Got it. Corporations giving politicians money is good; corporations standing up for voting rights is bad. McConnell didn’t literally say, “Just write the checks and then look the other way while we pass voter-suppression bills,” but that seemed to be the underlying point. McConnell added yesterday, in reference to corporations, “They have political action committees. That’s fine. It’s legal. It’s appropriate. I support that. I’m talking about taking a position on a highly incendiary issue like this and punishing a community or state because you don’t like a particular law they passed. I just think it’s stupid.” By any fair measure, that’s a tough position to take seriously. But just as importantly, the Senate minority leader’s argument that it’s “stupid” for businesses to take a stand on politically provocative issues is at odds with recent history.
No, of course not. Heaven forbid. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., said Tuesday that it is “stupid” for corporations to take stances on divisive political issues but noted that his criticism did not include their political donations. “I’m not talking about political contributions,” he said of his criticism of corporate leaders speaking out against the Republican legislation.
McConnell has spent years crusading in support of the idea that “money is speech,” and to deny Corporate America the right to contribute to candidates and parties would be an outrageous assault on the First Amendment. Corporations, the GOP senator believes, must be encouraged to speak, freely and repeatedly, in the form of generous donations. Yesterday, the Kentucky Republican elaborated on his perspective in striking ways.
There’s no record of McConnell characterizing it as “stupid” at the time. As Rachel noted on the show last night, when Republicans were divided on whether to reauthorize the Voting Rights Act in 2006, a sizable group of corporate giants — including Disney, Coca-Cola, and AT&T — lobbied in support of voting rights.
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