Legum and Surgey: Google is funding voter suppression efforts

On May 17, independent journalists Judd Legum of Popular Information and Nick Surgey of the watchdog publication Documented reported on Google's participation in, and financial contributions to, ongoing GOP voter suppression initiatives. This reporting was a joint effort of both reporters and both newsletters, and is presently available to read for free on both newsletter sites.

Particularly noteworthy in this story is that these funds aren't coming from Google's PAC - which technically is funded by employee donations and not directly by Google - but rather are direct contributions from Google's own funds. Google isn't the only company funding anti-democracy efforts in this way -- the Legum/Surgey article mentions both Deloitte and Citigroup, and previous articles on this topic, such as this one from the Huffington Post, have called out an even longer list of corporate anti-democracy funding.

Below I'll paste some extracts from the Legum/Surgey research article, with links to both newsletters.

- Bruce


Google, Deloitte, and Citigroup quietly collaborate with GOP group pushing voter suppression
Judd Legum and Nick Surgey, May 17, 2021

Several large corporations that have recently issued public statements supporting voting rights — including Google, Deloitte, and Citigroup — are also funding and collaborating with a top Republican group advocating for new voter suppression laws. Internal documents obtained by Popular Information and Documented reveal the corporations participated in a "policy working group" on "election integrity" with the Republican State Leadership Committee (RSLC), a party organization that is actively supporting new voter suppression bills. Participation in the roundtable required a minimum annual contribution of $15,000 to the RSLC.

For example, on March 31, Google's SVP for Global Affairs, Kent Walker tweeted that the company is "concerned about efforts to restrict voting at a local level" and "strongly support[s] the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act."

A week later, Google's State Policy Manager, Joe Dooley, was listed as a participant in a private RSLC policy working group led by the organization's "Election Integrity Committee." The April 6 presentation, obtained by Popular Information and Documented, details an array of proposals to suppress voting, including purging of voting lists, more stringent voter ID requirements, and targeting of voting centers... The meeting was run by Alabama Secretary of State John Merrill (R), who has embraced Trump's lies and conspiracies about election fraud. 

The RSLC presentation deck makes clear that the purpose of restricting voting under the guise of "election integrity" is to elect more Republicans. One slide asserts that Republican control of state legislatures is the "last line of defense for the Republican Party."...

Dooley's participation in the event was secured by a $20,000 donation from Google to the RSLC on February 11. Google also donated $35,000 to the RSLC in 2020. These donations were not from Google's PAC, which is a separate fund of employee contributions, but cash directly from Google's corporate treasury...

The RSLC, which is supported by large contributions from major corporations, has actively supported voter suppression legislation around the country. In Georgia, for example, the RSLC not only supported the legislation that eventually was signed into law but also an earlier draft that would have banned drop boxes and ended no-excuse mail-in voting...


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