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Hello. Businesses stop donations to members of Congress who supported overturning election results.
Big corporations and their lobbyists usually try to avoid disorderly political battles. Companies prefer to work behind the scenes, donating money to both political parties and quietly influencing tax policy, spending and regulation.
But President Trump’s efforts to reverse the presidential election result – and the violent attack on Congress by his supporters – have created a dilemma for many businesses. A growing number have decided they weren’t, at least for now, willing to back members of Congress who backed Trump’s efforts to change the election outcome and promoted lies about voter fraud.
Over the weekend, several large companies – Marriott, Blue Cross Blue Shield and Commerce Bancshares – announced a donation suspension to members of Congress who voted against voter certification. Yesterday the list expanded to Amazon, AT&T, Comcast, Airbnb, Mastercard, Verizon and Dow, the chemical company. Hallmark even demanded his money from two of the senators opposed to certification, Josh Hawley and Roger Marshall.
In the Senate, the temporary donation ban will also affect Rick Scott of Florida, Ted Cruz of Texas and a few other members. In the house, the group includes more than half of the Republican caucus, including its two main leaders, Kevin McCarthy and Steve Scalise.
“We have to create a certain level of cost”, Thomas glocer, a member of the board of directors of Morgan Stanley and Merck, told the Wall Street Journal. “Money is the key.”
The National Manufacturers Association, long one of the most conservative business lobby groups, has been particularly harsh. he called Republicans who “cheered” Trump on his “disgusting” effort to overthrow the election, which he said had “ignited a violent anger”. The association added: “This is sedition and should be treated as such.”
Yet many large companies have not announced any change. (And other companies, like Goldman Sachs and parent company Google, have announced a hiatus on all political donations – a measure that appears designed to prevent public criticism while not angering politicians who support attempted voter fraud.)
McDonald’s and the tobacco company Altria, which are part Top 20 McCarthy Donors, the Republican House leader, did not announce the end of donations to any member of Congress. Bank of America (a major donor to Scott), although he said he would “reconsider his decision-making”.
Well-connected law firm Squire Patton Boggs also hasn’t announced any policy changes. He has given to Paul Gosar, a member of the Arizona House who helped promote the rally on January 6 which turned violent, Tweeter “#FightForTrump” and “The time has come. Stay on the line.”
What’s the bottom line? I asked Andrew Ross Sorkin, the Times columnist who spent two decades covering business leaders, and he said the ads were “temporary defensive measures.” The real question was whether, in six months, companies would resume donating to politicians who supported overturning a presidential election.
For more, read Andrew’s latest column, which pleads for a permanent end to corporate political donations.
(Following the publication of this newsletter, Squire Patton Boggs announced that he was suspending donations to all politicians, whether or not they support the overturning of the election result.)
THE LAST NEWS
A morning reading: Visit the Roman Emperor Caligula’s pleasure garden, where frescoes and peacock bones tell extraordinary stories.
From the review: It is in the long term best interests of Republicans to impeach Trump, Bret stephens written. Michelle goldberg argues that while social media companies were right to ban Trump, they are wielding too much power.
Lives lived: Viewers met Pat Loud in 1973 as a loving, loud, spiritual, resilient, and at times angry and hurtful matriarch at the center of what is now considered the first reality TV show: “An American Family” on PBS. She died at the age of 94.
ARTS AND IDEAS
What Comey says now – and what he doesn’t
Reviews of James Comey’s new memoirs, “Save justice”, are in it, and they mixed. In The Times, author Joe Klein calls it “a light and repetitive book, but not insignificant.” The book comes at the right time, with its central emphasis on “the national descent of strict factual truth,” Klein writes.
Fifth Jurecic, in the Washington Post, says the book is both an exploration of the values Trump tried to pervert and an explanation of the importance of those values. The result, she writes, is “more of a user’s manual for the court system” than a brief.
Among the book’s biggest drawbacks: Comey’s lack of introspection on the Hillary Clinton email affair in 2016. He refuses to acknowledge the mistake or engage in the harshest criticisms of his decision to publish the investigation, against the policy of the Department of Justice. All he will admit, as Klein writes, are “sins of honesty.”