POLITICS

Wave of companies cut off donations — much of it to GOP

A wave of corporations on Monday said they would cut off donations to any politicians who opposed the Electoral College results, putting new pressure on Republicans to break with President Trump and end their attacks on the election.

Blue Cross Blue Shield Association said it would suspend contributions to lawmakers who “voted to undermine our democracy.” Separately, in an internal email obtained by The Hill, it said it will not give its annual contributions to the National Republican Congressional Committee, which is the House GOP’s campaign arm, or the Republican National Committee, which is led by President Trump’s hand-picked chair, Ronna McDaniel

“At this time we are pausing all political giving to any Member who objected to the certification of the election. Also I do not want us to give our annual contributions to the NRCC or the RNC at this time — and please let me know if there are other contributions we should pause at this time,” the email said. 

Marriott will be suspending donations to the GOP senators who objected to certifying President-elect Joe Biden’s victory and said it will judge other donations based on which lawmakers oversee leadership political action committees (PACs).

“[W]hile we occasionally give to leadership or other industry PACs, the majority of our contributions are directly to candidates. If someone on this list oversees a Leadership PAC, we will not support it so long as this policy is in place,” a Marriott International spokesperson told The Hill.

Oil giant BP also announced a halt in all political donations.

“The bp employee political action committee will pause all contributions for six months. During this time the PAC will reevaluate its criteria for candidate support,” the company said in a tweet. 

A majority of House Republicans voted to throw out the results of Arizona and Pennsylvania. Just a handful of Senate Republicans joined them. No Democrats did so.

Multiple companies, including Goldman Sachs, JPMorgan Chase, Citigroup and Mastercard, also have said they will temporarily stop making all political contributions to lawmakers of both parties.

Some GOP lawmakers said they believe that the pause in donations will be temporary. 

“This is a temporary issue that will quickly disappear when corporate America sees how extreme the agenda is of the Democrats who now have complete unchecked power in Washington,” one Republican member told The Hill. “They will be running to NRCC and CLF by March or April.” 

But others fear the vote could prove to have a long-term impact on the GOP’s fundraising abilities. 

They say corporate donors may not shift their plans given the gravity of the attack on the Capitol. Video has made clearer with each day that police officers were violently attacked by a mob stirred up by President Trump.

One officer was killed, and a woman was shot just off the House floor as she tried to get through a broken window to reach the Speaker’s gallery near where lawmakers cast their votes.

Threats against Vice President Pence were heard, and members of the mob broke into the offices of Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and other leadership.

Despite the attacks, a majority of the House GOP voted to throw out the results of the Electoral College in Arizona and Pennsylvania after the Capitol’s sacking. These members included House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (Calif.) and House Minority Whip Steve Scalise (La.).

Rep. Liz Cheney (Wyo.), the third-ranking House Republican, opposed the efforts to throw out the results. So did Rep. Tom Emmer (Minn.), the chairman of the House GOP’s campaign arm.

A series of court decisions have found no widespread fraud in the election, and the Supreme Court has sided against the Trump campaign. State GOP officials in a number of battleground states also have said there is no substance to Trump’s claims.

Yet many believe those claims. A growing number of observers, including government officials in both parties, see a link between those stirring up the talk of voter fraud and the attack on the Capitol.

“The violence and loss of life make this different. It shows there are consequences for not following the Constitution and a peaceful transition of power,” another lawmaker said.  

Companies that gave in the 2020 cycle to the Congressional Leadership Fund (CLF), which is the super PAC dedicated to winning a Republican majority in the House, are among those halting all donations.

Marathon Petroleum, which gave $2 million to CLF and $500,000 to the Republican’s Senate Leadership Fund, is pausing all contributions.

“The violence that took place at the Capitol was appalling, and we condemn it unequivocally. We’re glad Congress was able to resume its important work toward the lawful transition to the Biden-Harris administration,” a spokesperson told The Hill.

ConocoPhillips, which gave $500,000 to CLF, said it has suspended all political contributions for at least six months “in light of the Congress’s recent vote on the certification of the Electoral College results.”

Trade groups such as the Managed Funds Association, which represents the hedge fund industry, paused all PAC contributions. Executives from corporations including Blackstone and Charles Schwab gave more than $5 million to CLF in 2020, but none of that was corporate PAC donations. 

Charles Schwab though told The Hill its PAC will halt all contributions to any lawmakers for the remainder of 2021.

Doug Heye, a longtime GOP strategist and former RNC communications director, noted that corporations generally seek to separate themselves from controversy.

He said no one should be surprised by corporations seeking distance from those seen as fomenting Wednesday’s attack.

He also said individual members are likely to feel more pain than organizations such as the NRCC and CLF.

A former Republican campaign official said rank-and-file members could also see more pain than leaders.

“I think it’s a concern for individual members, your rank-and-file members who rely more heavily on PAC contributions,” the former Republican campaign official said. “The leaders get a good amount of money from PACs but I think their contribution base is a little bit more varied.”

Per: The Hill

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