AT&T, JPMorgan, Coca-Cola Withdraw Political Donations Following Capitol Riots
Companies have spent four years grappling with the volatile Mr. Trump and how best to react to his unpredictable actions, some of which went against the values of their employees and customers. After Mr. Trump refused to embark on a smooth transition, many business leaders began a more sustained conversation about what they could do, if any.
On November 23, more than 160 executives signed a letter demanding a swift presidential transition. Some leaders have discussed withholding donations from Republican Senate candidates in Georgia if party leaders don’t do more to ease the transition.
On January 5, the day before the violence on Capitol Hill, senior executives from Merck, Disney, Pfizer, Morgan Stanley and others revisited the notion of withholding tax in an appeal with historians and constitutional scholars, two said. people who participated in the call. . A survey of call participants showed that 100% thought it was a good idea to privately warn lobbyists that their companies would no longer support election “deniers”, according to a copy of the survey results obtained by the New York Times. Yet no concrete plan has emerged.
That changed after Wednesday.
Early Thursday, calls were made for companies to end their support for Republican lawmakers who backed Mr. Trump’s agenda during his tenure or opposed the certification of the election. Steve Schmidt, co-founder of the Lincoln Project, a group of conservatives critical of Mr. Trump, said in a Twitter message that his organization “will lead a brutal lobbying campaign on business,” targeting the boards of directors, CEOs and companies that helped fund the politicians who may have triggered the attacks on Capitol Hill. His group had previously lobbied Citi, AT&T and Charles Schwab for their support of Mr Hawley and Mr Cruz, who had taken on leadership roles in opposing voter certification.
In an interview on Monday, Mr Schmidt said companies – including banks like Citi and JPMorgan – that had halted all political donations instead of focusing specifically on opponents were missing the essentials.
“The problem is not to suspend all political donations,” he said. “The issue is not even to suspend all donations to the conservatives who have largely supported Donald Trump. The problem is to suspend donations to seditionists, to people who incited the insurgency. “
In the past, major banks have withheld political donations to express their disapproval, usually only temporarily. In 2015, Goldman Sachs and PNC Financial Services suspended donations to Scott Garrett, a Republican in an influential position on the House Financial Services Committee, after opposing Republican congressional candidates who were gay. That same year, representatives from Citi, JPMorgan and other major banks gathered to talk about a coordinated freeze on donations to Senate Democrats to express their disapproval of Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren, a harsh criticism of the big banks.
Lauren Hirsch contributed reports.