May 2023

The Fortune 100 is Funding Florida’s Anti-Democratic Lawmakers

Accountable.US is spotlighting bad actors that are helping to undermine our democracy amid a full-scale assault on our fundamental rights. This newsletter series is part of Accountable.US’ American Democracy Scorecard project that graded all Fortune 100 companies on their behavior involving critical democracy issues – and found two-thirds are failing to do their part.

While election denialism remains a threat across the nation, Florida has become a hub for increasingly “authoritarian” and “antidemocratic politics” since the attack on our Capitol. 

In the lead-up to the 2022 midterms, federal officials found that Governor Ron DeSantis and Republican state officials had been using tactics to intentionally target Black voters – including a law limiting ballot drop boxes and mail-in voting. 

Today, DeSantis continues to ramp up his anti-democratic agenda – including voter intimidation efforts like establishing an “Election Police Force,” censoring discussions about race and gender in public schools, and limiting investment decisions made by state and local governments in Florida.

Yet, DeSantis and Florida Republicans’ damage to democracy hasn’t stopped corporations from investing in the state’s far-right lawmakers. Fortune 100 companies contributed over $2.9 million to Florida’s state and federal anti-democracy legislators during the 2022 election cycle.

While many Americans stood up to election deniers in 2022, our democracy is not immune to the anti-democratic threats coming out of Tallahassee. 

Will the Fortune 100 continue to reward the behavior of Florida’s MAGA lawmakers? Or will they help defeat the spread of extremism by fighting for their customers’ and shareholders’ values?

By The Numbers

During the 2022 election cycle, Fortune 100 companies contributed:

  • $2,935,559.39 to state and federal anti-democracy legislators from the state of Florida.

  • $1,375,375 to federal lawmakers from Florida who opposed federal voting rights legislation.

  • $396,500 to federal lawmakers from Florida who supported objections to certifying the 2020 election.

  • $1.4 million to Florida state officials who voted for anti-voter legislation.

During the 2022 election cycle, key staff from Fortune 100 companies contributed at least $145,015.58 to anti-democracy federal legislators from Florida.

Florida-based Fortune 500 companies decreased their overall contributions to election objectors in Congress by only
2.7% between the 2020 and 2022 election cycles, far less than the 9.9% decrease from corporations and trade groups across all states.

Corporate Spotlight: Publix

As Florida faces the threat of Gov. DeSantis and MAGA Republicans’ efforts to squash voting rights, Publix is helping feed campaign cash to dangerous anti-democracy legislators in the Sunshine State and beyond.

As the state’s sole Fortune 100 company, the Florida supermarket giant earned an F grade on our American Democracy Scorecard after contributing at least $223,700 to federal and state anti-democracy legislators during the 2022 cycle, including: 

  • $38,500 to members of Congress who opposed federal voting rights legislation.

  • $18,000 to the members of Congress who objected to certifying the results of the 2020 presidential election.

  • and $126,500 to state officials who voted for anti-voter legislation.

Publix’s anti-democratic spending may have been inspired by the company’s own heiress: Julie Fancelli, daughter of Publix founder George Jenkins. After the 2020 election, Fancelli offered as much as $3 million to bus protestors to the Capitol on January 6, 2021 – making her the “largest publicly known donor” supporting the rallies.

Now, as Publix’s employees in Florida and across the nation face MAGA lawmakers’ ongoing efforts to undermine their votes and voices, the company has the chance to stand up to the authoritarian leaders in their own backyard. Will they use their profits to purchase influence or protect our democracy?

In The News

Miami Herald | PAC money to electoral count objectors fell 10 percent

Dallas Morning News | Texas companies resumed 2022 PAC donations to Jan. 6 election objectors they had cut off

NPR | Florida Governor Signs Law That Limits Voting By Mail And Ballot Drop Boxes

The Atlantic | Rule by Law in Florida

Fortune | Voting rights still hang in the balance on the 58th anniversary of Selma’s ‘Bloody Sunday’ march—and corporations are oddly silent

Take Action

The American Democracy Scorecard website provides a wealth of information about what America’s companies are doing to uphold or undermine democracy, as well as tools for sharing this information and making your voice heard.

Tell Publix’s CEO Todd Jones and other corporate leaders what you think about their commitment to democracy.


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