By Brody Mullins and Drew FitzGerald
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.
AT&T Inc., ConocoPhillips, Dow Inc., Facebook Inc. and
United Parcel Service Inc. were among companies announcing Monday
that they are halting or reviewing campaign donations from their
political action committees to lawmakers and political
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.
Dallas-based AT&T, one of the biggest corporate lobbyists,
said its federal PAC's board "decided to suspend contributions to
members of Congress who voted to object to the certification of
Electoral College votes last week." It wasn't immediately clear how
long the suspension will last.
Hallmark Cards Inc. went a step further, asking two Republican
senators who objected to the Electoral College votes, Josh Hawley
of Missouri and Roger Marshall of Kansas, to refund PAC donations
it made in prior elections.
"Hallmark believes the peaceful transition of power is part of
the bedrock of our democratic system, and we abhor violence of any
kind," the greeting-card company said, adding that its PAC is
reviewing its contribution guidelines. Hallmark's move was earlier
reported by Popular Information, a newsletter.
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 and could signal a broader desire on the part
of business to distance itself from Washington -- at least
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
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
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
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 Group Inc.,
said it is temporarily halting donations, and JP Morgan said it is
pausing donations for six months.
Other companies said they are reviewing their procedures for
political donations, but will continue to give money through their
Marriott and Mastercard Inc. 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 voted to challenge election results.
Oil-giant ConocoPhillips said it is halting PAC donations, as
well as corporate donations to other campaign entities, such as a
political fund that supports Mr. McCarthy.
In the 2020 election, ConocoPhillips donated $500,000 to the
Congressional Leadership Fund, which supports the election of all
"In light of the Congress's recent vote on the certification of
the electoral results, ConocoPhillips has suspended all political
contributions for at least six months," it said in a statement.
--Emily Glazer and Theo Francis contributed to this article.
Write to Brody Mullins at firstname.lastname@example.org and Drew
FitzGerald at email@example.com
(END) Dow Jones Newswires
January 11, 2021 16:59 ET (21:59 GMT)
Copyright (c) 2021 Dow Jones & Company, Inc.