Jamie Dimon, CEO of JPMorgan Chase & Co., second from left, listens during a House Financial Services Committee hearing in Washington, DC, USA on Wednesday April 10, 2019.
Andrew Harrer | Bloomberg | Getty Images
JPMorgan Chase, Goldman Sachs and Citigroup were among the first major financial firms to say they withheld political donations after supporters of President Trump besieged the U.S. Capitol last week.
JPMorgan, the largest US bank by assets, is pausing its Republican and Democratic political action committee contributions “at least” for the next six months, said spokesman Steve O’Halloran. The New York-based bank will use this time to consider changes to its policy giving.
“The country is facing unprecedented health, economic and political crises,” said Peter Scher, Head of Corporate Responsibility at JPMorgan, Peter Scher. “The focus of business leaders, political leaders and heads of state right now should be on governing and getting help those who need it most right now. There will be plenty of time for campaigning later.”
Spurred on by Wednesday’s uprising that resulted in five deaths, companies like Marriott International and Blue Cross Blue Shield said they would stop giving money to Republican lawmakers who aid efforts to disrupt President-elect Joe Biden’s certification of victory . But most banks have instead decided to stop donating to all lawmakers for the time being, rather than targeting and possibly alienating Republican Party members.
The moves were part of the larger aftermath of an insurrection that forced American companies to come to terms with how to react. Technology companies like Twitter, Facebook and Amazon have taken steps to limit the spread of disinformation that could lead to more violence.
Political action committees allow companies to circumvent federal laws that prohibit them from giving money directly to candidates. They pool employee volunteer donations and can forward up to $ 5,000 per election to a candidate and $ 15,000 annually to each national party committee.
Only Morgan Stanley made it clear that there will be no donations to members of Congress who oppose certification of Biden’s electoral college, according to one person with knowledge of the situation. The firm will continue to contribute to other lawmakers, the person said.
Goldman Sachs put all PAC donations on hold at the Capitol “in view of what happened” last week, spokesman Jake Siewert said in an email. The ban is expected to last six months, he said.
Citigroup is also pausing its contributions to all legislators in the first quarter, the bank informed employees in an internal message on Friday.
“We want you to be sure that we are not sponsoring candidates who do not respect the rule of law,” Candi Wolff, director of global government affairs for Citi, said in the memo. “We intend to pause our contributions during the quarter while the country goes through the presidential change and hopefully emerges from these events stronger and more unified.”
Bank of America spokesman Bill Halldin said the “appalling violent attack on the US Capitol” will affect donation decisions for the 2022 midterm election.
Wells Fargo “is reviewing its strategy for the Political Action Committee in the light of the terrible and tragic events of the past week,” said Jennifer Dunn, a bank spokeswoman, in a statement.