Cerner PAC stops donating to elected officials who ‘incited violence’ in Capitol

Cerner confirmed this week that it had suspended political donations to any “candidate or official who took part in or incited violence last week in Washington D.C.”  

“Cerner continuously evaluates its bipartisan political contributions, ensuring the candidates and officials we support align with our values and vision for the future of healthcare,” a Cerner spokesperson told Healthcare IT News.

Cerner did not respond to requests for comment about which specific candidates it was no longer supporting.  

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WHY IT MATTERS  

Questions have continued to swirl around the insurrection in the U.S. Capitol on January 6, in which hundreds of violent rioters stormed the building and forced federal legislators to temporarily halt the certification of the presidential election results.

Sen. Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., this week pointed to outgoing President Donald Trump and other “powerful people” as having provoked the mob, saying that those who attacked the Capitol were “fed lies” about the election.   

Although McConnell did not get more specific, several senators and representatives had voiced their intentions to object to the Electoral College count before January 6. Although some backtracked, others persisted – Sens. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, and Josh Hawley, R-Mo., among the most vocal.  

According to records from the National Institute on Money in Politics, Cerner Corporation donated to a wide range of candidates from both parties in the 2020 election.   

Although it did not donate to Sen. Hawley’s 2018 campaign, it did donate $10,000 to his opponent, former Sen. Claire McCaskill, D-Mo. It also gave $10,000 to Hawley’s campaign for Missouri attorney general in 2016.

Cerner gave $5,000 to the 2020 campaign of Sen. Roger Marshall, R-Kan., who was among the objectors in the Senate.

It also gave donations to the following 2020 campaigns of federal elected officials who objected to the Electoral College count:

  • $2,500 to Rep. Jim Banks, R-Ind.
  • $5,000 to Rep. John Bergman, R-Kan.
  • $3,500 to Rep. John Carter, R-Texas
  • $2,500 to Rep. Ron Estes, R-Kan.
  • $5,000 to Rep. Sam Graves, R-Mo.
  • $2,500 to Rep. Vicki Hartzler, R-Mo.
  • $2,500 to Rep. Jake LaTurner, R-Kan.
  • $2,500 to Rep. Billy Long, R-Mo.
  • $6,000 to Rep. Markwayne Mullin, R-Okla.
  • $5,000 to Rep. Jason Smith, R-Mo.
  • $5,000 to Rep. John Trent Kelly, R-Kan.  

Cerner did not respond to requests for comment about the legislators on this list.  

THE LARGER TREND  

Cerner’s donations aren’t the only overlap between the company and politics. This past fall, then-Cerner executive Amanda Adkins ran as a Republican against incumbent U.S. Rep. Sharice Davids, D-Kan., for the state’s 3rd Congressional District seat. 

At the time, campaign watchdogs said Adkins’ role at Cerner meant she needed to be wary of potential conflicts of interest, given Cerner’s provision of services to federal clients.   

The most notable of these include the U.S. Departments of Defense and Veterans Affairs. In 2015, the DoD chose Cerner to lead its massive EHR modernization, MHS-Genesis. In 2018, the VA tapped the company for a decade-long, $10 billion project overhauling the VA’s legacy VistA electronic health record.  

ON THE RECORD

“Focusing on the health and wellbeing 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,” said the Cerner spokesperson.

 

Kat Jercich is senior editor of Healthcare IT News.
Twitter: @kjercich

Email: kjercich@himss.org
Healthcare IT News is a HIMSS Media publication.

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