Corporations Are Ceasing Political Donations. Here’s How They’re Doing it..

January 6 marked a dark day that will live forever in American history: President Trump’s supporters stormed the U.S. Capitol and staged an insurrection. After the chaos subsided, Congress jumped into action, and so did corporate America. Within 24 hours, Trump was temporarily locked out of his Twitter and Facebook accounts. Within days, he was banned from those platforms entirely—and that was just the beginning.  In a town where money talks, less than a week after the attack, countless corporations issued statements and handed down new directives about their political donations and gifts. Here is what we’ve seen so far:  Corporations suspending PAC donations to Republicans who voted to overturn the Electoral College
  • Dow - The massive chemicals company said it would suspend all PAC contributions “to any member of Congress who voted to object to the certification of the presidential election cycle,” and took it one step further by committing to do so while those members remain in office. For the 2020 election, the Dow Chemical PAC raised over $518,000 for candidates. 
  • Citigroup - According to an internal memo issued on Sunday, Citigroup’s PAC is pausing all of its political donations through March 30th. The memo reads, “We want you to be assured that we will not support candidates who do not respect the rule of law.” In the last election cycle, the PAC raised $740,000 for federal candidates. 
  • Other Examples: Marriott, BlueCross Blue Shield, Commerce Bank, Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley, Mastercard 
Corporations suspending all PAC donations, regardless of party affiliation
  • JPMorgan - JPMorgan’s head of corporate responsibility announced in an interview that the largest bank in the country would be pausing political donations for the next six months. “The focus of business leaders, political leaders, civic leaders right now should be on governing and getting help to those who desperately need it most right now. There will be plenty of time for campaigning later.” JPMorgan’s PAC raised around $900,000 for federal candidates during this past election cycle.
  • Other Examples: 3M, Charles Schwab, Boston Scientific, Facebook
Corporations that have issued statements, but haven’t committed to pulling donations
  • Walmart - The grocery and goods giant was non-committal, but told Reuters that it would “examine and adjust [its] political giving strategy and will factor last week’s events into [its] process.” 
  • Deloitte - The company’s CEO and Board Chair sent a memo to executives that acknowledged the situation by writing that there’s been a “high volume of questions within the firm...and on social media on how Deloitte PAC makes decisions for PAC giving.” However, the memo didn’t announce any “revised PAC strategy.”
  • Other Examples: T-Mobile, Bank of America, FedEx, Wells Fargo, CVS, Exxon, Target, Delta, Amgen
Corporations taking other actions
  • P.G.A. of America - In a video issued by the President of P.G.A. of America, an announcement was made that the P.G.A. Championship would no longer be held at Trump’s National Golf Club in Bedminster, New Jersey, originally scheduled for 2022. 
  • Amazon and Apple - After Apple announced over the weekend they’d be cutting Parler (a social media platform for the alt-right) from the App Store, Amazon went a step further and said they cut off the app from its computing services forcing it to go dark. 
  • Stripe and Paypal - Stripe, a popular payment processing company, announced that it would not allow the Trump Campaign to process any payments through its platform. Paypal took similar actions and kicked all Trump-related accounts off of its platform.  
While the list seems to grow every minute (and inevitably will change after this piece is published), two questions remain. First, with millions of dollars being taken off of the table for Republicans, and with Trump and his fundraising apparatus headed out the door in a few days, what, if anything, will GOP leadership do to stop the bleeding? As of Monday afternoon, the options seem rather limited, despite Republican Leader McCarthy calling trade associations to reconsider their decisions to pull donations. The unlikely path is for the House and Senate leadership to instruct its members, in conjunction with Democrats, to expel the members who voted to overturn the election. A more likely solution would include GOP leadership calling for the censure of President Trump because there is no world in which party leadership would encourage its members to vote for impeachment—even after last Wednesday.  The second outstanding question is two-fold. If more companies, including the ones evaluating their next steps, subscribe to the formula of pulling PAC donations to all members, a) how long will they hold out for, and b) if the answer is “an entire cycle,” then how does the future of campaigning look in 2021 and 2022? Speaker Pelosi and Majority Leader Schumer are holding onto incredibly narrow majorities. It’s hard to envision either leader being happy with millions of dollars getting taken off the table for their members, many of whom will be in contentious races that require significant cash flow.


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