After the January 6th protests and insurrection at the Capitol, where politicians tried to stop the process of counting presidential electors and some citizens stormed the halls to throw sand in the gears by force, many companies declared they would no longer donate to politicians that had been a part of the anti-democratic shenanigans.
American Airlines paused its political giving, but the airline’s PAC went “off of pause” in May, according to Nate Gatten, the airline’s Senior Vice President of government affairs at an internal employee event following the carrier’s earnings call on Thursday (a recording of which was reviewed by View From The Wing).
He revealed that in June the airline made a contribution through its PAC to an objector to the certification of the election: Sam Graves from Missouri. However he defended this saying that he may have gone along with stopping the democratic process and calling into question the election – but he supports government subsidies for American Airlines.
On the spectrum the person we contributed to is very…he’s a great partner of American Airlines, he was hugely supportive of PSP…We’re trying to do our very best to manage it, not to contribute to anyone who would embarrass us.
We need to have a dialogue with our elected representatives and we can’t do that if we just say ok there’s a huge group of people that we’re not gonna work with at all. That’s our stance right now. There probably will be some companies that don’t give at all to objectors. They have different circumstance than we do. I think you’ll see most companies aren’t going to have these litmus tests one way or another.
Doug Parker Testifying Before Congress In Favor Of Airline Subsidies In 2001
The American Airlines position seems to be that in an industry highly regulated and subsidized by government, they can’t afford to take principled stands that disadvantage them before Congress – at least on an issue, no matter how important, where so many of their important political constituents are on the other side. And that they can’t “have a dialogue with..elected representatives” if they don’t pay-to-play.
That is, of course, a logical position to take for an airline’s CEO who has made his career on the back of government subsidies.