Businesses rethink political donations after Capitol siege


PTI, Jan 11, 2021, 9:22 AM IST

Washington: Businesses are rethinking political contributions in the wake of the deadly Capitol siege by President Donald Trump”s supporters last week.

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 USD 1,000 to the campaign of Senator Josh Hawley (R-MO), who represents a state in which Citi has a lot of employees.

In all, Citi”s political action committee donated USD 742,000 to federal candidates in 2019-2020 according to OpenSecrets, a group that tracks political donations. Of this, USD 413,500 — or about 56 per cent — 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 nations best known health insurance brands, meanwhile, said its 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 groups 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 USD 108,500 to Democrats and USD 89,500 to Republicans in the 2019-2020 federal election cycle, according to OpenSecrets.

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