While the violent and deadly attack on the United States Capitol last week resulted in a growing number of arrests, more than 170 investigations and the second historic indictment of a US president, it also led to a return unprecedented flame of the business world.
Five people died in the January 6 riot, including a Capitol Hill police officer, and lawmakers had to fight to find safety and hide as rioters raged in the building, delaying for several hours the Electoral College vote count which was the last step in the finalization of the US president. -select Joe Biden’s victory over Donald Trump.
Now, a long list of big companies say they will cut campaign contributions to Republicans who voted to challenge Biden’s victory.
And the amount of money involved is significant.
Businesses and industry groups have donated at least US $ 170 million since 2016 to Republicans who rejected Biden’s victory, according to a new report from a government watchdog.
Analysis by Public Citizen, a nonprofit consumer advocacy organization, examined the contributions of businesses and trade associations made since the 2016 election cycle to members of Congress who, at the behest of U.S. President Donald Trump, opposed the official certification of January 6 of November. election.
Last week, 147 Republicans in the House of Representatives and Senate voted to challenge Biden’s victory in Pennsylvania or Arizona, even though both states have already officially certified the results and election officials say he didn’t. there were no major problems with the vote.
They included the top two Republicans in the House, Kevin McCarthy and Steve Scalise, and Senator Rick Scott, who, as the new leader of the Republican National Senate Committee, will lead efforts to win back the Senate in the 2022 election. All their jobs require significant fundraising.
If companies and industry groups “decide to come together and stop contributing to these people, it will have an effect,” said Mike Tanglis, research director of Public Citizen, who co-wrote the report. Tanglis said, however, that he is “very skeptical that they will stop contributing to these people forever.”
The announcements from Amazon.com, General Electric, Dow, AT&T, Comcast, Verizon Communications, American Express, Airbnb, Cisco Systems, Best Buy, and Mastercard, among others, threaten to strangle fundraising resources for Republicans who will soon run out of power in the White House and both Houses of Congress.
AT&T and Comcast, for example, are among the largest corporate donors in Washington.
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Walmart said Tuesday that its Political Action Committee (PAC) “is indefinitely suspending contributions to members of Congress who voted against legal certification of the votes of state constituencies.” Walmart donated nearly US $ 1.2 million to federal candidates during the 2017-18 election cycle.
Major League Baseball added his name to the list on Wednesday, saying in a statement that all political contributions would be halted.
“In light of the unprecedented events of the past week on the Capitol Hill, MLB is suspending contributions from its Political Action Committee pending a review of our political contribution policy going forward,” the league said in a statement. communicated.
The Office of the Commissioners of Major League Baseball PAC donated $ 112,500 to federal candidates in 2019-2020 according to the Center for Responsive Politics, $ 66,500 to Democrats and $ 46,000 to Republicans.
Greeting card giant Hallmark said he had asked Senators Josh Hawley and Roger Marshall to return his contributions.
Hawley defends his move
Hawley was the first senator to announce a challenge to the Electoral College results, and his challenge continued even after the attack.
Faced with waning support from other long-time funders and donors, he defended himself in a newspaper column on Thursday, accusing the media and the “Washington establishment” of deceiving Americans by calling him ” insurrectional”.
The corporate announcements are a sign that some big donors, who typically spread their money widely around Capitol Hill, are re-evaluating their strategies.
Several analysts have said the boycott may not be permanent, as the need for access to Capitol Hill may ultimately outweigh the risk of being seen as an underwriter of those who weaken American democracy.
“It’s very easy to suspend campaign contributions two months after an election. The question is whether these policies will remain in place,” said Nathaniel Persily, professor of law at Stanford University.
Donations from Democrats too
Few companies have gone as far as Dow, who said he would refuse donations for the entire term of Republican lawmakers – up to six years for those in the Senate. Others have said they will temporarily withhold donations or suspend donations to Republicans and Democrats.
GE’s suspension will last until the end of 2022, and then the employee council that oversees its political action committee will consider requests for support for lawmakers who have opposed “case-by-case” certification.
Copper giant Freeport-McMoRan, Ford Motor Company, Microsoft, American Airlines, Google, Facebook, Goldman Sachs, BP, Smithfield Foods and Union Pacific have said they will temporarily halt donations to Democrats and Republicans.
On Monday night, Northrop Grumman became the first major defense contractor to temporarily halt all donations. “We are suspending the political action committee to give and assess the way forward,” a spokesperson said.
Trump’s companies are feeling the pinch
It’s not just interrupted political donations; some companies also simply decide not to work with Trump’s business ventures anymore.
The PGA of America voted on Sunday to no longer hold its 2022 championship at Trump National Golf Club Bedminster in New Jersey.
On Wednesday, New York City announced it was canceling contracts with the Trump organization. Mayor Bill De Blasio said the Trump organization makes about US $ 17 million a year from its contracts to run two ice rinks and a carousel in Central Park as well as a golf course in the Bronx.
The New York Times reported on Tuesday that Germany’s largest bank, Deutsche Bank, will no longer do business with Trump or his companies in the future.