Duke Energy’s Political Action Committee has quietly resumed contributions to members of Congress who voted to overturn the results of the 2020 election. The contributions, which Duke disclosed in a filing to the Federal Election Commission, came after Duke initially announced a one-month pause to its PAC’s contributions to federal candidates in the wake of the violent attack on the U.S. Capitol on January 6th by a mob incited by lies about the integrity of the 2020 presidential election.
The Duke Energy PAC’s May 5th filing revealed $32,000 in PAC contributions disbursed on April 21 to the following eight Republican members of Congress:
- Rep. William Timmons (R-SC) – $10,000 (primary and general)
- Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) – $5,000
- Rep. Steve Scalise (R-LA) – $5,000
- Rep. Tom Rice (R-SC) – $5,000
- Rep. David Rouzer (R-NC) – $2,500
- Rep. Richard Hudson (R-NC) – $2,500
- Rep. Theodore Budd (R-NC) – $1,000
- Rep. Dan Bishop (R-NC) – $1,000
After the attack on the Capitol, some large corporations, including many utilities and their trade associations, pledged that they would pause or stop donations to the elected officials who voted to overturn the results.
Duke said at the time that “We’re taking this very seriously and pausing all federal political contributions for 30 days. During this time, we’re evaluating Duke Energy-supported candidates’ values and actions to ensure they align to our values and goals. The way members of Congress conducted themselves in this critical time will be an important consideration in future support.”
The company similarly told Blue Ridge Public Radio, “We were shocked and dismayed by the events at the Capitol last week. Duke Energy is taking this very seriously and taking a pause on all federal political contributions for 30 days.”
Duke Energy’s PAC is one of the first to resume donations to the 147 members of Congress that sought to overturn the election results. No other utility PAC that has filed a monthly report with the Federal Election Commission has contributed to the 147 members, according to an Energy and Policy Institute analysis of monthly filings.
Several PACs that file quarterly during election years file only semi-annual reports during non-election years. For instance, the Berkshire Hathaway Energy PAC and the Evergy Employee Power PAC will disclose their January-June 2021 donations by July 31. Other utility PACs, such as the PACs for Southern Company and Pinnacle West, recently changed from a monthly filing schedule to a quarterly one, and therefore will also report their donations by July 31.
A Duke Energy spokesperson, Neil Nissan, refused to answer questions about the company’s resumption of contributions to the members of Congress or about the nature of its evaluation of Duke-Energy supported candidates’ “values and actions.” The spokesperson said Duke Energy would not answer questions from EPI because EPI has not disclosed a list of its specific funders to Duke. [EPI is funded by environmental foundations and receives no corporate funding.]
Among investor-owned utilities, Duke Energy’s PAC was among the top contributors in recent cycles to the 147 members of Congress that sought to overturn the election results. The PAC contributed a total of $517,700 to those lawmakers in the 2016, 2018, and 2020 election cycles.
Utility PACs consist of individual donations from company employees. CEO Lynn Good has contributed $4,635 to the PAC, the most of any employee, followed by many of the company’s executive and senior vice presidents.