Boeing Restarts Donations to Members of the So-Called ‘Sedition Caucus’

·4 min read
Photo Illustration by The Daily Beast/Getty
Photo Illustration by The Daily Beast/Getty

After briefly swearing off political donations in the wake of the Capitol riot, Boeing is now throwing cash at officials who fought to overturn the results of the 2020 election.

In a recent filing with the Federal Election Commission, the defense contractor’s political action committee reported major contributions to three Republican members of Congress who voted to challenge the results of the Electoral College: Rep. Steve Scalise; Rep. Vicky Hartzler; and Rep. Jack Bergman.

The report, Boeing’s first to show political contributions after the assault on the Capitol, also disclosed a $25,000 gift to the Republican Attorneys General Association, whose fundraising arm helped promote the Jan. 6 rally to “stop the steal.” Boeing contributed less than half that amount to the organization’s Democratic counterpart.

Boeing gave Scalise and Hartzler each a $5,000 donation, the maximum limit for an election. Bergman, a Michigan conservative who in December pushed erroneous claims of election fraud in his home state, got half that amount. (Boeing has previously donated to all three.)

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Boeing also gave money to Democratic officials like Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, as well as to Republicans who voted to certify the election results. The aerospace and defense giant also gave the maximum $105,000 to both parties’ House and Senate campaign committees.

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The three other representatives, however, have continued to challenge the factual election narrative after the insurrection. Scalise promoted the Big Lie in the media a month after Biden’s inauguration. In May, two weeks after his Boeing contribution rolled in, the House minority whip pushed his GOP colleagues to oppose the creation of a bipartisan Jan. 6 commission. Bergman and Hartzler also voted against the commission, and received their checks five days later.

Scalise—who survived a gunshot wound during a June 2017 attack on a group of Republican House members—was also among the first names attached to an amicus brief filed last December in support of a doomed attempt to persuade the Supreme Court to toss the election results. Bergman and Hartzler also put their names on the brief, as did two other Republicans who got max donations from Boeing last month—Rep. Ann Wagner of Missouri and House minority leader Kevin McCarthy.

That lawsuit was authored by Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton, a RAGA member and former chair. Seventeen Republican state attorneys general joined the quixotic effort, which the high court shot down in a pithy unsigned ruling three days after it was filed. Last week, the State Bar of Texas reportedly launched an investigation into Paxton, citing his efforts to overturn the election, and the Supreme Court filing specifically.

RAGA had thrown its weight behind similar court challenges almost immediately after the election. Its fundraising affiliate, the Rule of Law Defense Fund, helped organize Jan. 6 protests in DC and blasted out robocalls encouraging Republicans to join what became an insurrection against Congress. RAGA’s involvement in those events has led to the resignation of at least three officials, including its director at the time. The group’s new chair, former finance director Alabama Attorney General Steve Marshall, said he would order an internal investigation, but the probe’s status is unclear.

Boeing did not respond to The Daily Beast’s request for comment.

In response to public outrage following the insurrection, hundreds of corporations declared they would halt or curtail political giving. Most, but not all, followed through on those pledges, which ranged from total bipartisan abstention to suspensions targeting the so-called “sedition caucus” of members who challenged the Electoral College outcome.

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Boeing joined the ranks on Jan. 13, when it announced its PAC would pause all political donations indefinitely. “Boeing strongly condemns the violence, lawlessness and destruction that took place in the U.S. Capitol on January 6, 2021. Given the current environment, we are not making political contributions at this time,” the company said in a statement.

It was joined at the time by other aerospace giants, including Lockheed and BAE Systems, both of which have also resumed donations.

Boeing was the 77th largest political donor in 2020, having given roughly $7.6 million between its PAC and individual employees, according to data compiled by Open Secrets. Its top recipient was the Senate Majority Fund, a super PAC connected to Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, who decried the events of Jan. 6 and voted to confirm Biden’s victory. Neither McConnell nor the super PAC has received money from Boeing this year.

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