January 12th, 2021
Goldman Sachs, JPMorgan, Citi pause political donations; Marriot, Blue Cross Blue Shield, Commerce Bank suspend donations to specific politicians
After the recent political events, including mob storming the Capitol, several companies are rethinking their political donations.
Some companies are pausing all their political donations, while some are pausing donations to specific politicians.
For instance Goldman Sachs, JPMorgan Chase and Citigroup have paused their political donations for now.
“We want you to be assured that we will not support candidates who do not respect the rule of law,” Candi Wolff, Citi’s head of government affairs, said in an internal memo.
On the other hand, Marriott, Blue Cross Blue Shield, Boston Scientific and Commerce Bancshares are suspending donations to lawmakers who objected to certifying Electoral College vote.As the USA Today reported, “It looks like it is sincere for many of the corporations,” said Craig Holman, a campaign finance expert with Public Citizen, a liberal consumer advocacy organization. “There was no big public push or pressure to get Marriott and others to announce they would no longer make campaign contributions. They did it on their own — they shocked everyone in the campaign finance community.”
Marriott spokeswoman told DealBook that it would pause donations from its PAC “to those who voted against certification of the election".Kansas City-based Hallmark has gone further, asking for two senators to return the $12,000 total the company donated to their campaigns over the past two years. As Hallmark’s JiaoJiao Shen explained, “Hallmark believes the peaceful transition of power is part of the bedrock of our democratic system, and we abhor violence of any kind. The recent actions of Senators Josh Hawley and Roger Marshall do not reflect our company values."
Other big corporates are also evaluating the situation to decide on their political donations.“As we conduct our review over the coming months, we will certainly factor last week’s events into our process,” a spokesman for Walmart said.
Blue Cross Blue Shield donated over $10,000 to Sens.Tommy Tuberville, Roger Marshall, and Josh Hawley in 2020.Marriott donated $2,000 last year to funds connected to Hawley, according to washingtonexaminer.There has been a powerful move within corporate America to purge Trump supporters, using the Capitol riot as an excuse. Forbes magazine's Randall Lane essentially issued a blacklist of Trump officials in a recent op-ed, warning of a "truth reckoning."Yet many of the same corporations that have denounced the Capitol riot were very vocal in their support of the Black Lives Matter riots that caused millions of dollars in damage, particularly to their small-business competition.As first reported by Axios, Facebook has joined with the large banks and major corporations in halting spending by their political action committees. Social media tech giants Facebook and Twitter have come under fire for de-platforming the President of the United States, while Amazon, Apple, and numerous others have attempted to destroy the free speech platform Parler.Back in October, Goldman Sachs admitted involvement in a conspiracy to bribe key foreign officials for business relating to 1Malaysia Development Berhad. The bribery scheme is the largest in US history at $1.6 billion. As part of the settlement, Goldman Sachs had to pay out over $2.9 billion. Golmans Sachs donated hundreds of thousands of dollars to the Joe Biden campaign while contributing under $7,500 to the Trump campaign.Corporate-sponsored political action committees (PACs) are only allowed to donate up to $5,000 per candidate each year. For instance, Sen. Hawley raised about $754,000 of $11.8 million from PAC and trade groups. The donations were made by executives and employees of Goldman Sachs, such as Kathy Matsui and Richard Friedman, who Breitbart reported donated nearly $105,000 to Biden's victory and action funds in June. There were about 184 separate contributions for Biden and 41 for Trump. Even CNN noted that all the major Wall Street banks were backing Biden, with Wall Street donating over $50 million to his campaign.Companies donated to the BLM movement by supporting initiatives that would help promote racial equality, such as Apple's $100M for an initiative to "challenge the systemic barriers to opportunity and dignity that exist for communities of color, and particularly for the black community," Wal-Mart's $100M for creating a new center for racial equity, and several others donating to organizations to promote social justice and education