International financial titans Goldman Sachs, JP Morgan Chase and Citigroup have joined a growing number of such firms suspending political donations. These donations are carried out through their official political action committees or PACs.
These acts are being attributed to concern about being too closely involved with certain political causes and specific politicians in the wake of last week’s assault on the capitol. There is nothing new about big business making political donations to both major parties and their candidates for various offices. But since the Citizens United Supreme Court decision these organizations rely more on political action committees which state that they are about certain individual issues and not politics in general.
In this way anyone can donate more than the legal limit for campaign donations, as long as they do not coordinate with a specific campaign. But this has come under criticism in recent years and now that the Democrats have retaken both the White House and both houses of the Congress corporations and financial firms may be concerned about increase government scrutiny over their political activities.
“The country is facing unprecedented health, economic and political crises,” said JPMorgan’s head of corporate responsibility Peter Scher. “The focus of business leaders, political leaders, civic leaders right now should be on governing and getting help to those who desperately need it most right now. There will be plenty of time for campaigning later.”
The New York Times has reported that Citigroup’s head of government affairs Candi Wolff wrote in an internal memo that the firm is putting all campaign contributions on hold for a quarter. “We want you to be assured that we will not support candidates who do not respect the rule of law,” she wrote.
Goldman Sachs has not put a time limit on its freeze on political donations. The Times also reported that a Goldman Sachs spokesman told it that the firm will conduct, “a thorough assessment of how people acted during this period,”
Other banks and financial firms suspending political donations include Blue Cross Blue Shield, Boston Scientific, Commerce Bancshares, Bank of America and Wells Fargo.