JPMorgan and Citigroup be part of US firms and droop political donations

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 and Citigroup were among the first major financial firms to say they would pause political action committee donations after supporters of President Trump besieged the U.S. Capitol last week.

JPMorgan, the largest US bank by assets, is suspending contributions to Republicans and Democrats “at least” for the next six months, according to spokesman Steve O’Halloran. The New York-based bank will use this time to review possible changes to its policy giving.

“The country is facing unprecedented health, economic and political crises,” Peter Scher, director of corporate responsibility at JPMorgan, said in a statement to CNBC. “The focus of business leaders, political leaders and heads of state right now should be on governing and receiving help from those who need it most. There will be plenty of time for campaigning later.”

Spurred on by the January 6 riot in which five people lost their lives, companies like Marriott International and the Blue Cross Blue Shield insurance group announced that Republican lawmakers campaigning to suspend the certification of President-elect Joe no more money to give Biden’s victory. But instead of targeting, and possibly alienating, Republican Party members, the banks have instead decided to stop donating to all lawmakers, at least for now.

The steps were part of the larger aftermath of a shameful episode that forced American businesses to grapple with the reaction. 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 pool employee donations and can forward up to $ 5,000 per election to a candidate and $ 15,000 annually to each national party committee. Because the money is raised from voluntary employee contributions, the move bypasses federal laws that prohibit companies from giving money directly to candidates.

Citigroup is also pausing PAC donations 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 supporting candidates who do not respect the rule of law,” Candi Wolff, director of global government affairs, 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.

Representatives from Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley and Wells Fargo did not immediately respond to news over the weekend.

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