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Cerner PAC suspends contributions to candidates who ‘incited violence’

Cerner
Posted at 1:39 PM, Jan 13, 2021
and last updated 2021-01-13 14:39:52-05

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Another major Kansas City-area employer has announced a suspension of all campaign contributions to select politicians in the wake of last week’s deadly Capitol riot.

Cerner announced Monday that its political action committee, Cerner Corporation PAC, “will suspend contributions to any candidate or official who took part in or incited violence last week in Washington, D.C.”

The company’s statement didn’t mention any specific candidates, but Sen. Roger Marshall of Kansas and Sen. Josh Hawley of Missouri have come under fire for objecting to the Electoral College certification process even after the riot interrupted congressional proceedings.

Here is Cerner’s full statement:

Cerner continuously evaluates its bi-partisan political contributions, ensuring the candidates and officials we support align with our values and vision for the future of healthcare. Effective immediately, Cerner PAC will suspend contributions to any candidate or official who took part in or incited violence last week in Washington, D.C. Focusing on the health and well-being of the American people transcends partisan politics, and we will continue working with all elected leaders to advance policies that put the patient at the center of their care.
Cerner

When asked for specifics on what Cerner considered activity that “incited violence,” the company declined to clarify.

“We cannot comment on specific names,” a spokesperson said in an email to 41 Action News.

Hallmark made a similar announcement earlier in the week, requesting Marshall and Hawley return donations Monday and announcing a suspension of contributions as it reviews the Hallmark Cards PAC’s giving policy.

Cerner PAC gave $10,000 to Marshall’s campaign, the largest donation the company gave any congressional candidate during the 2019-20 election cycle, according to OpenSecrets.org.

He defeated Barbara Bollier in a runoff for retiring Sen. Pat Roberts’ seat. Cerner did not contribute to Bollier’s campaign.

Cerner PAC also gave $5,000 to Sen. Josh Hawley’s Fighting for Missouri PAC.

The company gave an additional $27,500 to Kansas or Missouri representatives who objected to certification in the U.S. House of Representatives.

Reps. Sam Graves ($5,000), Vicky Hartzler ($5,000) and Jason Smith ($5,000) of Missouri received money from Cerner PAC along with Reps. Ron Estes ($5,000) and Jake LaTurner ($2,500) of Kansas.

Former Rep. Steve Watkins ($5,000) also received money before losing his primary to LaTurner, who went on the win the November general election.

Cerner spent another $29,000 in contributions to at least six candidates from outside the two-state area who objected to the Electoral College certification — Rep. Markwayne Mullin of Oklahoma ($6,000), Rep. John Carter ($5,500) of Texas, Rep. Jim Banks ($5,000) of Indiana, Rep. Jack Bergman ($5,000) of Michigan, Rep. Trent Kelly ($5,000) of MIssissippi and Rep. Ken Calvert ($2,500) of California.

Historically, the Cerner Corp PAC has invested much more heavily in Republican campaigns, including 2012 when it made no contributions to any Democractic candidates, according to the OpenSecrets.org database.

Between 2010 and 2018, nearly 80% of Cerner Corporation PAC’s $609,700 in campaign donations went to Republicans, a split of $485,000 compared with $124,700 to Democratic candidates.

But during the 2019-20 election cycle, contributions were split nearly 50/50 with $86,000 to Republican candidates and $85,500 to Democratic candidates.