Marriott, Citigroup among businesses pausing U.S. political donations after Capitol siege

Businesses are rethinking political contributions in the wake of the deadly U.S. Capitol siege by President Donald Trump’s supporters on Wednesday.

Citigroup confirmed Sunday that it is pausing all federal political donations for the first three months of the year. Others, such as Marriott, are only stopping donations to the 147 Republicans who opposed certifying president-elect Joe Biden’s election.

In a memo to employees Friday, Citi’s head of global government affairs, Candi Wolff, said, “we want you to be assured that we will not support candidates who do not respect the rule of law.

“We support engaging with our political leaders even when we disagree, and our PAC is an important tool for that engagement,” Wolff wrote, adding that the company in 2019 donated $1,000 US to the campaign of Republican Sen. Josh Hawley, who represents Missouri, a state in which Citi has a lot of employees.

In all, Citi’s political action committee donated $742,000 to federal candidates in 2019-2020, according to OpenSecrets, a group that tracks political donations. Of this, $413,500 — or about 56 per cent — went to Republicans and the rest to Democrats.

Unlike other companies, Citi says it is pausing all federal contributions. Medical device maker Boston Scientific said Sunday it is doing the same while it reviews its approach to political donations. The company said it believes in “respecting the integrity of the democratic process, the election outcome and the peaceful transition of power.”

Blue Cross Blue Shield suspends contributions

Meanwhile, the trade group representing one of the nation’s best-known health insurance brands said it’s suspending political contributions to lawmakers who voted last week to reject the electoral college results that cemented Joe Biden’s victory over Trump in the November election.

The Blue Cross Blue Shield Association represents 36 regional and local insurers who use the brand, together covering about one in three Americans.

Trump supporters breached security and violently entered the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6 as Congress debated the 2020 electoral vote certification. (Saul Loeb/AFP via Getty Images)

In a statement, Kim Keck, the group’s CEO and president, said it will continue to support lawmakers and candidates in both political parties who “will work with us to build a stronger, healthier nation.”

Hotel giant Marriott said Sunday it has taken “the destructive events at the Capitol to undermine a legitimate and fair election into consideration” and will pause political donations to those who voted against certification of the election.

The company’s PAC has donated $108,500 to Democrats and $89,500 to Republicans in the 2019-2020 federal election cycle, according to OpenSecrets.

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