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On Jan. 6, a horde of rioters stormed the U.S. Capitol to disrupt the certification of votes that would affirm that Democrat Joseph R. Biden Jr. had legally won the presidency.

The violent siege, which left five people dead, stunned the country and prompted some lawmakers to vote in favor of certification even though they had previously planned to challenge the results. 

But seven North Carolina lawmakers continued to vote against certification — and now their campaign war chests could suffer for it. 

A number of high-profile corporations announced that they were suspending political donations in the wake of the Capitol riot.

Some, such as Facebook and UPS, reportedly said they were pausing all contributions for the time being. But companies such as Microsoft and AT&T stopped donations explicitly for lawmakers who voted against certification.

AT&T, a leading Republican donor, released a statement after the riot saying, “Employees on our Federal PAC Board convened a call today and decided to suspend contributions to members of Congress who voted to object to the certification of Electoral College votes last week.”

Duke Energy announced a one-month pause on all campaign contributions in mid-January, according to multiple news media reports.

Tar Heel representatives in the spotlight

The members of the North Carolina delegation who challenged the election include Reps. Richard Hudson, Virginia Foxx, Ted Budd, Dan Bishop, Greg Murphy, David Rouzer and Madison Cawthorn. All received donations from companies that suspended donations, though some could be far more adversely affected than others. 

According to OpenSecrets.org, which is run by the Center for Responsive Politics, Foxx drew $20,000 in political action committee donations from AT&T. Her campaign also received $10,000 from PACs at Amazon, New York Life Insurance, Comcast and PricewaterhouseCoopers, which have now suspended contributions. 

Foxx also attracted smaller donations from UBS Americas and United Parcel Service, both of which halted donations as well. Her office did not respond to a request for comment.

Like Foxx, Hudson received substantial donations from corporations that have shifted their policies in response to the election challenges. AT&T’s PAC donated $25,000 to his campaign, and PwC, Deloitte, Comcast and KPMG contributed $20,000 apiece via their PACs. The Duke Energy PAC supported his campaign with a $10,000 donation. Hudson’s office did not respond to a request for comment.

Budd’s campaign attracted donations from a number of financial services and consulting companies, including Bank of America, Deloitte, PwC, UBS Americas, Charles Schwab and Ernst & Young, that have since distanced themselves from election challengers. Budd’s office did not respond to a request for comment.

Based on campaign finance data, Hudson, Foxx and Budd could be hardest hit by a drop-off in contributions from key Republican donors. Others may not feel quite as much of a pinch. 

Rouzer, for instance, received $4,000 or less from PACs at AT&T, Verizon and Marathon Petroleum and $7,500 from UPS. The 7th District representative could feel a hit if Duke Energy extends its moratorium on giving, as he received a $10,000 contribution from its PAC last cycle.

 AT&T and UPS also donated $4,000 and $5,500, respectively, to Murphy’s camp. 

Bishop’s campaign saw moderate donations from individuals affiliated with companies that have since halted funding. He received less than $8,000 from individuals linked to Bank of America — according to OpenSecrets, this could mean employees, owners or immediate family members of employees — and roughly $5,600 from donors at both Coca-Cola and Charles Schwab.

Cawthorn, meanwhile, received just $6,916 from United Parcel Service, and OpenSecrets did not specify whether that money came from the company’s PAC or from individual donors who are affiliated with UPS. 

Spokespersons for Bishop and Cawthorn declined to comment on whether the corporate donation suspensions might affect their future campaigns or the GOP’s prospects in the next election cycle. 

Several lawmakers’ campaigns also received money from defense companies, including Northrop Grumman, Lockheed Martin and Boeing. All three have reportedly halted all political donations. 

Not all Republican North Carolina lawmakers opposed certification. On Jan. 6, the day of the riot, Sen. Richard Burr released a statement condemning the violence and supporting the certification of the election results.

“I supported President Trump’s legal right to contest the election results through the courts, but the courts have now unanimously and overwhelmingly rejected these suits,” he said. “No evidence of voter fraud has emerged that would warrant overturning the 2020 election. … It is past time to accept the will of American voters and to allow our nation to move forward.”

Burr has said he is not seeking re-election at the end of the current term.

Sen. Thom Tillis also supported certification, saying in a statement that while he was “deeply disappointed” in the election results, they were legitimate. The incumbent senator raised more than $25 million in the last campaign cycle, including more than $47,000 from Bank of America-affiliated donors and $10,000 from Bank of America PAC. Duke Energy contributed nearly $45,000 to Tillis’ coffers through individuals and its PAC.

Views on violence

Whether the representatives’ votes hurt their funding power or reelection chances remains to be seen. 

Cawthorn, who became a controversial figure due to his outspoken opposition to the election results, among other remarks, has now condemned the Capitol riot and reportedly said Biden “is my president, and I want to work with him to make sure that we can bring some meaningful change to the American people.”

Several North Carolina lawmakers who voted against certification issued statements condemning the Capitol riots, perhaps signaling to donors their anti-violence stance.

Two days before the certification vote and the riot, Rouzer said, “When there are widespread and grave concerns, I do not believe our founders intended Congress to be an automatic rubber stamp of approval of a state’s votes. Election integrity is a foundational matter that needs to be ensured.” 

Although he proceeded to vote against certification, he called the “lawlessness” at the Capitol “despicable” and said, “A vigorous debate and differences of opinion should never — ever — be an excuse for lawlessness and violence.” 

Rouzer’s office did not respond to a request for comment.

In a statement on Jan. 7, Budd said that the “mob violence I witnessed at the Capitol on Jan. 6 was not representative of our country, and I condemn it in the strongest possible terms.” He went on to defend his vote against certifying the election results in Pennsylvania. 

“When I was able to return to my office, I resolved to not let a violent mob stop me from giving voice to the thousands of North Carolinians who demanded a debate on the irregularities and constitutional violations in the presidential election,” the statement said.

“Going through the constitutional process of debate was never about overturning an election; it was about standing up for the integrity of each and every citizen’s vote.”

Murphy described the riot as “anarchy and violence” in a press release. A day prior, he asserted that he would vote against certification in order to preserve the Constitution and the promise to Americans of a “free, fair, and accurate election.” His office did not respond to a request for comment. 

Hudson released a lengthy statement about the riot, saying he was “sickened and heartbroken” over what had happened at the Capitol. He also vowed to “work across the aisle” and “put the long-term interests of our nation ahead of any short-term political interest.” 

Casey Morris

Casey Morris is a Carolina Public Press contributing writer based in Winston-Salem. Send an email to info@carolinapublicpress.org to contact her or other Carolina Public Press news team members.

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