Top Senate Republican slams corporate activism over Georgia law

United States Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, a Republican, criticised companies for taking a stand on social justice issues, warning there would be ‘serious consequences’.

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell's rebuke comes as a number of corporations, including Delta Air Lines Inc and Coca-Cola Co, have criticised Georgia’s new election law, which civil rights groups say serves to disenfranchise Black voters [File: Sarah Silbiger/Bloomberg]

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell on Monday warned corporations of “serious consequences” if they use their economic power in support of what he described as far-left causes, including opposition to a new voting law in Georgia.

“From election law to environmentalism to radical social agendas to the Second Amendment, parts of the private sector keep dabbling in behaving like a woke parallel government,” McConnell said. “Corporations will invite serious consequences if they become a vehicle for far-left mobs to hijack our country from outside the constitutional order.”

McConnell’s rebuke comes as a number of corporations, including Delta Air Lines Inc. and the Coca-Cola Co., have criticized Georgia’s new election law. Major League Baseball moved its All-Star Game from Atlanta, a move endorsed by President Joe Biden.

Some Republicans proposed retaliation against MLB and other companies that criticize Georgia’s law. South Carolina Representative Jeff Duncan said he’ll push to end baseball’s antitrust exemption, a position supported by Senate Republicans Ted Cruz and Mike Lee.

McConnell dismissed comparisons of Georgia’s new voting laws, passed by state Republicans, to Jim Crow-era voting restrictions for African-Americans. He said many states run by Democrats, including New York, have fewer days of early voting than Georgia’s new law requires, and he cited polling showing most Americans favor voter ID requirements.

“Nobody really thinks this current dispute comes anywhere near the horrific racist brutality of segregation,” he said. Democrats are trying to use the controversy to pass a sweeping federal law on voting, he said.

“Our private sector must stop taking cues from the Outrage-Industrial Complex,” McConnell said. “Americans do not need or want big business to amplify disinformation or react to every manufactured controversy with frantic left-wing signaling.”

Democrats say the Georgia law is intended to depress Democratic turnout after Democrats Raphael Warnock and Jon Ossoff won two Senate seats in January. Former President Donald Trump also lost the state to Joe Biden in November’s election, and he unsuccessfully pressured Georgia officials to overturn the result.

Georgia’s new voting law includes a new identification requirement for mail-in ballots instead of signatures, which defenders of the law say will make the system less subjective. Voters have to write down their driver’s license number or provide an alternative.

The law also gives the legislature more power over elections, shrinks the time frame for requesting an absentee ballot and other steps that limit voting access. The law allows drop boxes for mail-in ballots — which were allowed this past year under pandemic rules — but with strict limits on their use.

It would also hold runoff elections just four weeks after the first round of voting. The runoffs that elected Warnock and Ossoff came two months after November’s election.

Source: Bloomberg