Dollars vs. Democracy Scorecard: exposing the hypocrisy of corporate America

by Charlie Cray

July 22, 2021

Corporations must stop funding politicians who sponsor legislation designed to disenfranchise voters and silence protest—and instead support solutions for our democracy.

© Tim Aubry / Greenpeace

I’m sure you’ve heard large corporations trying to capitalize on the movement for racial justice and brand themselves as ‘woke’ over the past year. But their campaign contributions tell a different story.

In the wake of social injustice, like attacks on voting rights in Georgia, and the brutal murder of George Floyd, we witnessed plenty of companies rushing to social media to show their support, but the funds spilling out of their PACs tell a different story. For example, of the 100 companies that endorsed the “We Stand for Democracy” statement opposing “any discriminatory legislation or measures that restrict or prevent any eligible voter from having an equal and fair opportunity to cast a ballot,” 12 contributed to the sponsors of 43 anti-voter bills we analyzed. We decided to take a deeper look at this trend as more anti-voter bills continued to be introduced.  

This week we launched our Dollars vs. Democracy Scorecard to expose which companies really support fair, transparent and accessible elections, and which ones flunked our democracy.

The recent wave of state legislative attacks is designed to make it harder for many to vote, especially voters of color who live in communities that are often hit first and worst by voter suppression and climate-related extreme weather events. But they are not alone: When it comes to a healthy environment and healthy democracy, everyone has a stake. And that’s why it’s important that everyone does their part to defend democracy.  

Which companies don’t want you to vote?

We wrote nearly 200 companies covered in our Dollars vs. Democracy: Corporations and the Attack on Voting Rights and Peaceful Protest and invited them to clarify their stance and support the two key pieces of federal legislation that would preempt many of these attacks on voting rights and strengthen our democracy and system of government in other ways — the For the People Act (H.R. 1/S. 1) and the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act (H.R. 4). 

Most companies did not make the grade when it comes to doing the bare minimum needed to actually “protect democracy” like so many companies pledged to do.  

To determine each company’s ranking, Greenpeace reviewed their campaign finance records, public statements, and responses to our letter. Among other things, we checked to see if companies have endorsed the For the People Act (S. 1), for example by signing the “Corporate America for Democracy” pledge. We also checked to see if they’ve expressed their support for the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act (H.R. 4) by, for example, signing the Business Letter to Congress. Another key measure of their sincerity is whether they have publicly indicated their difference with the U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s opposition to the For The People Act (H.R. 1/ S. 1). If you want to check out our methodology, check out the scorecard here.

Why the Chamber?

The U.S. Chamber has a long history of funding voter suppression efforts — including its ongoing lobbying efforts against the For the People Act. Companies can easily hide behind the pretext of supporting the Chamber for other purposes, but that doesn’t absolve them from leveraging support to kill the most important democracy and civil rights bill to come along in a generation.

We’ve been at it with the Chamber for a while now! We recently joined activists at the Moechella Juneteenth Celebration in Washington, DC at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce headquarters near Black Lives Matter Plaza. Where we exposed them for blocking Black votes and demanded its members break from the Chamber unless it changes its opposition to the For The People Act (S. 1).

If passed, S. 1 would strengthen our democracy by ensuring that we all have the freedom to vote safely. The For the People Act would preempt many of the anti-voter measures passed across the country that disproportionately affect voters of color, including Black, Latinx, and Indigenous communities. The U.S. Chamber is lobbying Congress to block the bill, which is why activists are demanding that the Chamber “Stop Blocking Black Votes.” Watch Greenpeace Democracy Campaign director, Folabi Olagbaju share some words at the rally!

You’ve been teleconned

But that’s not all. We know to win this we have to approach these companies from many sides. Some of the highest campaign contributors to the lawmakers introducing these dangerous bills are the telecommunications companies you are likely giving your hard-earned cash to, month after month: AT&T, Verizon, and Comcast.

Learn how these corporations are hurting our democracy.

Take action

The answer is simple: companies must stop funding politicians who sponsor legislation designed to disenfranchise voters and silence protest, and instead support solutions for our democracy.

Join us in letting these companies know that it’s time to fight for the people, not polluters. Demand these telecom giants stop contributing to legislation that disenfranchises voters and criminalizes protest!

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We only have a handful of years left to reduce the power of fossil fuel companies polluting our communities and democratic systems before rocketing past climate thresholds and finding ourselves at a catastrophic point of no return — and we can’t act unless we first fix our broken democracy.

Charlie Cray

By Charlie Cray

Charlie Cray is a senior research specialist at Greenpeace USA. He specializes in corporations & democracy, GMOs, toxics and fracking.

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