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Companies pull back political giving following Capitol violence

Marriott International, Dow, Airbnb and Morgan Stanley were among those that said they would halt donations from their political action committees, or PACs, to the 147 Republican members of Congress who objected to certifying the election results on Jan. 6. The plans to object to the results appear to have contributed to the deadly storming of the Capitol that day. AT&T, whose PAC donated the most of any single public company in the 2019-20 election cycle, also said it would suspend contributions to those lawmakers.

... Facebook, Microsoft, Coca-Cola, Citigroup, JPMorgan and Goldman Sachs said they were pausing PAC donations to both Republican and Democratic candidates for various lengths of time — a tactic that will also penalize those who voted to uphold the election... [I]t was not clear how long the pause would last — the first quarter is the slowest period of the cycle — and whether the companies would quietly roll back the changes after public attention had shifted.

... “Corporate PAC money is usually an arm of the lobbying interests of the corporation and is used to buy access and influence,” said Fred Wertheimer, president of Democracy 21, which advocates for campaign finance reform. “If that were to fundamentally change, and if small donors became a much bigger part of financing elections, we could potentially face a fundamental change in the financing of elections.”

... Dow, which took some of the strongest steps, said it was suspending donations for at least two or six years, depending on the lawmaker’s election cycle, “to any member of Congress who voted to object to the certification of the presidential election.” Hallmark requested the return of campaign contributions that its PAC made to Senators Josh Hawley of Missouri and Roger Marshall of Kansas, who both voted against certifying the presidential election results. “Hallmark believes the peaceful transition of power is part of the bedrock of our democratic system, and we abhor violence of any kind,” the company said in a statement.

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