Over the weekend, Toyota became the latest company to be targeted for donating to Republican "election objectors." But the automaker isn't taking the heat lying down.
In an article published Sunday by Axios, reporter Lachlan Markay chastised the Japanese automaker for donating money to a range of Republican lawmakers who on Jan. 6 objected to certifying President Joe Biden's Electoral College victory.
The article pointed out that based on data compiled by the liberal watchdog group Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW), Toyota "gave $55,000 to 37 GOP objectors this year," outspending other companies by a "substantial margin."
"Toyota gave more than twice as much — and to nearly five times as many members of Congress — as the No. 2 company on the list," Markay noted.
He was also keen to point out that the donations aided lawmakers who remain "deeply enmeshed in the pro-Trump conspiracy theories that fueled the Capitol attack."
While Markay's article represented itself as a simple listing of facts, in reality, it gave a voice to a partisan smear campaign against companies who dare to give to conservative legislators.
CREW's intention in publishing the data was clear. In the report, the group labeled the entire Republican Party as the "Sedition Caucus" and characterized the corporate donors to Republicans as "sacrificing democratic government for access and influence."
In a tweet, CREW bluntly stated: "Don't buy a Toyota."
Don't buy a Toyota. But they're not the only corporate funders of the Sedition Caucus. Find out who else to boyco… https://t.co/qEXWAE4OXI— Citizens for Ethics (@Citizens for Ethics)1624903259.0
Sure enough, CREW's boycott message was immediately received and regurgitated by the cancel mob online.
But in response to the hit piece, Toyota has chosen to stand its ground and not cave to pressure — at least for now.
The company replied to Axios' request for comment, stating plainly, "We do not believe it is appropriate to judge members of Congress solely based on their votes on the electoral certification."
Besides, the auto company noted, it did in fact choose not to donate to certain lawmakers over concerns that they undermined the legitimacy of elections. Though Toyota did not specify as to which lawmakers were affected.
"Based on our thorough review, we decided against giving to some members who, through their statements and actions, undermine the legitimacy of our elections and institutions," the automaker stated.
Curiously, Axios failed to post Toyota's full statement in its coverage, including important context that frames the company's purpose and perspective in donating to politicians.
In response to inquiry, a Toyota spokesperson sent TheBlaze a copy of the statement, which is posted below, in full:
Toyota's PAC, by design, is bipartisan in nature and we contribute equally to the Democratic and Republican parties. Toyota supports candidates based on their position on issues that are important to the auto industry and the company. We do not believe it is appropriate to judge members of Congress solely based on their votes on the electoral certification. Based on our thorough review, we decided against giving to some members who, through their statements and actions, undermine the legitimacy of our elections and institutions.
In the first portion, Toyota notes that it contributes "equally" to Democratic and Republican politicians and that it is primarily concerned with a lawmaker's stance on "issues that are important to the auto industry and the company."
Toyota is an auto company, after all, so it seems reasonable that its contributions would serve to advance company interests and not an unrelated social or political cause.