Charlotte employers pause political contributions following Capitol riots

Charlotte employers pause political contributions following Capitol riots
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Some large Charlotte employers are suspending political donations or reviewing their policies following the riots at the U.S. Capitol last week.

  • Bank of America, Duke Energy, and Wells Fargo are suspending all political donations in the immediate future.
  • Eight political action committees (PACs) with ties to Charlotte’s largest companies had sent about $200,000 to Republicans who objected to the confirmation of Joe Biden’s election as president, the Charlotte Observer reported.

Why it matters: This kind of reaction from corporations is unprecedented. Corporate America has long been a major benefactor of the GOP and the policies it supports, such as deregulation.

  • But companies are deciding they no longer want to to be associated with certain candidates or ideologies.
  • Losing that kind of financial backing could weigh on candidates’ competitiveness moving forward.

The big picture: These moves underscore how “the politics of pandering to the mob have become too dangerous for many of America’s business leaders,” as Axios reported. [Go deeper]

  • Elsewhere in the U.S., Best Buy, Disney, and Nike say they’ll no longer support members of Congress who voted to decertify the Electoral College results.

The following Republicans from North Carolina were among the House representatives opposing the results: Dan Bishop, Ted Budd, Madison Cawthorn, Virginia Foxx, Richard Hudson, Greg Murphy, and David Rouzer.

    Corporate donations to PACs tend to favor stability, says Eric Heberlig, professor of political science at UNC Charlotte. They’re less likely to support anti-establishment or ideologically extreme Republicans.

    • “What’ll come out of this is they will reinforce those trends, and focus their financial support on mainstream Republicans and moderate Democrats,” Heberlig said.

    Here’s what local employers are doing and saying:

    Wells Fargo’s PAC will pause political contributions and review its strategy as the new administration takes over, spokesman Josh Dunn said.

    • “We will take into consideration the actions of elected officials who objected to the Electoral College vote and we urge members of all political parties to work together in a bipartisan fashion to help our nation heal,” Dunn added.

    Truist is carefully reviewing its practices “to assure that Truist exclusively supports candidates who advance unity and democracy,” spokesman Kyle Tarrance said.

    Bank of America is halting political donations to all members of Congress, spokesman Mark Pipitone said.

    Duke Energy is pausing all of its federal political contributions, too.

    • “We’re taking this very seriously,” spokesman Neil Nissan said. “The way members of Congress conducted themselves will be an important consideration for future support.”

    Honeywell has an advisory board that meets regularly to review contributions from the company’s PAC, spokesman Eric Krantz said.

    • This group assesses a number of factors, including whether proposed recipients align with Honeywell’s values, as well as whether they “demonstrate a commitment to bipartisanship and upholding the democratic process,” he added.

    Important details to watch are how long these suspensions last, and how they affect candidates who weren’t part of the decertification efforts.

    • “You have Democrats complaining about the announcement saying ‘We pushed back against this. We shouldn’t be punished,'” Heberlig said.

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