A group of seven House Republicans said Wednesday they would no longer accept donations from big tech companies or their top executives, a sign of the growing distance between some conservatives and big business.
Lawmakers said in a letter that the companies curtailed the reach of conservative voices by citing bans on the Parler chat app after it was used by participants in the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol and abusing its market power.
“These monopolies have shown that corporate tyranny can threaten personal freedom as much as government tyranny,” the letter said. All but one legislator are members of the judicial committee, which oversees antitrust issues from technology companies.
The pledge was led by Colorado representative Ken Buck, senior Republican on the judiciary committee’s antitrust subcommittee. Mr Buck said last month that he would not accept any money from tech giants’ political action committees.
Right-wing lawmakers have been attacking Google, Twitter and Facebook for years, accusing companies of wrongly removing content posted by conservatives. Legislators have also accused Amazon and Apple of suppressing competition. In recent weeks, some conservatives have turned on other big corporations – traditionally their allies in efforts to deregulate the economy – that have opposed their positions on voting rights and other issues.
Five of the lawmakers received donations from the corporate policy action committees of Google, Facebook and Amazon in the last election cycle. Representatives of Chip Roy from Texas, Gregory Steube from Florida, and Andy Biggs from Arizona, who signed the pledge, received a combined donation of US $ 3,500. South Carolina representative Ralph Norman (not Oklahoma, as reported here) received $ 1,000 from the Amazon Political Committee.
But it’s also possible that some of the lawmakers who signed the pledge may not have to refuse donations in the near future. Amazon and Google have frozen donations to lawmakers who voted against confirming the election results after the January 6 attack. Facebook paused all political donations.
Mr. Steube and Mr. Norman as well as representatives Dan Bishop from North Carolina and Burgess Owens from Utah, All objected to the results of the presidential election.
Mr Bishop and Mr Owens both signed the pledge despite receiving no money from corporate political committees in the last election cycle.