Businesses rethink political donations after Capitol siege

Business

Businesses are rethinking political contributions in the wake of the deadly Capitol siege by President Donald Trump’s supporters on Wednesday.

Citigroup confirmed Sunday that it is pausing all federal political donations for the first three months of the year. Others, like Marriott, are only stopping donations to the 147 Republicans who opposed certifying President-elect Joe Biden’s election.

In a memo to employees Friday, Citi’s head of global government affairs Candi Wolff said “we want you to be assured that we will not support candidates who do not respect the rule of law.”

“We support engaging with our political leaders even when we disagree, and our PAC is an important tool for that engagement,” Wolff wrote, adding that the company in 2019 donated $1,000 to the campaign of Sen. Josh Hawley (R-MO), who represents a state in which Citi has a lot of employees.

In all, Citi’s political action committee donated $742,000 to federal candidates in 2019-2020 according to OpenSecrets, a group that tracks political donations. Of this, $413,500 — or about 56% — went to Republicans and the rest to Democrats.

Unlike other companies, Citi says it is pausing all federal contributions. Medical device maker Boston Scientific said Sunday it is doing the same, while it reviews its approach to political donations. The company said it believes in “respecting the integrity of the democratic process, the election outcome and the peaceful transition of power.”

The trade group representing one of the nation’s best known health insurance brands, meanwhile, said it’s suspending political contributions to lawmakers who voted last week to reject the Electoral College results that cemented Democrat Joe Biden’s victory over President Donald Trump in the November election.

The Blue Cross Blue Shield Association represents 36 regional and local insurers who use the brand, together covering about 1 in 3 Americans.

In a statement, Kim Keck, the group’s CEO and president, says it will continue to support lawmakers and candidates in both political parties who “will work with us to build a stronger, healthier nation.”

Hotel giant Marriott said Sunday it has taken “the destructive events at the Capitol to undermine a legitimate and fair election into consideration” and will be pause political donations to those who voted against certification of the election.

The company’s PAC has donated $108,500 to Democrats and $89,500 to Republicans in the 2019-2020 federal election cycle, according to OpenSecrets.

Copyright 2021 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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