Big businesses often donate to both political parties and say that their support is tied to narrow issues of specific interest to their industries. That became increasingly fraught last week, after a pro-Trump mob stormed the Capitol and some Republican lawmakers tried to overturn Joseph R. Biden Jr.’s win in the presidential election.
A flurry of companies have since reviewed political giving via their corporate political action committees, according to the DealBook newsletter.
Some big banks are pausing all political donations:
Goldman Sachs is freezing donations through its PAC and will conduct “a thorough assessment of how people acted during this period,” a spokesman, Jake Siewert, told DealBook.
JPMorgan Chase is halting donations through its PAC for six months. “There will be plenty of time for campaigning later,” said Peter Scher, the bank’s head of corporate responsibility.
Citigroup is postponing all campaign contributions for a quarter. “We want you to be assured that we will not support candidates who do not respect the rule of law,” Candi Wolff, the bank’s head of government affairs, wrote in an internal memo.
Some companies are pausing donations to specific politicians. Marriott said it would pause donations from its PAC “to those who voted against certification of the election,” a spokeswoman told DealBook.
Blue Cross Blue Shield, Boston Scientific and Commerce Bancshares are taking a similar, targeted approach to donation freezes. The newsletter Popular Information is tracking the responses of these and other companies that donated to lawmakers who challenged the election result.
The suspensions coincide with the first quarter after a presidential election, which is typically light on fund-raising anyway. Efforts by some companies to pause PAC donations to all lawmakers — those who voted to uphold the election as well as those who sought to overturn it — are raising eyebrows. And companies can still give to “dark money” groups that don’t disclose their donors but often raise far more money than corporate PACs.
Corporate PACs aren’t the only groups under scrutiny. The Republican Attorneys General Association is taking heat following reports that a fund-raising arm, the Rule of Law Defense Fund, urged people to march on the Capitol. Several companies told DealBook that they were reviewing their support of the group, though none said they planned to cut ties. A representative for the association said that it and the Rule of Law Defense Fund “had no involvement in the planning, sponsoring or the organization of Wednesday’s event.”
Big corporate donors to the group, including Coca-Cola, Comcast and Walmart, said they would re-evaluate their contributions.
In other fallout, the P.G.A. of America said it would no longer hold its signature championship at the Trump National Golf Club in Bedminster, N.J.; the social app Parler, popular among conservatives as an alternative to Twitter, went dark this morning after Amazon cut it off from computing services; the payment processor Stripe banned the Trump campaign from using its services; YouTube blocked Steve Bannon’s podcast channel; and the debate continues over tech giants’ influence over public speech.