Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) said on Tuesday that recent comments made by Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) urging corporations stay out of politics projected “a whiff of desperation.”
Looks like I’m not alone detecting in Mitch a whiff of desperation — “barking scared”!https://t.co/p9jghVXTrR
— Sheldon Whitehouse (@SenWhitehouse) April 6, 2021
The comments calling out McConnell’s shameless desperation amid the corporate protest over a restrictive new voting law in Georgia, come after the Kentucky Republican offered an about-face on Monday regarding the role of corporations in politics.
“I found it completely discouraging to find a bunch of corporate CEOs getting in the middle of politics,” McConnell said during a press conference in his home state on Monday. “My advice to the corporate CEOs of America is to stay out of politics. Don’t pick sides in these big fights.”
The assertion comes after McConnell has routinely leveraged corporate power for political gain. McConnell’s campaign has for years lined its coffers with corporate donations and even outpaced other candidates in 2020’s election cycle for donations from CEOs of companies on the S&P Index, according to MarketWatch.
The posture from the Kentucky lawmaker also comes after years of fiercely defending the funneling of corporate cash into politics, insisting that businesses have both rights to free speech and a right to boost preferred candidates to influence elections.
McConnell was the plaintiff in a landmark case against the Federal Elections Commission in 2003 challenging campaign finance reform that went to the U.S. Supreme Court and was an outspoken supporter of the 2010 ruling that ultimately defended corporate spending in politics.
Political analysts on Twitter were also quick to point out the hypocrisy:
Unless they're named Koch, Mercer, Adelson… https://t.co/OGdyr19zZu
— @troycoverdale (@troycoverdale) April 6, 2021
In 2020, Mitch McConnell's allied super PAC raised more than any other super PAC in existence — $475 million — from corporate CEOs and even corporations themselves, like Chevron, Mountaire Corp, and Koch Industries https://t.co/LZAFdKPWhF
— Robert Maguire (@RobertMaguire_) April 6, 2021
I’m sure someone has already made this point. But the landmark 2003 Supreme Court case McConnell v. FEC had that name because Mitch McConnell himself filed a lawsuit against federal laws that limited corporations’ ability to spend money influencing elections. https://t.co/YCMozabjmx
— Mark Joseph Stern (@mjs_DC) April 6, 2021
Mitch McConnell can tell corporations to stay out of politics when he refunds all their money.
— Richard Hine (@richardhine) April 6, 2021
No politician in the country examines his actions or statements through the lens of what corporate donors will think more obsessively than Mitch McConnell – this is likely projection https://t.co/QzuZiZG8Mn
— Nicolle Wallace (@NicolleDWallace) April 6, 2021
In a democratic society, business leaders should *definitely* pick sides when one side is trying to subvert democracy. Good for the CEOs who have pushed back against authoritarian efforts rammed through by today's warped GOP. https://t.co/6qkvu8opvJ
— Brian Klaas (@brianklaas) April 6, 2021
From the same crowd that brought you Citizens United and "corporations are people too" https://t.co/AjPnuYntsj
— Jesse Ferguson (@JesseFFerguson) April 6, 2021
Says the guy who just spent four years with his head up the butt of a corporate CEO playing president. https://t.co/GznPRlBl0i
— Hugh Howey (@hughhowey) April 6, 2021