By Brody Mullins 

WASHINGTON -- A growing wave of big businesses are deciding to suspend or review their campaign donations in the wake of last week's riot at the Capitol by supporters of President Trump.

Dow Inc., Goldman Sachs Group Inc. and Facebook Inc. are among companies saying on Monday that they are halting or reviewing campaign donations from their political action committees to lawmakers and political candidates.

Those announcements follow JPMorgan Chase Inc. and Citigroup Inc., which said over the weekend they were halting their PAC donations, while others like Marriott International Inc. and Blue Cross Blue Shield Associations pledged to stop donations to the Republican lawmakers who objected to President-elect Joe Biden's victory in the Electoral College.

"Last week's attempts by some congressional members to subvert the presidential election results and disrupt the peaceful transition of power do not align" with company values, said American Express Inc. Chief Executive Stephen Squeri in a memo sent to employees Monday, announcing the company's decision to suspend PAC donations to more than 100 congressional Republicans who voted to challenge the election results.

Decisions by companies to review or suspend their PAC donations is the most recent sign of corporate unease with moves by Republicans to call into question Mr. Biden's victory in the 2020 presidential election.

The decisions may represent a widening fissure between the Republican Party and big business. Many Republican lawmakers adopted more populist stances on business issues such as trade and immigration policy in recent years, positions that have sometimes put them in conflict with the party's longtime allies in industry.

Chemical giant Dow said it would suspend PAC contributions "to any member of Congress who voted to object to the certification of the presidential election" through the end of each elected official's election cycle, which is up to six years for some senators. "Dow is committed to the principles of democracy and the peaceful transfer of power," the company said.

Corporate PACs are just one slice of the political fundraising efforts, and Washington is in the midst of a transition between administrations, a slow time for fundraising. Most PACs donate to candidates closer to elections. Also, many of the dinners and fundraising events that would typically happen in connection with a presidential inauguration have been put off because of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Corporate PACs are funded by volunteer donations from management-level employees and doled out to candidates by executives, usually in consultation with their lobbyists. PAC donations are an important source of money for incumbent lawmakers in both political parties, particularly Republicans in recent years.

In the 2020 election, Republican candidates and committees received a total of $205 million in campaign donations from corporate PACs, according to campaign-finance data compiled by the nonpartisan Center for Responsive Politics. Democratic candidates and causes received $155 million from corporate PACs.

Money from corporate PACs helped Republicans make up a deficit in campaign donations from other sources in the last election. The Democratic Party and its candidates received nearly 60% of the $3.6 billion donated by corporate executives in the 2020 election, according to the data.

Last week's votes by some Republicans to challenge the Electoral College process has prompted many companies to rethink donations from their PACs. Some companies, such as Goldman Sachs, said it is temporarily halting donations, and JP Morgan said it is pausing donations for six months.

FedEx Corp., which for years has operated one of the largest corporate PACs, said, "We are reviewing all future political contributions." The company added: "We condemn the violence that occurred in Washington, D.C., and fully support the results of the U.S. general election."

FedEx made $984,000 in PAC donations in the 2020 election. About 52% of the contributions went to Democrats during that period.

Other companies said they are reviewing their procedures for political donations, but will continue to give money through their PACs.

Still others like Marriott and Mastercard Inc. have said they would stop giving to the Republicans whose votes they deemed to undermine the electoral process. More than 100 Republicans in the House voted to challenge the election results in certain states last week. Those Republicans included two of the party's top leaders, including House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy of California. A handful of Senate Republicans, including Texas Sen. Ted Cruz and Missouri Sen. Josh Hawley, voted to challenge election results.

--Emily Glazer, Drew FitzGerald and Theo Francis contributed to this article.

Write to Brody Mullins at brody.mullins@wsj.com

 

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

January 11, 2021 15:49 ET (20:49 GMT)

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