CU Groups Resume Contributions to House Members Who Opposed Electoral Vote Counting

Credit union and banking political action committees have resumed making campaign contributions to House members who objected to the certification of some states’ Electoral College votes on Jan. 6.

CULAC, the political action committee operated by the Credit Union National Association, has contributed a total of $22,500 to five House Republicans who voted against certifying the votes in Pennsylvania and/or Georgia. Those contributions make up a small percentage of the $838,500 that the committee has made to Democrats and Republican members of the House and Senate this year.

CULAC also contributed $30,000 to each of the House and Senate Republican and Democratic campaign arms.

“CUNA works closely with our state credit union leagues to identify and support candidates who recognize credit unions’ mission to advance the communities they serve and promote financial well-being for all,” said Trey Hawkins, CUNA’s deputy chief advocacy officer for political action, in explaining the decision to resume making those contributions.

The National Association of Federally-Insured Credit Unions, which operates a much smaller political action committee, has contributed $1,000 to one House Republican who contested the counting of the electoral votes. That Republican is Rep. Blaine Luetkemeyer, R-Mo., who is the ranking Republican on the House Financial Services Committee’s Consumer Protection and Financial Institutions Subcommittee.

That contribution was made in March. NAFCU has contributed $50,000 to candidates, as of the end of June. NAFCU also has contributed $5,000 to the House Democratic and Republican campaign arms and $5,000 to the Senate Republican campaign committee.

Luetkemeyer also received $5,000 from CUNA and $2,500 from the Americans Banker Association.

Earlier this year, Carrie Hunt, then-NAFCU’s executive vice president of government relations and general counsel said that the trade group had paused its contributions following Jan. 6 and had “robust discussions” about its contribution policy.

Credit union PACs are not alone in resuming the contributions. The American Bankers Association has contributed $32,500 to 12 House Republicans who voted against counting the votes. ABA has made $391,000 in contributions so far this year.

The Independent Community Bankers of America has contributed $22,500 to 15 House Republicans who objected to the counting of the Electoral College votes.  ICBA’s committee has contributed $360,000 to candidates this year.

So far there has been no public criticism of these contributions, but many PACs that have resumed political giving to members of Congress who objected to the certification of Electoral College votes have been the targets of blunt criticism.

“By continuing to fund members of Congress who would undermine American democracy, these corporations and industry groups are sacrificing democratic government for access and influence,” Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington said in June.

For example, the Toyota Motor Corp. was among the groups that temporarily stopped contributing to the members who voted against the counting of the electoral votes. The company resumed its contributions, only to stop again in July, under pressure.

“We are actively listening to our stakeholders, and, at this time, we have decided to stop contributing to those Members of Congress who contested the certification of certain states in the 2020 election,” Toyota said in a July 8 statement.

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