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Purina, Intel, and Land O' Lakes ditch support for Rep. Steve King after inflammatory comments

AT&T and Tyson Foods are being pressured to pull their financial support for a congressman who embraces white nationalism.
Land O'Lakes butter
Packages of Land O' Lakes butter are displayed in a supermarket.Brendan McDermid / Reuters file

Corporate donors continue to pull their financial support for controversial Republican Rep. Steve King of Iowa due to the eight-term congressman's inflammatory comments, especially in light of the Pittsburgh synagogue massacre that left 11 people dead.

Dairy giant Land O' Lakes announced Tuesday it was axing financial contributions to the political campaign for King — up for re-election on Nov. 6 — who has voiced support for white nationalism and retweeted Nazi propaganda.

Amid calls on social media to boycott the company's products, Nestlé-owned pet food maker Purina tweeted on Tuesday that it would no longer support King, adding that his “recent statements are in conflict with our values.”

Technology giant Intel, which was working with King on legislation for IP theft protection, said that after reviewing the congressman’s public statements, the company "determined that they conflict with Intel values. As a result, we are no longer donating to his campaigns."

Now, other corporate donors, including AT&T and Tyson Foods, are being pressured to act.

“If there is a perceived political liability for a company, they're weighing their legislative agenda and ability to influence policy in Washington and taking a look at customers. They don’t want to risk their reputation or a potential boycott campaign,” said Sheila Krumholz, executive director at the Center for Responsive Politics, a nonprofit, non-partisan group that tracks money in politics.

Land O’ Lakes donated $2,500 to King’s campaign, Intel gave $2,000, and Purina gave $500.

Minnesota-based Land O' Lakes said in a statement that it wants its political action committee “to be a positive force for good and also seek to ensure that recipients of our contributions uphold our company’s values. On that basis, we have determined that our PAC will no longer support Rep. Steve King moving forward.”

King tweeted on Tuesday that "these attacks are orchestrated by nasty, desperate and dishonest fake news. Their ultimate goal is to flip the House and impeach Donald Trump.”

King has received $148,253 in PAC donations this election cycle, according to the Center for Responsive Politics. One-third of King’s PAC donations come from agribusiness, which should come as no surprise since he represents rural farming communities in Iowa and sits on the House Committee on Agriculture.

"This is all about access and creating favor with members of Congress, especially those who have jurisdiction over their issues,” said Krumholz.

The Anti-Defamation League sent an open letter on Tuesday to House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wis., to have King stripped of his chairmanships and "take formal disciplinary action to censure King and condemn his actions."

AT&T and Tyson Foods did not immediately respond to an NBC News request for comment.