Eli Lilly, Cigna, and PWC donated to Republican election objectors after pledging not to, a report says

Eli Lilly, Cigna, and PWC donated to Republican election objectors after pledging not to, a report says
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  • Dozens of big companies pledged to stop donating to the 147 Republican election objectors known as the "Sedition Caucus."

  • But some companies appear to have broken their promises, research by Popular Information suggests.

  • Accounting giant PWC was named as one of them, having donated $124,000 to 27 objectors, per Popular Information.

Three major US companies including Eli Lilly and PWC have donated directly to Republican election objectors despite pledging not to do so, according to Popular Information.

After a mob of pro-Trump supporters stormed the US Capitol on January 6, 2021, dozens of top US companies scrambled to cut ties with the 147 GOP lawmakers who voted against certifying Joe Biden's election victory – a group that has been referred to as the Sedition Caucus.

But Fortune 500 companies and leading trade groups have since donated more than $8.1 million to members of the caucus, according to nonpartisan watchdog Accountable.US. Some of the companies had previously pledged to end donations, per Popular Information.

Accounting giant PWC said after the January 6 siege that it had suspended all political contributions to the election objectors. But the company's PAC has since given $124,000 to 27 of the objectors, Popular Information said, citing Federal Election Commission (FEC) filings.

PWC has also given $30,000 to both the National Republican Senatorial Committee (NRSC) and the National Republican Congressional Committee (NRCC), multi-candidate committees that fund lawmakers including members of the Sedition Caucus, FEC filings show.

Pharmaceutical company Eli Lilly, which also promised to cut donations to the objectors, later gave a total of $42,500 to 16 of them, as well as $15,000 to the NRSC and $15,000 to the the NRCC, Popular Information reported, citing FEC records.

"LillyPAC supports candidates across the political spectrum who understand the value of a vibrant pharmaceutical ecosystem to address unmet patient needs," an Eli Lilly spokesperson told Insider. "Contributions from LillyPAC will continue to be in line with Lilly's purpose to make life better."

Health insurer Cigna said in January it would pause contributions to lawmakers "who encouraged or supported violence, or otherwise hindered a peaceful transition of power." It later gave $30,000 to members of the Sedition Caucus and $15,000 each to the NRSC and NRCC, Popular Information reported.

Cigna told Insider in May that its revised PAC policy only applied to donations to lawmakers "who incited violence or actively sought to obstruct the peaceful transition of power through words and other efforts. Congressional votes are, by definition, part of the peaceful transition of power outlined by law, and therefore, we believe are not the appropriate indicator for the application of our policy."

Cigna added that its PAC remains nonpartisan and "focused on the common concerns of the employees who fund it."

Energy company Exelon donated $15,000 altogether to six objectors after pausing donations to these lawmakers while it reviewed its giving policies, Popular Information said.

"Going forward, we continue to believe we can more effectively advocate on behalf of our customers and communities by engaging with policymakers in areas where we find common ground," an Exelon spokesperson told Insider. "As part of that process, we continue to evaluate our giving and in instances where we find that a candidate's positions – when considered in total – are not aligned with our values or our business priorities, we won't hesitate to withhold our support."

Fifty-two companies that said they would pause all political donations ultimately restarted donations to the objectors, Popular Information reported.

A further 26 companies, including KPMG, Walmart, Dell, and Google, who said they'd either stop funding the 147 lawmakers or pause all donations, haven't donated directly to individual objectors but have donated to committees like the NRSC and the NRCC, Popular Information said.

Communications giant AT&T said in January that it would halt contributions to lawmakers who voted against Biden's certification, but in February it donated $5,000 to the House Conservatives Fund, which fundraises for the Republican Study Committee, itself made up mainly of election objectors. The company has since donated a further $15,000 to each of the NRCC and NRSC, FEC filings show.

AT&T, PWC, KPMG, Walmart, Dell, and Google did not respond to Insider's requests for comment.

Some companies have stuck to their promises. Popular Information reported that 79 big US companies including Allstate, Nike, and Walgreens didn't donate directly to the objectors, or to committees that count them among their members.

Seven major US companies have pledged not to donate to Republican election objectors in 2022.

Editor's note: A previous version of this story, citing Popular Information's research, stated that S&P Global and eBay had each donated to one Republican election objector. Popular Information later updated its research to remove references to these companies. Insider's report has been updated to reflect these changes.

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