January 22, 2021


Truly Business

Marriott, Blue Cross, and Shopify are among the companies cutting off Trump and GOP

6 min read

Marriott and Blue Cross Blue Shield are just a few of the companies that are halting donations to GOP lawmakers who objected to certifying Joe Biden as president, while other businesses move to cut ties with President Trump directly.

The actions come on the heels of Friday’s permanent suspension of Donald Trump’s Twitter account and Amazon’s move to cut off social media platform Parler’s servers in response to the violent riots that the president himself incited last week in Washington, D.C.

Bruce Freed, president of the Center for Political Accountability, noted that “this is a reaction of the moment, the question is what staying power does it have, does this really lead to a fundamental change in the way companies approach their political spending.”

His group’s mission is to push companies to be more transparent and accountable for their political spending. Freed argued that companies are just beginning to recognize that “political spending today poses a really broad risk and a deep risk that they need to manage.”

[Read more: Big donors are letting extremist Republicans off the hook]

Lawmakers introduced an article of impeachment against the President Monday, charging Trump with “incitement of insurrection” over the deadly riot at the Capitol, and could vote on it by mid-week.

Here’s a running list of the businesses that have made moves to cut off Trump’s company, the Republican party, or Washington politicians in general.

Trump’s business and campaign interests

Stripe, a private company that helps businesses process payments online, announced it would stop processing payments for the president’s campaign, according to the Wall Street Journal. A Twitter account that tracks Trump’s fundraising pitches reports that it received zero pitches from the president since last Wednesday, but the Trump campaign website is still asking visitors to contribute through a group, Winred, that gathers contributions for a range of Republicans.

Shopify (SHOP), the Canadian e-commerce company, took down stores that sold Trump merchandise online. As of Monday morning, TrumpStore.com directs viewers to the Trump organization’s own store with no campaign merchandise for sale on its front page. Shop.donaldjtrump.com had been taken offline and continued to return error messages Monday morning.

In a statement to Yahoo Finance, a Shopify spokesperson said: “The actions by President Donald J. Trump violate our Acceptable Use Policy, which prohibits promotion or support of organizations, platforms or people that threaten or condone violence to further a cause.”

A sign greets visitors to the Trump National Golf Club in Bedminster Township, New Jersey. (DON EMMERT/AFP via Getty Images)

The Professional Golf Association. The PGA Championship, one of golf’s four major tournaments, had been scheduled for President Trump’s New Jersey golf course in 2022. Not anymore. Seth Waugh, CEO of the PGA, said in an interview with the AP that “our feeling was, given the tragic events of Wednesday, that we could no longer hold it at Bedminster.” He added that the damage from a continued association with President Trump “could have been irreparable.”

A worldwide governing body for golf, the R&A, announced it “had no plans to stage any of our championships at [Trump’s course in] Turnberry and will not do so in the foreseeable future.”

A ban on giving to ‘those who voted against certification of the election’

Marriott International (MAR) “will be pausing political giving from our Political Action Committee to those who voted against certification of the election,” according to a statement from a Marriott International spokesperson. During the last election cycle, the committee had given almost $200,000 to both Republicans and Democrats, including Sen. Josh Hawley (R., Mo.) and Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R., Calif.), both of whom voted against certification even after violence had engulfed the U.S. Capitol.

SAN FRANCISCO, UNITED STATES - 2020/01/23: American multinational hospitality company Marriott hotel logo seen at one of their hotels. (Photo by Alex Tai/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images)
A Marriott hotel sign in California. (Alex Tai/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images)

Blue Cross Blue Shield Association, the health care insurance group that provides coverage for one in three Americans, also announced a pause on giving from its PAC to Republicans who had voted against certification. The association’s president and CEO, Kim Keck, announced in a statement that Blue Cross “will suspend contributions to those lawmakers who voted to undermine our democracy.” The group gave $370,950 to both parties during the last election cycle, including candidates who voted against certification, like Sen. Tommy Tuberville of Alabama and Hawley, according to the Center for Responsive Politics.

