Republican donors targeted by Lincoln Project as riot hearing begins

Republican donors targeted by Lincoln Project as riot hearing begins
Blackstone, Koch Industries and Cigna accused of supporting ‘the very structure that led to the murderous violence on January 6’

Republican donors have been targeted for their ties to lawmakers who allegedly supported the 6 January insurrection on the US Capitol, as the House committee into that day began.

In an ad from the anti-Trump nonprofit The Lincoln Project on Tuesday, high profile donors including Koch Industries, Cigna, AT&T, and R.J. Reynolds were named for their support of the Republican party

The ad alleged that CEOs and corporations of America’s biggest firms “helped finance the very structure that led to the murderous violence on January 6”, after many within the party furthered Mr Trump’s “Big Lie” about the election in the weeks before the riot.

“Who funds the politicians trying to cover up the assault on America’s Capitol?” the advert from The Lincoln Project asks, after showing footage of the Capitol riot and the words “you’re going to die tonight”, which rioters allegedly told a Capitol police officer.

It also featured former president Donald Trump saying that rioters were “hugging and kissing the guards, you know, they had great relationships”. Five people including a police officer died in the events of that day.

Stephen Schwarzman, the CEO of Blackstone, was named in the advert for donating $40 million (£28m) to Mr Trump, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell and Republicans who allegedly allowed the Capitol riot to happen.

It added that he “wasn’t the only industry leader who contributed to the authoritarian GOP, he is just the first we’ve named,” before naming Ike Perlmutter, the chairman of Marvel, among others.

Republicans had blocked a bipartisan committee into 6 January, which led to the smaller House select committee being formed by Democrats, which got underway on Tuesday with members of law enforcement giving testimony about “a medieval battle” with the former president’s supporters inside Congress.

Democrats also accuse Republicans of rewriting history by downplaying the deaths of five individuals and the hundreds injured that day, as well as the threat to the country’s democracy.

A spokesperson for Blackstone and Mr Schwarzman told The Independent that “The claims in this advertisement are 100 percent false. Steve made it crystal clear in a November public statement long before the January Electoral College certification that Joe Biden won the election. This was followed by a deeply personal statement from Steve expressing his horror and disgust at the appalling insurrection that followed President Trump’s remarks on January 6.”

“Steve and President Trump have not spoken in a year – the period when the controversy over the election occurred.”

“Blackstone has never had a corporate PAC or made corporate donations to political candidates. Of the 130 Blackstone employees who gave to a presidential candidate 97 percent gave to Biden.”

AT&T said it had not contributed to the re-election campaigns of individual members of Congress who voted to object to the certification of Electoral College votes on 6 January through its federal employee PAC.

Marvel and Mr Perlmutter, as well as Koch Industries, Cigna, and RJ Reynolds have also been approached for comment on The Lincoln Project ad.

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