from the see-no-evil dept
Much like the company’s dedication to women, AT&T’s dedication to not funding people eager to overthrow democracy appears to be somewhere between inconsistent and nonexistent. Shortly after January 6 a number of companies, including telecom giants like AT&T, publicly crowed about how they’d be ceasing all funding to politicians that supported the attack on the Capitol and the overturning of, you know, fucking democracy. Of course that promise was never worth all that much, given the the umbrella lobbying orgs companies like AT&T used never really stopped financing terrible people.
Initially, AT&T made a big stink about how it had suspended funding to all 147 Republicans who voted to overturn the 2020 election. But not only did AT&T not actually suspend funding via its numerous policy and lobbying tendrils, it didn’t even really ever stop funding insurrectionists directly:
“In February, however, AT&T donated $5,000 to the House Conservatives Fund. The chair of the House Conservatives Fund is Jim Banks (R-IN), who objected to the certification of the Electoral College in January. Banks also signed an amicus brief submitted to the Supreme Court supporting Texas’ efforts to throw out the election results in several states.”
Back in March, when news outlets like the Dallas News pressed AT&T on why it was still funding insurrectionists, the company offered up some convoluted gibberish about how it was more ethically policing its PAC spending:
“We have been assured that none of the employee PAC?s contributions will go toward the reelection of any of those members of Congress,? Balmoris said. ?Any future contributions to multi-candidate PACs will require such consistency with the policy suspending individual contributions.”
Six months later, when a reporter tries to press AT&T on the fact it continues to fund insurrectionists, it just goes radio silent:
“Six months later, AT&T is charting a very different path. In August, new FEC disclosures reveal, AT&T donated $15,000 each to the National Republican Congressional Committee (NRCC) and National Republican Senatorial Committee (NRSC). These donations will support the reelection of every Republican objector running for reelection. Popular Information contacted AT&T and asked whether, as it had pledged in March, it had secured a commitment that none of the funds it donated to the NRCC or NRSC would support Republican objectors. This time, the company did not respond.”
In short, AT&T funded a bunch of politicians who filled the public’s head with propaganda and bullshit, resulting in a violent if clumsy attempt to steal an election. Now AT&T doesn’t want to talk about it, and hopes that if it stays quiet about it, the storm will pass. And they’re probably right, given the broader press’ ongoing tendency to normalize what happened earlier this year (largely because they don’t want to offend leak sources and advertisers). Which, of course, all but guarantees that, sooner or later, the same bullshit is going to play out all over again, potentially with more calamitous results.