AT&T Gave $200,000 to Politicians Leading Abortion-Ban Efforts in Six States: Report

Illustration for article titled AT&T Gave $200,000 to Politicians Leading Abortion-Ban Efforts in Six States: Report
Photo: Eric Gay / AP

AT&T has donated nearly $200,000 to politicians who’ve helped pass state-level laws either banning abortion or restricting women’s access to the medical procedure, according to a recently compiled list of contributions.


The list, amassed by Popular Information—a progressive newsletter published by former ThinkProgress editor-in-chief, Judd Legum—included six corporations that were described as having “showed up frequently in the recent campaign finance reports” of politicians pursuing abortion bans.

AT&T, which donated $196,600 to politicians leading the charge against abortion, outspent by far any of the other companies named, including Walmart ($57,700), Pfizer ($53,650), Eli Lilly ($66,250), Coca-Cola ($40,800), and Aetna ($26,600).

The list includes AT&T’s donations in six states: Alabama, whose extreme abortion ban contains no exception for victims of rape and incest in an explicit attempt to challenge Roe v. Wade in the Supreme Court; Georgia, Kentucky, Mississippi, Ohio, and Missouri, which all banned abortion after six weeks (so-called “fetal heartbeat” bills); and Missouri, which most recently passed a ban on abortion after nine weeks.

Legum, who said the information proved difficult to source, published a breakdown of AT&T’s spending here. (The company also publishes its own “political engagement reports” disclosing spending; however, the latest only covers January to June 2018.) “States make it difficult to uncover corporate contributions to politicians,” he said. “Each state has its own system and few of them are user-friendly.”

“We looked at corporate contributions to the political leaders most responsible for the abortion legislation in each state, including the Governor and the leadership of the legislature,” he wrote, highlighting as well the literature on AT&T’s website that claims the company wants to “make sure women at AT&T feel supported in everything they do.”

AT&T did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The digital advocacy group Free Press took a shot at the company on Twitter as Legum’s newsletter circulated online, saying AT&T had “fought against #NetNeutrality and our #DigitalCivilRights. Now they’re quietly fighting to take away #AbortionRights too.”


[Popular Information]

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A couple of questions:

1. Did AT&T donate to these politicians to support their anti-abortion stance?

2. How much did AT&T contribute in total to all politicians?

My guess is that they’re contributing to these politicians to further some business advantage to themselves but I’m too lazy to look it up.