By Pete Schroeder
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – JPMorgan Chase & Co (NYSE 🙂 will resume political donations to U.S. lawmakers, but not to Republican members of Congress who voted to overturn President Joe Biden’s election victory, according to an internal memo on Friday seen by Reuters. .
The nation’s largest lender was one of many corporations that halted its political donations after the deadly Capitol riots on January 6, when supporters of former President Donald Trump tried to prevent Congress from certifying the elections.
Just hours later, 147 Republicans, the vast majority of them in the House of Representatives, voted to nullify Electoral College results that Trump falsely claimed were tainted by fraud.
Following a review, JPMorgan will resume donations this month through its Political Action Committee (PAC), but will continue to freeze donations to a “handful” of the 147 lawmakers it had previously supported, the bank said.
The hiatus will last until the 2021-2022 election cycle, which includes the November midterm elections, after which JPMorgan will review whether to resume contributions to interested lawmakers individually, he said.
“This was a unique and historic moment in which we believe the country needed our elected officials to put aside strongly held differences and demonstrate unity,” the bank wrote of the Jan. 6 vote to certify Biden’s victory.
So friday Citigroup (NYSE 🙂 said it was resuming PAC contributions, but did not specify how it would treat lawmakers who tried to prevent Biden from taking office.
Citigroup said it would evaluate whether to award all legislators on a case-by-case basis based on a new set of criteria that includes “character and integrity” and “a commitment to bipartisanship and democratic institutions.”
JPMorgan noted that its PAC is an important tool for participating in the political process in the United States. PACs are political committees organized for the purpose of raising funds to support or, in some cases, oppose electoral candidates.
“Democracy, by its nature, requires active participation, commitment, and commitment to people with opposing views. That is why government and business must work together,” JPMorgan wrote.
As part of its renewed spending strategy, the bank will also expand donations beyond legislators who oversee financial affairs to those who deal with matters the bank considers “moral and economic imperatives for our country,” such as addressing the gap. of racial wealth, education and criminal justice. reform.
Since the initial backlash in January, corporations have been grappling https://www.reuters.com/article/uk-usa-politics-republican-donations-ins-idUKKBN2B119B with how to resume PAC spending, which Lobbyists consider it important to gain access to policy makers, without alienating other stakeholders, including their employees who fund PACs.
Other large financial companies that stopped donations have slowly resumed spending. Morgan stanley (NYSE 🙂 ‘s PAC resumed https://www.reuters.com/article/us-morgan-stanley-pac/morgan-stanleys-pac-resumed-donations-weeks-after-capitol-riot-pause-idUSKBN2BB2B3 donations to some legislators in February, while the PAC Association of American Bankers, one of the largest in the country, began donating again in March, federal records show.
While JPMorgan did not name lawmakers in its memo, the bank’s new policy risks alienating Republicans who dominate banking policy, some of whom are already angered by its active stance on issues like climate change and the racial equity.
Of the 147 lawmakers, JPMorgan gave $ 10,000 each to House finance committee members Blaine Luetkemeyer and Lee Zeldin, and House Republican Leader Kevin McCarthy, among others, during the 2019-2020 election cycle, according to the Center for Responsive Politics (CRP). Representatives for the legislators did not respond to requests for comment.
In total, JPMorgan’s PAC gave nearly $ 1 million to candidates and federal committees that back candidates during the 2019-2020 election cycle, according to CRP.
Of the $ 600,300 it awarded to federal candidates, nearly 60% went to Republicans and the rest to Democrats, according to CRP data, a combination likely to lean more to the left as the bank backs a broader range. of social and economic policies. problems.
Commercial banks in general have increased political spending in recent years, handing out $ 14.6 million to federal candidates in the 2020 cycle, the second-highest amount since 1990, data shows.
After the 2008 financial crisis, that combination favored Republicans, but in recent years banks have increased spending on Democrats as they seek to rebuild bipartisan support in Congress.