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McConnell accuses companies of ‘economic blackmail’ after many condemn restrictive Georgia voting law

“From election law to environmentalism to sweeping social programs to the Second Amendment, parts of the private sector continue to behave like a woken parallel government,” the Kentucky Republican said in a statement Monday. “Businesses will have grave consequences if they become a means for far-left crowds to divert our country from outside the constitutional order.”

“Businesses should not resort to economic blackmail to spread disinformation and push bad ideas that citizens reject at the ballot box,” he added.

McConnell’s statements are particularly noteworthy not only because he has long championed the involvement of corporate money in politics – a past stance he tried to reconcile with further remarks on Tuesday – but because the Party Republican has traditionally been more pro-big business. .

At a press conference in Louisville, Kentucky on Tuesday, McConnell reiterated his warning to American businesses to “stay out of politics” and not be “intimidated by the left,” denouncing the MLB move and other companies to “jump in the middle”. of a very controversial question “like” stupid “.

McConnell has previously supported corporate involvement in politics, including supporting the 2010 U.S. Supreme Court ruling in the Citizens United case, which allowed large corporations to have more power in federal elections. . In 2014, he spoke out against Democrats’ attempts to allow Congress to set limits on corporate campaign spending in federal elections, calling it a threat to basic speech rights.

Asked how he reconciles his support for Citizens United with his call for corporations to stay out of politics in the debate over election laws, McConnell said: “They have the right to participate in the political process. “.

“But choosing how you do that in a way that doesn’t completely alienate a lot of people who depend on your products doesn’t seem very smart to me,” he said, adding earlier, “Republicans drink too. of Coca-Cola, and we steal, and we love baseball. “

In his statement on Monday, McConnell accused Democrats of lying about Georgia’s law hastily passed by Republicans across the state and signed last month by GOP Governor Brian Kemp.

He took issue with President Joe Biden and others’ assertion that Georgia’s voting law is reminiscent of or worse than the laws of the Jim Crow era, arguing that “no one really thinks this current dispute is any closer. of the horrible racist brutality of segregation “.

“Our private sector needs to stop drawing inspiration from the Outrage-Industrial complex. Americans don’t need or want big business to amplify disinformation or react to every controversy fabricated with frenzied signals from the left,” said McConnell in his statement, adding that “it is mind-boggling to see powerful American institutions not only allow themselves to be intimidated, but join in the bullying themselves.”

McConnell also criticized the radical election legislation of the Congressional Democrats, the “For the People Act,” as a “takeover” of the election laws of the 50 states and the Federal Election Commission that “is impossible to defend, so that the left wants to deviate. “The measure, which does not have enough votes in the US Senate to pass, would override many of the restrictive provisions of Georgia’s new law and others like it.
Georgian law imposes voter identification requirements for postal ballots, allows state officials to take over local election commissions, restricts the use of ballot boxes, and criminalizes giving or giving. provide voters with food and drink while they line up to vote.

Republican supporters of the law say it makes Georgian elections safer and expands access to voting – highlighting the law’s requirement for every county to have at least one drop box for votes per correspondence and the expansion of early voting in many counties.

The law, however, drastically reduces the number of drop boxes in some large counties, dramatically shortens the total duration of second-round campaigns and the early voting period for second-round elections, and shortens the length of the voting period for second-round elections. absent.

The MLB’s decision to move the All-Star Game, which would potentially cost Georgia $ 100 million in lost economic impact, was the first in response to the state’s election law. Atlanta Democratic Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms on CNN on Saturday predicted it would be the “first of many boycotts of our state to come.”

At a press conference on Saturday, Kemp vehemently defended Georgia’s electoral law and said he would not waver or be swayed if Georgia lost more events, costing business and government more dollars. tourism.

He accused MLB of putting Democrats’ wishes “ahead of the economic well-being of hardworking Georgians who relied on the All-Star Game for a paycheck.”

Democratic Senator Raphael Warnock of Georgia, like other Democrats, said he respected the MLB decision, but hoped companies would protest the law not by boycotting the state, but “by coming here and fighting head-on against the repression of voters “.

After the law was passed, some of the country’s most prominent black business leaders called out their Fortune 500 peers for their deaf response to new laws that restrict voting across the country, and challenged them to condemn more forcefully what they called deliberate attempts. Republicans to limit the number of black Americans voting in key states.

Last week, American Airlines and Dell Technologies voted against a Texas elections bill that would place further restrictions on the voting process, especially for those who live in densely populated counties.

At an event in his home state on Monday, McConnell said he “found it completely disheartening to find a group of corporate CEOs in the middle of politics.”

“My advice to CEOs of American companies is to stay out of politics,” he added.

At his Tuesday event in Louisville, McConnell said he supports CEOs who contribute to politicians.

“That’s good. It’s legal, it’s appropriate. I support this. I’m talking about taking a stand on a highly inflammatory issue like this and punishing a community or state for not liking one. particular law they passed? think that’s stupid, ”he said.

Cliff Albright, the co-founder of the Black Voters Matter Fund voting rights group, accused McConnell of “hypocrisy.”

“Mitch McConnell and others have demonstrated their hypocrisy on this issue, whether it is the issue of not wanting companies involved in politics – which is a first for Mitch McConnell – or whether it is about to say they don’t do it, like ‘cancel’ stuff, although they regularly are, trying to take away our voting rights, ”Albright told reporters in a virtual press conference Tuesday.

CNN’s Ted Barrett, Eric Bradner, Maeve Reston, Dianne Gallagher, Annie Grayer and Fredreka Schouten contributed to this report.

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