Jamie Dimon, CEO of JPMorgan Chase & Co., second left, overhears during a House Financial Services Committee hearing in Washington, D.C., USA, on April 10, 2019.
Andrew Harrer | Bloomberg | Getty Images
JPMorgan Chase and Citigroup were among the first major financial companies to say they will interrupt donations to political action committees after followers of President Trump besieged the US Capitol last week.
According to spokesman Steve O’Halloran, JPMorgan, the largest US bank by assets, is pausing contributions for both Republicans and Democrats for “at least” the next six months. The New York-based bank will use that time to consider possible changes in its political donation strategies.
“The country is facing unprecedented health, economic and political crises,” Peter Scher, JPMorgan’s chief of corporate responsibility, said in a statement to The Washington City Times. “The focus of business leaders, political leaders and civil leaders should now be on running and getting help to those who need it most now. There will be plenty of time to campaign later.”
Spurred on by the January 6 riots that left five people dead, companies including Marriott International and the Blue Cross Blue Shield insurance group have said they would stop giving money to Republican lawmakers who supported efforts to get the certification of elected president Joe. Biden’s win. But banks, instead of targeting and potentially alienating members of the Republican Party, have instead stopped donating to all lawmakers, at least for now.
The moves were part of the bigger fallout of an embarrassing episode that forced American companies to come to terms with how to respond. Technology companies such as Twitter, Facebook and Amazon have taken steps to limit the spread of disinformation that could incite more violence.
Political action committees pool donations from employees and can spend up to $ 5,000 per election on a candidate, as well as $ 15,000 per year on a national party committee. Since the money will be raised from voluntary contributions from employees, the move bypasses federal laws that prohibit companies from giving money directly to candidates.
Citigroup is also pausing PAC donations to all lawmakers during the first quarter, the bank said in an internal communication to employees Friday.
“We want you to be sure we do not support candidates who do not respect the rule of law,” Candi Wolff, head of global government affairs, said in the memo. “We plan to pause our contributions during the quarter as the country moves through the presidential transition and hopefully emerge stronger and more united from these events.”
Bank of America spokesman Bill Halldin said the “terrible violent attack on the Capitol” will play a role in donation decisions for the 2022 midterm elections.
Representatives from Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley and Wells Fargo did not immediately respond to messages over the weekend.
This story develops. Please check again for updates.