customers, employees, and communities. An Intuit spokesperson emphasized that the company is non-partisan and collaborates with policymakers from both political spectrum to advocate for their customers.

Hidden Funding: Amazon and Google Engage in Elusive Tactics to Support Anti-Abortion Legislators
Credits: The Guardian

On the other hand, a spokesperson from Bank of America referred to the company’s policy concerning donations to organizations like the Republican State Leadership Committee (RSLC), known as 527 organizations. According to their policy, such donations are explicitly designated for operational and administrative purposes rather than supporting specific candidates or ballot initiatives. However, the CPA argues that since the RSLC’s activities are designed to assist candidates and ballot initiatives, this policy may not effectively distinguish the end use of the contributions.

While it is important to note that these corporations did not directly provide large sums of money to anti-abortion lawmakers in North Carolina, the CPA’s analysis demonstrates how corporate contributions to organizations like the RSLC can indirectly support anti-abortion causes. The passing of the abortion ban in North Carolina, despite a veto from the Democratic governor, revealed that several legislators who voted to overturn the veto had received campaign contributions from a group connected to the RSLC.

Corporate Accountability and Contradictions in Public Stances

The Republican State Leadership Committee (RSLC) is a key player in the funding chain that supports right-wing candidates and promotes conservative policies at the state level. It exemplifies a common practice in modern campaign financing, where money is channeled through various third-party groups. In a specific case, the RSLC allocated $5 million to the Good Government Coalition political organization between June and November of the previous year. Subsequently, the Good Government Coalition contributed $6.45 million to Citizens for a Better North Carolina, a right-wing political group. Ultimately, $1 million of these funds were used by Citizens for a Better North Carolina to finance independent expenditures in support of nine anti-abortion state lawmakers who later voted to overturn the governor’s veto on the abortion bill.

The Center for Political Accountability (CPA), a nonprofit organization, argues that these donations provide evidence of corporate complicity in the broader movement to restrict abortion rights. It highlights the contradiction between these corporations’ public stances on women’s empowerment and employee access to healthcare and their financial support for anti-abortion causes.

Bruce Freed, the president of the CPA, emphasizes the importance of companies being aware of where their money is directed. He sees this as a lesson that should have been learned earlier, but recent events in North Carolina have reinforced the need for vigilance.

Some companies, including Intuit and Bank of America, made statements last year offering healthcare coverage for employees who needed to travel out of state for medical procedures, including abortion. Google even sent an email to its employees acknowledging the overturning of Roe v. Wade and providing information about relocation options to different states.

Increasing Restrictions on Abortion Rights in Southern States

Notably, the corporations that donated to the RSLC are also significant contributors to Democratic political groups, and tech giants like Google and Amazon allocate substantial amounts each year for broader lobbying efforts.

The RSLC, boasting a board comprising former lawmakers, governors, and White House advisers like Karl Rove, proudly claims to have spent over $45 million supporting Republican candidates during the 2021 and 2022 election cycles.

In addition to North Carolina’s forthcoming 12-week abortion ban, South Carolina recently passed a bill criminalizing most abortions at six weeks, a stage before most individuals are even aware they are pregnant. However, a state judge promptly temporarily halted the ban shortly after Governor Henry McMaster signed it into law. The case will now undergo review by the state supreme court.

With multiple southern states enacting near-total abortion bans, North Carolina’s impending restriction on abortion access starting on July 1st will further curtail women’s reproductive rights.