By Ryan Deto
PITTSBURGH — After last week’s insurrection at the U.S. Capitol last week by pro-Trump extremists, coupled with votes by some Republican lawmakers that same day opposing the certification of President-elect Joe Biden’s victory, several large companies have announced they will be cutting off donations to those Republican lawmakers.
One of them, U.S. Rep. Guy Reschenthaler, R-14th District, has received tens of thousands of dollars from some of these corporations over his short career in the U.S. House, and will likely go without those campaign contributions thanks to his votes against certifying Arizona’s and Pennsylvania’s Electoral College votes. The latter of which means that Reschenthaler objected to Biden’s win on the same ballots that secured his own re-election.
Comcast, Blue Cross Blue Shield, and AT&T have all announced they are suspending campaign contributions to lawmakers like Reschenthaler who have opposed the Electoral College certification.
Since announcing his first congressional campaign in 2017, Reschenthaler has received $33,500 combined from political action committees related to Comcast, Blue Cross Blue Shield, and AT&T. That is just a fraction of his total contributions, which total over $3 million.
A request for comment to Reschenthaler’s office went unanswered.
Reschenthaler gets far more from contributions from oil and gas companies and conservative leadership PACs. However, the tens of thousands of dollars he could potentially lose from the communication and health care companies could come at a cost beyond just lost campaign cash.
Comcast, which is headquartered in Philadelphia, is one of the largest employers in Pennsylvania. And with the company taking a stand against politicians such as Reschenthaler, that could signal to its workforce to follow suit.
“Losing corporate PAC support — if the bans last — will sting Republicans who have come to rely on such contributions, especially as the Democratic Party builds a big online fundraising advantage,” Politico reported on Jan. 11. “But the consequences could reach even farther than that, with the GOP also confronting the prospect of losing the support of white-collar company workers and executives who are infuriated over the insurrection.”
The currently suspended donations could just be the tip of the iceberg. Other companies are signalling they are considering suspending political donations too, including Exxon Mobil. The oil giant has given Reschenthaler $15,000 over his young congressional career.
These potential ramifications could also go beyond Reschenthalers’s 14th Congressional District, which covers all of Greene, Fayette, and Washington counties, as well as the western half of Westmoreland County. It appears Republican leadership has been grooming and promoting Reschenthaler to take on a larger role, potentially setting him up for a statewide run for higher office. Pennsylvania will have two significant statewide elections in 2022: Governor and U.S. Senate.
The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reported last month about Reschenthaler’s growing role in the House GOP Conference, including how “many of his sponsored bills and interview spots coincide with House GOP agenda items.”
The best stimulus is fully reopening our economy. pic.twitter.com/9SSpzoMKPA
— Rep. Guy Reschenthaler (@GReschenthaler) December 30, 2020
Reschenthaler has made frequent appearances on conservative media as of late, most notably Fox News, Sean Hannity’s radio show, and NewsMax.
Reschenthaler’s top contributor that has announced a suspension of donations is BlueCross BlueShield, if you count individual donations from those related to the company, according to the Center of Responsive Politics.
BlueCross BlueShield CEO Kim Keck said today in a statement that the company “will suspend contributions to those lawmakers who voted to undermine our democracy.”
Ryan Deto is a reporter for Pittsburgh City Paper, where this story first appeared.