Dow Chemical (DOW) announced Monday it was “immediately suspending all corporate and employee political action committee (PAC) contributions to any member of Congress who voted to object to the certification of the presidential election.” The move is more aggressive than most in that the company laid out in a statement that the ban “will remain in place for a period of one election cycle (two years for House members; up to six years for Senators), which specifically includes contributions to the candidate’s reelection committee and their affiliated PACs.”

Hallmark, the company that makes greeting cards, even has an in-house PAC. In a statement, the company said “the recent actions of Senators Josh Hawley and Roger Marshall [of Kansas] do not reflect our company’s values,” and “requested Sens. Hawley and Marshall to return all HALLPAC campaign contributions.” HALLPAC contributed $95,500 in total during the last campaign cycle, including $5,000 to Marshall and $3,000 to Hawley.

American Express (AXP) was another company that announced in a blog post that its PAC will suspend donations to lawmakers who did not support the certification of Biden’s election victory.

Commerce Bank (CBSH), a regional bank with branches from Texas to Michigan, said in a statement that its PAC has historically contributed to both parties based on pro-business records and in response to the events of last week, “we have suspended all support for officials who have impeded the peaceful transfer of power.”

Ban on ‘all candidate giving’

Other companies announced steps to back away from giving money to all lawmakers, not just Republicans, at least for now. 147 Republicans in total — including 8 senators — voted to overturn the election results despite the violence that engulfed the Capitol.

Goldman Sachs (GS), Citigroup (C), Morgan Stanley (MS), and JPMorgan Chase (JPM) have reportedly halted all political donations for the time being, according to Bloomberg. The pause, impacting both Democrats and Republicans, appears to be temporary and would expire before fundraising for the 2022 midterm elections begins in earnest.

Jamie Dimon, Chairman & CEO of JP Morgan Chase & Co, speaks during the Bloomberg Global Business Forum  in New York on September 25, 2019. (Photo by Kena Betancur / AFP)        (Photo credit should read KENA BETANCUR/AFP via Getty Images)
Jamie Dimon, Chairman & CEO of JP Morgan Chase & Co, said in a statement on Jan. 6 that America’s leaders needed to “accept the results” (KENA BETANCUR/AFP via Getty Images)

Bank of America (BAC) has not announced an immediate pause on giving but, in a statement, noted that it contributed to both parties in the past and “in the next election cycle the PAC will review its decision-making criteria in light of the actions that contributed to the appalling violent assault on the U.S. Capitol.” During the last election, Bank of America sent money to some candidates that had voted to overturn the election, including Rep. McCarthy and Rep. Devin Nunes of California.

Throughout Monday, company after company from Blackrock (BLK) to the Vanguard Group to Smithfield Foods announced the similar measure of suspending all federal campaign donations.

Three big tech companies — Facebook (FB), Microsoft (MSFT), and Alphabet (GOOG) — also announced plans to freeze their own political spending. Facebook also locked Trump’s account until at least after his term is over and Google pulled Parler from Google Play.

Ford (F) also announced Monday that the company’s political action committee would temporarily suspend donations to consider “the need for a broader, ongoing discussion about other relevant considerations when it comes to our employee PAC,” the company told the Detroit Free Press.

Companies have long had in-house PACs that have been used to contribute money to a wide range of politicians and political causes to curry favor. The big question, according to Freed, is whether the downside of these contributions now outweighs the benefits.

“Is this such a shock that it really changes the DNA or the brain structure on this, or do they go back to business as usual?” he said. “We’ll have to see.”

This story will continue to be updated.

Ben Werschkul is a writer and producer for Yahoo Finance in Washington, DC.

Read more:

Twitter shares tumble more than 10% after site permanently bans Trump

‘Chaos was breaking out’: Rep. Maloney’s view of Capitol violence

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