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Corporate boycotts could ding coffers of Perry, Smucker campaigns

Logan Hullinger
York Dispatch
Republican incumbent candidates Scott Perry, left, and Lloyd Smucker greet each other during an appearance by Vice President Mike Pence who rallied at the Lancaster Airport in Lititz Wednesday, Oct. 24, 2018. Bill Kalina photo

U.S. Reps. Scott Perry and Lloyd Smucker could have lost the financial support of several top corporate donors this week as a growing number of influential firms have announced they would withhold future cash from lawmakers who attempted to overturn the results of the presidential election. 

Super PACs associated with some of the country's most politically active corporations — such as AT&T, JPMorgan Chase, Comcast and Marriott International — have announced they would no longer donate to the campaigns of lawmakers who opposed the certification of electors for President-elect Joe Biden or who falsely claimed the election was "stolen" from President Donald Trump.

Both Perry, R-Carroll Township, and Smucker, R-Lancaster, on Jan. 6 opposed counting Pennsylvania's electors just hours after a pro-Trump mob stormed the U.S. Capitol. 

The suspension of political donations from moneyed corporate PACs could have a real effect on future elections should they continue for any meaningful amount of time, said Vinny Cannizzaro, director of The Arthur J. Glatfelter Institute for Public Policy at York College.

“If the party and lawmakers aren’t getting donations for a year or a year and a half, that takes us into a whole new election cycle that could really sway the direction of the country and who's getting elected or not,” he said.

More:Wall Street distances itself from Trump, GOP after riots

More:Perry to protesters calling for his resignation: 'No'

Since he first ran for Congress in 2012, Perry's campaign has received nearly $130,000 from the political action committees of firms that have now pledged to withhold future contributions.

Those include Comcast and AT&T, which contributed $20,000 combined in the 2020 election cycle alone, according to OpenSecrets.org, which tracks campaign contributions.

Since Smucker's first congressional run in 2016, he has received roughly $70,000 from corporations now pledging to withhold funding. In the 2020 election cycle, he received $10,000 from Comcast and $7,000 from AT&T, according to OpenSecrets. Neither Perry's aides nor Smucker's aides responded Tuesday to requests for comment.

A pro-Trump mob gathers in front of the U.S. Capitol Building on January 6, 2021, in Washington, D.C. Insurrectionists stormed the Capitol, breaking windows and clashing with police officers. (Jon Cherry/Getty Images/TNS)

In total, Comcast's PAC has contributed at least $25,000 to Smucker's campaign war chest, according to federal campaign finance reports.

Smucker has also received at least $13,500 from Blue Cross Blue Shield's PAC and $13,000 from AT&T's since 2016, according to campaign finance reports.

“(The suspensions) are like a litmus test to receive donations,” said Cannizzaro. “It’s going to force people to think about the direction of the party and what elected officials will be supporting or not.”

All told, the political coffers of 147 Republican lawmakers stand to take a hit after last week's failed attempt to override the voters.

Races for Perry's seat, especially over the past two cycles, have been significantly more competitive than Smucker's and garnered more national interest. 

Since 2012, Perry's campaign has received $39,500 from Comcast's PAC, according to OpenSecrets.

In addition, AT&T's PAC has contributed $29,000 throughout his tenure. PACs representing Blue Cross Blue Shield and Amazon, which are also withholding funding, have contributed $25,700 and $20,000, respectively. 

BAE Systems Inc., which operates a plant in West Manchester Township, is among those that have pledged to suspend political donations to lawmakers who contested the election. BAE's PAC contributed $2,000 to Perry's campaign in the 2020 election, according to data from the Federal Election Commission.

It is unclear in some cases how long the donation suspensions will last. While some, such as Citigroup, offered a time element, other companies have been vague in their statements. 

Last week's insurrection left five dead, including one Capitol police officer. 

— Logan Hullinger can be reached at lhullinger@yorkdispatch.com or via Twitter at @LoganHullYD.