- Mitch McConnell slammed big companies for “taking cues from the Outrage-Industrial Complex” on voting.
- A number of major corporations have spoken out or taken action over Georgia’s new voting law.
- McConnell said that “businesses must not use economic blackmail to spread disinformation” on voting.
- See more stories on Insider’s business page.
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell blasted large companies and corporations for fueling a campaign to “mislead and bully the American people” about voting laws in a scathing Monday statement.
A number of major corporations both based within and outside of the state of Georgia have spoken out to criticize a major new voting law in the state.
The nearly 100-page Election Integrity Act was passed along party lines and signed by Gov. Brian Kemp, who defended the bill passed by Republicans as an effort to fix problems from the last election. The expansive legislation affects nearly every aspect of Georgia’s voting and election system, touching on everything from absentee and early voting, ballot drop boxes, runoffs, the composition and authority of the State Elections Board, and restrictions on volunteers delivering food and water to voters waiting in lines.
McConnell and other conservatives have criticized major corporations for adopting Democrats’ misleading claims about what the bill actually does and comparing it, as President Joe Biden did, to “Jim Crow on steroids.”
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“Our private sector must stop taking cues from the Outrage-Industrial Complex. Americans do not need or want big business to amplify disinformation or react to every manufactured controversy with frantic left-wing signaling,” McConnell said.
McConnell scolded “parts of the private sector” for “dabbling in behaving like a woke parallel government,” warning that the companies “will invite serious consequences if they become a vehicle for far-left mobs to hijack our country from outside the constitutional order.”
He added: “Businesses must not use economic blackmail to spread disinformation and push bad ideas that citizens reject at the ballot box.”
McConnell lost his job as Senate majority leader due to Democrats winning back two US Senate seats in Georgia in a pair of dual January 5 runoffs, giving Democrats 50-50 control of the Senate with Vice President Kamala Harris as the tie-breaking vote.
After pressure from activists and Democrats in the state, a number of large companies based in Georgia have spoken out against the law.
Delta’s CEO Ed Bastian reversed course after initially releasing a statement tepidly praising the legislature’s work on the bill, later calling the legislation “unacceptable” and “based on a lie”
The CEO of Coca-Cola, another major company based in Atlanta, issued a statement saying: “we want to be crystal clear and state unambiguously that we are disappointed in the outcome of the Georgia voting legislation.”
Notably, many of the companies and CEOs who spoke out have only issued vague statements decrying voter suppression and emphasizing their commitment to democracy, with few listing objections to specific provisions of the bill. Microsoft’s Brad Smith singled out new regulations and limits on ballot drop boxes (which did not exist in Georgia before 2020 and are now codified into state law), reducing the window to request absentee ballots, and banning most out-of-precinct provisional ballots from being counted.
The Major League Baseball organization took the most drastic step yet of any big business by pulling the 2021 All-Star Game out of Georgia, citing the new voting law. It is unclear where the flagship game will be held instead.
Sports leagues have previously wielded their economic might against state laws they find objectionable in the past decade. In 2016, the NCAA pulled all its scheduled championship events from North Carolina over the state legislature passing a bill targeting its transgender residents.
McConnell also called out Biden for repeatedly misrepresenting the bill’s provisions around early voting hours. Biden’s repeated false claim that the bill ends voting at 5 pm earned him a Four Pinocchio rating from the Washington Post’s fact-checker.
“It’s jaw-dropping to see powerful American institutions not just permit themselves to be bullied, but join in the bullying themselves,” McConnell said. “There is no consistent or factual standard being applied here.”
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