Reaction After U.S. Capitol Mob Attack Complicates New Job for Florida Senator Rick Scott

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Much of corporate America is taking sides after a violent mob of President Donald Trump’s supporters attacked the U.S. Capitol last week. Major U.S. companies are pledging to cut future political donations from lawmakers who voted against certifying Joe Biden’s presidential victory the same day.

Marriot, Blue Cross Blue Shield, Best Buy, Disney and NBC’s parent company Comcast have announced they will cut funds to more than 100 lawmakers who voted against certifying the election results - including Sen. Rick Scott and South Florida members of Congress Mario Diaz-Balart and Carlos Gimenez. 

Sen. Scott is now the leader of the National Republican Senatorial Committee, the political fundraising arm of Senate Republicans. He released a video this week promoting his new role. 

“Some pundits are already saying, ‘Oh it’s a difficult map. It’s going to be hard to retake the Senate.’ That’s a bunch of nonsense,” said Sen. Scott in the video. “I now have to figure out how to raise roughly a gazillion dollars to retake the U.S. Senate, to stop the march of socialism, and the destruction of the American dream.”

That job will be much more difficult after the Capitol attack and the corporate reaction that followed. 

Sen. Scott voted against certifying Pennsylvania electoral college votes. He didn’t like how Pennsylvania’s governor and supreme court expanded absentee voting – without going through the state legislature, where voting laws normally pass. Challenges to Pennsylvania’s actions have all held up in court. 

Sen. Scott did not respond to a request for comment but told the Washington Post earlier this week, “I’m sure everybody has different reasons for why they voted the way they did, but I want to get these election laws fixed.”

Some of Scott’s major donors are now pausing donations. His top donors are detailed online at the Federal Election Commission and the Center for Responsive Politics. 

Chris Johnson from the defense manufacturer Raytheon tells NBC 6 they “have paused all political action committee contributions to reflect on the current environment and determine appropriate next steps.” 

“We don’t condone violence of any kind,” wrote Margaret Smith from Home Depot. “While the PAC hasn’t made any decisions on the next cycle, as always, it will evaluate future donations against a number of factors.” 

ON CNBC, Ken Langone, co-founder of Home Depot and major GOP donor, said he felt "betrayed" by the events surrounding the Capitol riot. 

The CEO of Bank of America, Brian Moynihan, wrote through a spokesperson, “For upcoming elections, we will take into account the appalling events of January 6 before making any PAC decisions regarding those members.” 

“We strongly condemn violence and look forward to a peaceful transfer of power,” said Michal Brower from State Farm Insurance. “In light of recent events, the State Farm Federal PAC made a decision to suspend all contributions. The PAC will continue to evaluate this decision and re-examine the process used to support candidates.”

Jim Burke from technology company L3Harris and Shelly Eckenroth from Select Medical had no comment. 

Major Sen. Scott’s corporate donors Shutts & Bowen, Nextera Energy - owner of Florida Power and Light, private prison and mental health company The GEO Group, and the tax counting company Ryan LLC, have not responded to a request for comment. 

“A lot of these corporate executives are saying ‘we don’t want our brand associated with those who have made this decision.’ Ultimately their brands could suffer,” said NBC 6 political analyst Carlos Curbelo. 

According to Curbelo, corporate money can account for 25% to 40% of all donations in some congressional races.

“I’m sure there are a lot of principled corporate leaders out there but they are also looking out for their interest and their bottom line. They don’t want to be associated with what many, many Americans, the majority for sure, consider a violation of our democratic norms. A violation of these basic ground rules,” Curbelo said.

Some of the fundraising Scott will do in the weeks ahead will likely go to help his fellow Florida Senator Marco Rubio in his reelection effort in 2022. Sen. Scott will also try to win back the Senate seats Republicans lost in Arizona and Georgia. 

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