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Toyota resumes political donations to 2020 presidential election objectors

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Toyota is again contributing to lawmakers who resisted certifying the official results of the 2020 presidential election, despite the Japanese automaker's pledge last summer to halt such financial support. 

Toyota said in July of last year that it would stop supporting lawmakers who questioned the electoral outcome amid pressure from critics including the Lincoln Project, an advocacy group that dedicated itself to defeating former President Donald Trump in his re-election bid. 

"We understand that the PAC decision to support select members of Congress who contested the results troubled some stakeholders," the company said at the time. "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."

Eight months later, the Japanese automaker has seemingly reconsidered its stance. Toyota in March gave money to Rep. Jackie Walorski, a Republican from Indiana who voted to overturn the election results on January 6, 2021, Popular Information reported on Monday. Walorski also voted against impeaching Trump and against creating a bipartisan committee to look into the insurrection. 

The company also contributed $1,000 last month to Tennessee Republican David Kustoff, who voted in line with Walorski on issues related to the 2020 election, a Federal Election Commission filing shows. Mississippi Republican Trent Kelly and Louisiana Republican Garrett Graves also received money from Toyota's PAC in March. 

After a six-month pause, Toyota "has resumed contributions to some members of Congress," the company said Monday in an email to CBS MoneyWatch. "We will not support those who, by their words and actions, create an atmosphere that incites violence," the company added.

The position did little to sway the Lincoln Project, which is dusting off a commercial it made decrying Toyota's contributions before the company changed its policy last summer. 

The group is re-releasing its ad accusing Toyota of "helping finance a movement that violently sought to take votes away from American customers, not to mention Toyota's own employees." 

That 2021 commercial followed a report from Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington showing that in the months following the January 6 assault on the U.S. Capitol, Toyota had given a total of $55,000 to roughly three dozen Republicans who challenged certification. The automaker gave twice as much as the next largest corporate donor to lawmakers who voted against certifying the election vote, according to the progressive watchdog group.

After the January 6 attack, 147 Republicans voted against certifying the presidential election results despite the lack of evidence of fraud or that the voting had been manipulated. At the time, many corporations including Toyota vowed to review or pause their political donations. 

A month after the Capitol siege, Toyota also donated $1,000 to Arizona Republican Andy Biggs, according to Federal Election Commission filings. The congressman has challenged the integrity of the election.


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