If I’ve learned anything in adulthood, it’s that people can say all the right things, but it doesn’t mean a damn thing if they aren’t backing it up. Take, for instance, all the companies that spoke out against the restrictive voting laws passed by Georgia earlier this year. While multiple law firms and companies like Comcast spoke out against the law, an investigation into their political donations proved that’s all it was: talk.
The Washington Post reports an investigation by the nonprofit Advance Democracy found that Comcast was among several companies who donated to GOP politicians who supported the law’s passage despite previously speaking out against it. The company released a statement in April that said “Efforts to limit or impede access to this vital constitutional right for any citizen are not consistent with our values.” Only two months later, the company donated $2,500 to Georgia Attorney General Chris Carr, who was a staunch supporter of the law and advocated for its passage.
A group of businesses, executives, and law firms all signed a statement in April titled “We Stand for Democracy.” The statement lambasted the efforts by GOP politicians to make voting harder. While it didn’t expressly say they would stop donating to politicians that worked to advance the bill, many of the companies who signed on—such as Delta and Coca-Cola—haven’t donated to any politician who voted for the bill since its release. Hell, the MLB moved the goddamn All-Stars out of Atlanta just to drive home how shitty the law is.
Unfortunately, that same moral fortitude doesn’t seem to apply to quite a few of the business and individuals who signed the statement.
From the Washington Post:
McGuireWoods, the Richmond-based law firm, contributed $250 on April 14 — the day it jointly released the “We Stand for Democracy” statement — to a Georgia state representative who voted in favor of the measure. The firm went on to contribute to at least four other backers of the law, including $2,800 to state Sen. Jeff Mullis (R), one of its co-sponsors.
Mullis also netted a $2,000 contribution from Peter Conlon, an Atlanta-based executive at Live Nation, an entertainment company that signed the letter. Conlon served as national fundraising director for former president Jimmy Carter and has continued to donate large sums to Democratic candidates. In a statement, Conlon said, “I strongly support voting rights for all, and personally contributed to Senator Mullis because he has been a strong voice for music in the Georgia Senate and I appreciate the work he did passing a tax credit for musicians who were out of work due to the pandemic.”
Another law firm, Troutman Pepper, donated to one of the lawmakers who backed the bill, also on the same day it jointly issued the “We Stand for Democracy” statement. The firm released its own statement as well, saying, “We support voting rights for all Americans, oppose any undue and discriminatory restrictions to the ballot box, and stand firmly with those who support full and fair access to the voting process in Georgia and across the country.”
“Many of the most powerful institutions in our society—global corporations and elite law firms—have made vague statements about supporting voting rights, but these statements are meaningless if these entities continue to fund the politicians behind restrictive voter legislation,” Daniel Jones, the head of Advance Democracy, told the Post.
We can file this under “Examples of how capitalism won’t save us.” What’s the point of making this big show about how you care about voting rights, if you really don’t care about voting rights? I feel like these corporations don’t understand how the modern world works. Information is easily obtainable these days, so why put on a public front when the mask is just going to be knocked off only months later?
People aren’t satisfied with empty rhetoric anymore, so if you’re not actually going to be about it, then please, do us all a favor and shut the fuck up.