After new law, McConnell warns CEOs: 'Stay out of politics'

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Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., speaks during a news conference at Kroger Field in Lexington, Ky., Monday, April 5, 2021. (AP Photo/Timothy D. Easley)

WASHINGTON – Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell says it's a “big lie” to call the new voting law in Georgia racist and he warned big business to “stay out of politics" after major corporations and even Major League Baseball distanced themselves from the state amid vast public pressure.

McConnell particularly slammed President Joe Biden's criticism that the Georgia bill was restrictive and a return to Jim Crow-era restrictions in the Southern states aimed limiting ballot access for Black Americans.

“It’s simply not true,” McConnell told reporters Monday.

The choice by the GOP leader to dive into voting politics lends heft to efforts nationwide to install strict new voting laws after Donald Trump's false claims of fraud that cost him the election to Biden. The new laws are aimed at scaling back early voting and other options that became wildly popular during the pandemic.

Even more, McConnell's warning to big business not to get involved shows the scramble Republicans face as progressive groups are shining a spotlight on corporate America to live up to its brands and values as Congress takes on voting rights, gun violence and other issues Republicans have resisted.

The Republican leader has been among the most outspoken champions of the role of big money in elections, promoting the free-flow of undisclosed dollars to campaigns as a form of Constitution-protected free speech.

But companies temporarily halted giving to many Republicans after the deadly Jan. 6 Capitol siege, when the former president urged like supporters to fight for him and hundreds stormed the Capitol.

Speaking in Kentucky, McConnell said Monday it's simply “not accurate” to say the Georgia law is making it more difficult to vote.