Why Are Companies That Blasted HB 2 Supporting the Politicians Behind It? | Triangulator | Indy Week
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Why Are Companies That Blasted HB 2 Supporting the Politicians Behind It? 

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Remember how all of those big-name corporations came out so strongly against HB 2, blasting in no uncertain terms the General Assembly and Governor McCrory for their clear infringement on the civil rights of the state's LGBTQ community?

"We believe that HB 2 will make it far more challenging for businesses across the state to recruit and retain the nation's best and brightest workers and attract the most talented students from across the country," read an April letter to McCrory signed by eighty top-level executives. "... Discrimination is wrong, and it has no place in North Carolina or anywhere in our country."

As it turns out, some of them are full of shit—or, more charitably, they don't always put their money where their mouth is. In April, the Institute for Southern Studies compiled a list of thirty-six companies that had spoken out against HB 2 yet have donated significant money to national PACs that helped elect the legislators and governor who passed it. IRS filings from the second quarter of 2016 show that several of them, including PayPal, Bank of America, Microsoft, Dow Chemical, and Facebook, are still at it, donating tens of thousands of dollars to the Republican Governors Association, the Republican State Legislative Committee, and the Republican Attorneys General Association—after HB 2 became law.

Some of this is merely the proud capitalist tradition of hedging bets: the companies gave to both the Republican PACs and their Democratic counterparts, greasing the wheels no matter who wins. And these are, of course, corporations that do business all over the country; their interests extend well beyond North Carolina.

But the RGA spent nearly $5 million to elect McCrory in 2012 and figures to be one of his top benefactors this year; the RAGA has gone all in for state senator, attorney general candidate, and HB 2 champion Buck Newton; and as of June 30, the RSLC had sunk at least $50,000 into helping North Carolina Republicans maintain their legislative supermajorities, which could prevent an HB 2 repeal next year even if McCrory loses his reelection bid. You'd think that, if these companies really opposed discrimination, they might want to back up their words with withheld donations—the thing politicians actually pay attention to.

Take two prominent examples: First, recall that PayPal famously eighty-sixed an expansion in Charlotte just after HB 2 passed. "The new law perpetuates discrimination and it violates the values and principles that are at the core of PayPal's mission and culture," the company explained at the time. Two months later, PayPal donated $25,000 to the RSLC.

Second, the Charlotte-based Bank of America demanded a full repeal, yet it was the state's largest donor to the Newton-backing RAGA after HB 2, cutting a $25,000 check on June 23. (Reached for comment, BoA spokesman Larry di Rita told the INDY he'd call back once he investigated the donation, but he hasn't as of press time.)

We've compiled a list of companies that have both loudly criticized HB 2 and continued to finance the politicians who conceived it. The first number notes donations in the second quarter of this year, which began on April 1, a week after HB 2 passed, and ended June 30. (The next round of disclosures isn't due until mid-October.) The second and third numbers show the company's total donations to the Republican PACs and their Democratic analogues this cycle.

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Editor's Note: In several places, the print version of this story misstated the amount of money these corporations have given to Republican and Democratic PACs this cycle. The print story also omitted a $25,000 donation PayPal gave to the Democratic Legislative Campaign Committee in the first quarter of 2016. Those errors have been fixed in the web version.

triangulator@indyweek.com

  • After HB 2 passed, several companies that signed a letter denouncing it got out their checkbooks

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