Grassroots Groups Call on Boeing to Cut off Donations to Election Objectors

After a three-month pause in its political giving last year, Boeing has quietly become one of the top business PAC donors to the Republican members of Congress who voted to overturn the election results.

Grassroots Groups Call on Boeing to Cut off Donations to Election Objectors
A Boeing Co. production plant in Everett, Washington, April 2021

Aerospace giant Boeing, one of the largest recipients of federal contracting dollars, is facing pressure from grassroots groups in Washington State to stop funding the members of Congress who voted to overturn the 2020 presidential election results. 

The Washington nonprofit Fix Democracy First, which advocates for reforms to curb the influence of money in politics, and the local group Seattle Supports Democracy have launched a petition campaign calling on Boeing to halt its PAC donations to the 147 federal lawmakers who backed objections on Jan. 6 to certifying the Electoral College results of Arizona, Pennsylvania, or both.

The petition, addressed to company president David L. Calhoun and the Boeing Board of Directors, invokes Boeing’s statement a week after the Jan. 6 melee at the Capitol Building, when it said it would “carefully evaluate future contributions to ensure that we support those who not only support our company, but also uphold our country’s most fundamental principles.” After a three-month pause in giving, however, Boeing’s corporate PAC recommenced donations to many of the Republican members of Congress who voted to sustain challenges to the election results.

The petition has been signed by over two dozen local groups from Washington and Illinois, including the Washington State Poor People’s Campaign, the Seattle chapter of Indivisible, and the nonpartisan Reform for Illinois. Boeing’s corporate headquarters is in Chicago.

“Boeing is a big part of the community in Washington State and the country,” said Fix Democracy First’s executive director Cindy Black. “They rely on tax incentives, government contracts, and greatly benefit from our people and resources. They need to defend democracy and respect the election results, as they originally stated. They can do this by not donating and supporting those members of Congress who want to undermine the democratic process.”

The petition organizers are also submitting local letters to the editor and say they plan to run print ads in the Seattle alt-weekly The Stranger and the Chicago Tribune. 

The groups are requesting a response from Boeing by April 29, the date of the virtual Annual Meeting of Shareholders. The petition was delivered via certified mail to the Boeing board and government affairs office, Black said.

The petition says that after Boeing’s statement, in which it “strongly condemns the violence, lawlessness and destruction that took place in the U.S. Capitol on January 6, 2021,” the company made $244,000 in PAC donations to the election objectors’ campaigns. Boeing’s PAC also donated to the joint fundraising committees of election objectors during that period, like $12,500 given to that of Republican Whip Rep. Steve Scalise, and to Republican Party groups, like $105,000 donated to the National Republican Congressional Committee, which works to re-elect representatives who voted to sustain the challenges on Jan. 6.

Boeing was the fourth-largest recipient of federal contract funding in 2020, according to Bloomberg, being awarded $23 billion worth of prime contracts. Its work in the defense industry makes up more than half of Boeing’s total revenue, according to figures from Defense News, and in 2020 its total revenue from defense was a whopping $32.4 billion.