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Goldman, JPMorgan, Citi Suspend Political Donations

Bloomberg logoBloomberg 4 days ago Yueqi Yang and Sridhar Natarajan
a man standing in front of a door: A person wearing a protective mask enters JPMorgan Chase & Co. headquarters in New York, U.S., on Monday, Sept. 21, 2020. JPMorgan CEO Dimon has made the case for a broader return, saying his firm has seen "alienation" among younger workers and that an extended stretch of working from home could bring long-term economic and social damage. © Bloomberg A person wearing a protective mask enters JPMorgan Chase & Co. headquarters in New York, U.S., on Monday, Sept. 21, 2020. JPMorgan CEO Dimon has made the case for a broader return, saying his firm has seen "alienation" among younger workers and that an extended stretch of working from home could bring long-term economic and social damage.

(Bloomberg) -- Goldman Sachs Group Inc., Citigroup Inc., Morgan Stanley and JPMorgan Chase & Co. plan to pause all political contributions, joining a growing list of companies changing or reviewing their donation policies in the aftermath of riots at the Capitol in the past week.

Goldman is still formulating its measures that will probably curtail future political giving to the elected leaders who fought to overturn the 2020 result. A representative for the firm confirmed the plan. JPMorgan, the largest U.S. bank by assets, said it’s planning a six-month suspension to both Republicans and Democrats. Citigroup said it intends to temporarily stop all political contributions in the current quarter.

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

The action from the banks followed an earlier announcement from Marriott International Inc., which said it will suspend donations to Republican senators who voted against certifying President-elect Joe Biden, after considering the “destructive events” on Wednesday.

The hotel giant was among the first corporate donors to announce the severing of financial ties with the lawmakers following the Capitol Hill riot by supporters of President Donald Trump. While much of corporate America swiftly condemned the violence, few companies have publicly vowed to cut off financial support to the elected officials that backed Trump’s baseless claims of election fraud.

“We have taken the destructive events at the Capitol to undermine a legitimate and fair election into consideration and will be pausing political giving from our Political Action Committee to those who voted against certification of the election,” a Marriott spokesperson said.

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Marriott’s decision was first reported by Popular Information, a political newsletter that surveyed 144 corporate donors about their future donation plans to the eight GOP senators who objected to election certification.

The event in the past week has triggered a backlash on politicians including Missouri Senator Josh Hawley, who supported the fraud claims and was seen saluting protesters with a fist pump before they stormed the Capitol. Citi’s Wolff said the bank gave $1,000 to his 2019 campaign, adding he represents a state where it has a sizable employee presence.

Morgan Stanley also joined its competitors, with pointed scrutiny on all members of Congress who did’t vote to certify Biden’s win by pausing its contributions to them. A Morgan Stanley spokesman confirmed the firm’s plan.

Peter Scher, JPMorgan’s head of corporate responsibility, said the focus of business, political and civic leaders now should be on governing and getting help to those needed. “There will be plenty of time for campaigning later,” Scher said in a statement on Sunday. His comment echoed those of Chief Executive Officer Jamie Dimon, who joined other heads of Wall Street’s biggest firms calling for violence to cease at the Capitol in the past week.

Marriott is closely tied to Utah Senator Mitt Romney, a former board member and a vocal critic of Trump. Romney’s connection to Marriott predates his service on the board: his given name, Willard, was in honor of J. Willard Marriott, a friend of the 2012 Republican presidential nominee’s father and founder of the hotel company.

Blue Cross Blue Shield Association, a network of insurers, and Commerce Bank owner Commerce Bancshares Inc. also told Popular Information that they are suspending all support to lawmakers who challenged the Electoral College results.

Stopping short of vowing to suspend donations, Bank of America Corp., Ford Motor Co. and AT&T Inc. said they will take recent events into consideration before any future donations. CVS Health Corp., Exxon Mobil Corp., Wells Fargo & Co. and some other donors said they are reviewing their policies on political giving.

(Adds Morgan Stanley’s plans in ninth paragraph.)

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