Big U.S. companies slash donations to politicians after Trump election challenge

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None of the political action committees of 10 major companies reviewed by Reuters, including Microsoft Corp (NASDAQ:MSFT), Walmart (NYSE:WMT) Inc, AT&T Inc (NYSE:T) and Comcast Corp (NASDAQ:CMCSA), donated to any of the 147 congressional Republicans who voted to support Trump’s claims just hours after his supporters launched a deadly assault on the U.S. Capitol.

Disclosures to the Federal Election Commission ahead of a Saturday filing deadline showed the group of corporate PACs affiliated with those 10 companies made $13,000 in new donations to candidates in January. The reports were the first by the PACs to detail contributions made since the Jan. 6 Capitol attack.

The money donated during the month was less than one-tenth the roughly $190,000 the 10 company PACs gave candidates in January 2017, and tiny relative to the roughly $10 million donated to candidates during the 2019-2020 election season. The 147 lawmakers who voted to overturn President Joe Biden’s victory had received more than $2 million from those 10 PACs during the last two-year political cycle.

Only committees tied to two of the companies – General Electric (NYSE:GE) Co and American Express Co (NYSE:AXP) – reported any new giving to federal candidates in January.

American Express’ PAC gave $5,000 to Republican Senator John Thune of South Dakota, while GE’s gave $5,000 to Representative Adam Kinzinger of Illinois, a prominent Republican Trump critic, and $1,000 to Representative Rick Larsen of Washington, a Democrat.

Political giving usually slows down in the months after a U.S. general election and money from corporate political action committees is a small slice of the funds raised by political campaigns.

But the paucity of corporate-affiliated giving in January points to a slower start in one corner of political finance ahead of the 2022 midterm elections.

Corporate PACs cannot donate money from the company treasury but generally serve as a conduit for contributions from managers and shareholders.

Committees affiliated with Best Buy, State Street Corp (NYSE:STT), Dow Inc and Nike Inc (NYSE:NKE) did not report new donations to any candidates in January.

While more than a thousand PACs are associated with corporate America, the 10 reviewed by Reuters include major companies which made clear public statements that they would throttle back donations following the Jan. 6 Capitol attack.

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