Politics

The progressive group urges corporations to cease making donations to conservative federal society after unrest

A progressive group is calling on companies to stop contributing to federal society after a leader of the conservative right-wing organization was introduced at the rally on Capitol Hill last week before the deadly uprising.

Demand Justice told CNBC to stop giving to the Federalist Society after member John Eastman, attorney and former law professor at Chapman University, spoke at the rally.

Some of the companies that didn't give anything to the Federalist Society until 2019 said they either would not contribute to Republicans who questioned the results of the presidential election, or reevaluate or pause donations from their corporate policy action committees. These companies and groups include Facebook, Google, T-Mobile, Verizon, and the US Chamber of Commerce.

The Federalist Society's 2019 annual report shows the five companies combined donated up to $ 400,000 to the group. The group ended the fiscal year with sales in excess of $ 25 million. This report is the most recent on the Federalist Society website. It is not clear whether these companies recently donated money to the Federal Society. The next announcement of the donors could take place this year.

"These companies can either go against those who supported the riot or they can continue to fund the Federal Society, but they cannot do both," Brian Fallon, executive director of Demand Justice, told CNBC.

In a statement to CNBC, End Citizens United, a political action committee that campaigns for big money to be taken out of politics, accused Eastman and the Federalist Society of rioting in the US Capitol. Tiffany Muller, the group's president, noted that they will be pressuring companies to stop cutting funding for the group.

"We will make sure that nobody forgets the role of the Federal Society on this dark day, and we will continue to put pressure on companies to stop funding for all traitors and terrorists," said Müller.

None of the companies mentioned in this story responded to a request for comment. The Federal Society did not return CNBC's requests for comments.

The Federalist Society lists Eastman as chair of its Federalism and Separation of Powers practice group. The Federalist Society's board of directors includes Leonard Leo, who served as external legal advisor to President Donald Trump.

At the rally, Eastman pushed for claims that the previous election had been fraudulent. Trump has falsely claimed that the election was stolen from him. Federal and state officials, including former U.S. Attorney General William Barr, said there was no widespread electoral fraud in the 2020 election.

"We know there was fraud. Traditional fraud. We know the dead voted. But we now know, because we last saw him live in real time, how the machines contributed to this fraud," said Eastman at stand next to Trump's personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani at the rally. Part of Eastman's speech was included in a tweet from Liz Harrington, a former Republican National Committee spokeswoman.

Later, when Congress tried to confirm Joe Biden as president, Trump's supporters marched on the Capitol. Scores collapsed and the ensuing uprising left five dead, including one policeman. The House Democrats and 10 Republicans voted earlier this week to charge Trump with incitement to insurrection.

"It is alarming that a senior Federal Society official called on Vice President Pence to carry out an illegal coup and companies should stop supporting this organization in the same way they stopped donating to members of Congress," said Fallon of Demand Justice. Demand Justice is a 501 (c) (4) dark money group that does not publicly disclose its donors.

Eastman reportedly tried to convince Vice President Mike Pence that he had power to prevent Congress from confirming the election. Pence, who chaired the joint session of Congress that eventually confirmed Biden's victory, said he had no such authority.

That angry Trump tweeted criticism of Pence while the Capitol attack was unfolding. Rioters were caught while the video chant "Hang Mike Pence!"

Eastman recently left Chapman University following his presentation.

Eastman was also reportedly in line to join Trump's impeachment team.

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