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Pro-LGBT Businesses’ PACs Help Bankroll Anti-LGBT U.S. Representatives

By Josh Israel and Adam Peck on August 3, 2012 at 2:34 pm

"Pro-LGBT Businesses’ PACs Help Bankroll Anti-LGBT U.S. Representatives"

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Boeing at the 2005 Seattle Pride Parade

Boeing at the Seattle Pride Parade (credit: Michael Hanscom)

Last month, ThinkProgress identified seven U.S. Representatives — all Republicans — who have sponsored or co-sponsored the most anti-LGBT measures in the current Congress.

Reps. Todd Akin (R-MO), Dan Burton (R-IN), Phil Gingrey (R-GA), Vicky Hartzler (R-MO), Tim Huelskamp (R-KS), Doug Lamborn (R-CO), and Donald Manzullo (R-IL) have received a combined $664,894 from ten business PACs — five from otherwise strongly pro-LGBT companies and five from trade associations — since the start of the 2009-2010 campaign cycle.

Business PAC donors to the Anti-Gay 7

The Human Rights Campaign (HRC) publishes an annual Corporate Equality Index, examining how businesses treat gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender employees. The companies connected to the five business PACs all earned high marks in the 2012 report: Northrop Grumman Corporation earned a 75 score (out of 100), Honeywell International and The Boeing Company each earned 85 scores, and AT&T Inc. and Lockheed Martin Corporation garnered perfect 100 ratings.

While HRC does not evaluate trade associations, the American Bankers Association, American Society of Anesthesiologists, and National Association of Realtors all have non-discrimination policies for LGBT employees.

ThinkProgress reached out to all ten to ask about their donations:

  • A Honeywell spokeswoman explained that while the PAC “supports those who support the policies that are most important to our business and will help the American economy grow and add new American jobs over the long-term” and “focuses solely on business issues, Honeywell has supported those who support the LGBT agenda and has been recognized regularly by the Human Rights Campaign as a ‘Best Place to Work for LGBT Equality.’”
  • A Lockheed Martin spokeswoman noted that the PAC supports “a wide range of federal, state and local political leaders based on their level of interest and commitment in national security, homeland security, and other issues of importance to the corporation including education and technology,” but observed that the current environment, “building innovative teams where everyone feels respected and empowered is absolutely critical.”
  • A Northrup Grumman spokesman said that the company “embraces diversity and inclusion because we know that creating a diverse and inclusive work environment gives us a powerful competitive advantage,” but that its PAC bases its giving to members of Congress only on whether they support national and homeland defense, have either a large number of Northrop Grumman employees or a Northrop Grumman facility in their districts, and whether they request a contribution.
  • A spokeswoman for the American Society of Anesthesiologists noted that the association’s PAC “worries about issues specifically related to the specialty of anesthesiology and does not get into other issues.”
  • A spokeswoman for the National Association of Realtors said that its PAC “supports candidates of any party who understand and champion real estate issues.”

A spokesman for the National Automobile Dealers Association declined to comment on the organization’s PAC contributions. The American Bankers Association and AT&T Inc. did not respond to requests for comment. The National Beer Wholesalers Association did not respond to multiple phone calls and emails requesting comment and asking whether the organization has a non-discrimination policy.

While it is laudable that these businesses have LGBT friendly policies, it is disappointing that their corporate political action committees are hurting the cause of equality by helping to finance the campaigns of anti-gay activists like these seven. It is completely understandable that the principal focus of these business PACs is electing those who support their business interests — but since discrimination is bad for business, it seems that enlightened corporate PACs should take into account their records on these issues too.

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