As Abbott Moves Right, Motorola Keeps Backing Him

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott speaks at a conference, April 6, 2016.


(World Travel & Tourism Council)

Gov. Greg Abbott (R-TX), who is running for reelection, has been backed by Motorola Solutions despite his support of the Big Lie, campaign filings show.

The Republican governor has increasingly embraced far-right extremism. But in 2022, the telecommunications company donated $8500 to his campaign — more than only four other gubernatorial candidates got from Motorola in the 2022 election cycle.

Abbott pushed a bill in 2021 that was one of the most restrictive voting-rights laws in the United States. Like bills from several of his Republican counterparts, Abbott’s new measures wouldn't just make it more difficult to vote, they would let candidates who unequivocally lost an election challenge the results. In theory, it could ultimately allow a judge to overrule a free and fair election without proof.

Motorola suspended congressional donations after the Jan. 6 attacks, but since then has given to multiple, unrepentant election deniers and to politicians working to roll back voting rights and access. So has CEO Greg Brown.

It’s no surprise that Texas Republicans have increasingly pushed some of the most rigid voter suppression techniques in the country. For decades, statewide elected offices have overwhelmingly been held by Republicans. Wins have been by fairly significant margins.

Right now, Abbott is on average leading his Democratic challenger, former Rep. Beto O’Rourke (D-TX), by about seven points in the polls. Margins have been getting progressively tighter in each election cycle. In 2018 Abbott won by 13% over his Democratic challenger. In 2014, Abbott won by 20%.

“I’m sure Texas will have either a Democrat either in the Senate or the governor’s office in the next decade,” a former Trump administration official tells TYT.

“If the current pendulum keeps swinging this far to the right then it would happen,” the former official added.

Suburban communities in the state are starting to shift their political leaning. Fort Bend County, once a GOP stronghold, has turned competitive. The county, encompassing communities south and west of Houston, has undergone massive demographic shifts, underscored by the growth of the increasingly Democratic city of Houston, which is the single most diverse city in the United States.

Yet Abbott has still doubled down on the Big Lie as only one of many issues this already far right wing governor has taken even further towards the fringes.

Abbott has also made it harder to vote, a move which disproportionately affects those diverse communities in cities that are increasingly not in his favor.

Abbott has pushed some of the most restrictive abortion laws in the country, which went into effect earlier this month. The law is so extreme that if a doctor performs an abortion they could face life in prison and a $100,000 fine. The state’s recently passed abortion laws are considered so extreme that companies like Salesforce have offered to help their workers relocate out of the state if they want. The United Nations has even condemned the law.

In the last few years, The Texas governor also signed many other extremist laws. Last year he signed a bill that allows anyone to carry a handgun without a license.

Despite all of this, Motorola has continued to support Abbott. Neither Motorola nor the Abbott campaign responded to our requests for comment.

The company’s political action committee (PAC) gives to a number of gubernatorial candidates across the country. Most of the gubernatorial candidates the company backed this election cycle are Republicans.

The Chicago based company did not donate to Abbott’s competitor, O’Rourke.

Abbott is not the only Big Lie supporter to get a boost from Motorola during the primaries. The company also donated $5000 to the Texas Republican Party, which is filled with Big Lie supporters.

Brown, the CEO, donated a combined $15,000 to George P. Bush, the state’s land commissioner, in his bid to become his party’s nominee for attorney general. Bush lost to incumbent Atty. Gen. Ken Paxton, who has his own plethora of scandals.

Bush, son of former Gov. Jeb Bush (R-FL), vocally supported the Big Lie, to some extent. Bush told the Texas Tribune in May 2021, "I think there was fraud and irregularity, I just don’t think it was in a sum that would have overturned the election result.”

Then-Pres. Donald Trump’s own national security officials said, however, that “The November 3rd [2020] election was the most secure in American history.”

Bush also pushed for Rep. Liz Cheney (R-WY) to be stripped of her role in GOP House leadership after she became critical of Trump.

Representatives for Bush did not respond to our request for comment.

Brown and Motorola Solutions continue to support the state’s GOP leadership and the party itself that said in its state party platform document published this June that Texas should ignore federally mandated legislation. “Texas retains the right to secede from the United States,” the document says.

And on the topic of the 2020 election, the platform says that, “We reject the certified results of the 2020 Presidential election, and we hold that acting [sic] President Joseph Robinette Biden Jr. was not legitimately elected by the people of the United States.”

TYT requested comment on that wording, referring to it as a statement within a party resolution. A Texas GOP spokesman did not comment on the continued fictional claims of election interference, but focused on semantics, saying, “If you had done a shred of research you would know what you quoted isn’t a statement but a resolution that was passed by 5,000 convention delegates in June.”

The spokesman referred us to a party news release, quoting the resolution but titled, “Statement.”

The statement includes Texas GOP Party Chairman Matt Rinaldi saying:

“Texas Republicans rightly have no faith in the 2020 election results and we don’t care how many times the elites tell us we have to. The Texas Republican Party is raising record funds for election integrity, and we’ve made election integrity a top priority to ensure Texas never goes the way of Pennsylvania, Georgia, or Arizona. We refuse to let Democrats rig the elections in 2022 or 2024.”

Despite the party’s unfounded position on the 2020 presidential election, Motorola continues to donate to the Texas GOP.

This behavior is in direct contrast to the mission the company outlines in its own criteria for political contributions in its Corporate Responsibility report.

“We believe in supporting candidates and campaigns who exhibit high standards of character, civic integrity and respect for public service,” the Motorola report reads.

Motorola’s financial backing of a candidate with extremist positions is no surprise. As TYT previously reported, the company also donated to Joe Lombardo, who is the GOP nominee in the Nevada gubernatorial race. Lombardo also supports the Big Lie.

”I personally believe there was probably fraud on both sides. We had an environment where it was easy to commit fraud,” Lombardo told the Reno Gazette Journal last July, without offering evidence.

Additionally, Motorola’s PAC has donated to a number of congressional candidates who either support the Big Lie and/or voted against the certification of the 2020 presidential election.

Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) reported in March that Motorola resumed congressional donations less than a year after pausing them because of Jan. 6. Despite the election deniers having not changed their perspective, Motorola began donating to them again. CREW found that the PAC donated more than $60,000 to 14 members that voted against election certification.

Andy Hirschfeld is a freelance reporter. You can find him on Twitter @andyreports.