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Ford and Toyota’s newest cars have tech features to impress drivers

Technology helps drive two upcoming crossover SUVs, the 2021 Toyota Venza and Ford Mustang Mach-E, a four-door electric vehicle (EV).

Marc Saltzman, Special to USA TODAY

  • The announcement came after an anti-Trump PAC said it would target companies that donated to lawmakers who refused to certify the election.
  • The decision backtracks on Toyota’s previous donation stance.

Toyota Motor Corp. will no longer donate to members of Congress who voted against certifying President Joe Biden’s 2020 election win in January, the company said Thursday. 

“Toyota is committed to supporting and promoting actions that further our democracy. Our company has long-standing relationships with Members of Congress across the political spectrum, especially those representing our U.S. operations,” spokesperson Edward Lewis told The Detroit News via email.

“Our bipartisan PAC equally supports Democrats and Republicans running for Congress. In fact, in 2021, the vast majority of the contributions went to Democrats and Republicans who supported the certification of the 2020 election. We understand that the PAC decision to support select Members of Congress who contested the results troubled some stakeholders. 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,” the statement continues.

More: Toyota tops list of corporate donors to anti-election-certification Republicans in Congress after Capitol insurrection

The decision backtracks on Toyota’s previous stance on funding members of Congress who voted not to certify the election. In April, the company told The Detroit News that it did “not believe it is appropriate to judge members of Congress solely based on their votes on the electoral certification.”

Between then and now, the motor company has donated more than $55,000 to Republicans who opposed certifying the results — more than three times as much as the next biggest donor, according to an analysis by the watchdog group Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW).

More than 140 Congress members voted against certifying the 2020 election, all Republicans, baselesslyclaiming fraud. On Jan. 6, the same day as the certification, pro-Trump rioters, emboldened by widespread misinformation about the 2020 election, stormed the Capitol aiming to stop the formal counting of Electoral College votes. 

Toyota’s first donation to an election objector after the Capitol siege was made on Feb. 4 — less than a month after Jan. 6 —  to Rep. Alex Mooney, R-WVa.

“In the months since, corporate and industry interests have had to choose whether to do their part to uphold our democracy by turning off the flow of corporate donations to these members, also known as the Sedition Caucus, or to continue to support them in order to seek political influence,” CREW reported. “Many have failed this test, some reneging on a promise to change their giving while others made no commitment and are giving like nothing ever happened.”

More: Fact check: What’s true about the 2020 election, vote counting, Electoral College

Toyota’s decision to cut financial ties with election objectors came after The Lincoln Project, an anti-Trump political action committee, announced it would release a series of ads targeting companies that continued to donate to lawmakers who refused to certify Biden’s 2020 win. Toyota was the PAC’s first target. 

“Toyota vehicles feature safety detection systems, smartphone integration, and more white nationalism than you might’ve expected,” The Lincoln Project tweeted Thursday alongside its ad targeting Toyota

After Toyota announced it would cease donations to Congress members that voted against certification, The Lincoln Project tweeted that the company “put democracy ahead of transactional politics.”

“We hope that the rest of Corporate America will follow their lead,” the tweet reads.