4/14 Warned to Hold Back on Jan. 6

Dear All,

Hundreds of companies and corporate executives—including Amazon, BlackRock, Google, and Warren Buffett—have joined the fight against “any discriminatory legislation” that increases barriers to voting. The statement, which ran as a two-page advertisement in today’s New York Times, “represents the broadest coalition yet to weigh in on the issue, coming after few big companies spoke up before a restrictive voting law passed in Georgia last month.”
 
But there are notable name brands that refused to sign this particular statement. They include Coca-Cola, Delta, Home Depot, JPMorgan Chase, and Walmart. Leadership at some of these businesses have recently put out statements on voting issues or have done internal outreach to employees.
 
While some see the larger campaign against voter suppression as a sign that corporations are ignoring Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell’s warning to “stay out of politics,” some in the U.S. Senate are seeking to punish businesses for supporting voting rights. Senators Ted Cruz, Mike Lee, and Josh Hawley introduced a bill to “end MLB’s special immunity from antitrust laws,” specifically mentioning the league’s decision to move the all-star game from Georgia. It looks like the threats aren’t ending anytime soon.
 
In other Capitol Hill-related news, today reports broke that the Capitol Police “were instructed by their leaders not to use their most aggressive tactics to hold off the mob” during the attack on the Capitol on January 6th. Additional details of the failures in preparation and response on January 6th were revealed in a scathing new report by the agency’s internal investigator.

Here is today’s update:

National Update

Reuters: “U.S. Senate to consider hate crimes bill in potential filibuster test.” By Makini Brice and David Morgan. (April 14, 2021)
“The U.S. Senate will take up hate crime legislation on Wednesday intended to combat violence against Asian Americans during the COVID-19 pandemic, in a potential first major test this Congress of the Senate procedural tool known as the filibuster.”
 
NPR: “What We Know About The Suspect Who Planted Bombs Before The Capitol Riot.” By Tim Mak. (April 14, 2021)
“More than three months after the U.S. Capitol riot, a bomb-maker remains on the loose. A majority of the public’s attention has been focused on the hundreds of people who have been charged for their role on Jan. 6. But the night before, someone committed a different crime: The person placed two explosive devices near the Capitol in Washington, D.C., and that person is still at large.”
 
Politico: “Prosecutors: Oath Keepers appeared to stash Jan. 6 firearms at suburban Comfort Inn.” By Kyle Cheney. (April 13, 2021)
“Members of the Oath Keepers, the paramilitary extremists who played a central role in storming the Capitol on Jan. 6, appeared to stash firearms at a Comfort Inn in Arlington, Va., prosecutors indicated in a late Monday court filing.”
 
Washington Post: “Stacey Abrams’s fight against voter suppression dates back to the Revolution.” By Karen Cook Bell. (April 13, 2021)
Abrams’s efforts embody how Black women have been at the forefront of movements to address inequity, social oppression and freedom for the Black community for centuries. In fact, African American women waged their political battles against slavery using similar forms of grass-roots activism. Black women employed escapes from slavery, petitions to courts for freedom, written testimonies of racial violence and organized protests as strategies to ensure freedom, equality and justice for themselves and their communities. These informal and formal political strategies were important forms of Black women’s political activism.”
 
TIME: “Corporations Struggle to Back Voting Rights and Protect the Bottom Line.” By Philip Elliott. (April 13, 2021)
“The task is inherently impossible. If anyone has figured out how to position a corporation as a socially conscious neighbor who still chases profit while keeping useful lawmakers close without appearing to fund their disinformation, there’s money to be made in D.C. right now.”
 
FiveThirtyEight: “It’s Not Just Georgia: More Than A Dozen Other States Are Trying To Take Power Away From Local Election Officials.” By Nathaniel Rakich. (April 13, 2021)
Importantly “attempts to diminish local control of elections are not limited to Georgia. As part of the hundreds of election restrictions Republican legislators have proposed so far this year, at least 13 other states have passed or are considering bills that would handcuff local election officials (in some cases, literally).”
 
NBC: “Top private law firms plan ‘SWAT teams’ to fight voting restrictions in court.” By Jane C. Timm. (April 12, 2021)
“More than a dozen of the country’s top law firms have committed to join forces to challenge voting restrictions across the country, adding legal might to the corporate pressure campaign opposing Republican-led attempts to overhaul elections in the wake of former President Donald Trump’s loss.”
 
Washington Post (Opinion): “Corporations can’t just bemoan voter restrictions after they become law.” By Jennifer Rubin. (April 12, 2021)
“There may be other steps corporations are willing to sign on to, but it is essential that a critical mass of companies employing hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of employees exercise their immense power at the state and federal levels as responsible corporate citizens.”

  

State Updates


Arizona
 
Bloomberg: “Arizona Says Keep Your Money, Zuckerberg: Ballots & Boundaries.” By Alex Ebert. (April 13, 2021)
“Gov. Doug Ducey (R) said he signed the ban (H.B. 2569) ‘to avoid any possible allegations of wrongdoing.’ Secretary of State Katie Hobbs (D) described it on Twitter as a move ‘to satisfy the conspiracy theorists within his own party.’”
 
Georgia
 
CBS 46: “Fulton County commissioners take legal action against voting law.” By Mea Watkins. (April 13, 2021)
“Fulton County commissioners held a news conference Tuesday to announce legislation to prepare a legal challenge to Senate Bill 202, Georgia’s new controversial voting law.”
 
NPR: “‘Emancipation’ Moving Production Out Of Georgia Due To New Voting Laws.” By Anastasia Tsioulcas. (April 12, 2021)
“Director Antoine Fuqua and actor Will Smith, who together are producing the upcoming 1860s-set film Emancipation, announced Monday that they are moving the film’s production out of Georgia due to the state’s newly enacted voting laws.”
 
Michigan
 
The Guardian: “Michigan executives sign letter opposing voting restriction efforts.” By Sam Levine. (April 14, 2021)
“The letter comes as Michigan’s Republican-controlled legislature is weighing a suite of new voting restrictions in one of the most closely fought battleground states in America. Among the letter’s signatories were the CEOs of the American automotive titans Ford and General Motors, as well as executives from Quicken Loans, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan, and all four major Detroit sports teams.”
 
The Detroit News: “GOP leader sticks with Michigan voting plans despite opposition of GM, Ford.” By Jordyn Grzelweski and Beth LeBlanc. (April 13, 2021)
“The Republican-controlled state Senate is soon expected to start hearings on wide-ranging legislation that would require photo identification to vote in person, ban the unsolicited statewide mass mailing of absentee ballot applications and restrict the hours in which people could drop their ballot in curbside boxes.”
 
Pennsylvania
 
WITF: “Taxpayers footed Pa.’s bill for election lawsuits. Costs went into the millions.” By Julia Agos. (April 14, 2021)
“The cost of Trump’s effort, along with other election-related lawsuits, hit taxpayers. The Pennsylvania Department of State paid law firms over $3.4 million for work on election-related lawsuits filed before and after election day by any group or political party, according to invoices obtained by WITF through a Right-to-Know request. All but one of the suits brought by Trump and his allies, before and after the election, failed. Yet they accounted for more than $1.9 million of the overall cost incurred by DOS.”
 
York Daily Record: “Elections in Pa.: Directors, county officials describe ‘breaking point,’ need for reform.” By Teresa Boeckel. (April 12, 2021)
“Pennsylvania’s election rules remain the same for the 2021 municipal primary, at least for now, despite talks about reform to make it an easier process for both voters and workers.”

Social Media

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