Of course, not all those corporate suspensions appropriately met the crime. Many of them stopped all political giving indefinitely while they reviewed the policy (holds finger up to the wind). Some, such as Microsoft, have since taken a decisive stand and said they are halting all giving through 2022 to members of Congress who voted against congressional certification of the election.
Meanwhile, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce has almost entirely backtracked, discontinuing its suspension of political giving to GOP lawmakers who objected to the election results. On March 5, going forward, the group said it would evaluate its support for candidates “based on their position on issues important to the Chamber” along with their “demonstrated commitment” to rebuilding the nation’s democratic institutions.
“We do not believe it is appropriate to judge members of Congress solely based on their votes on the electoral certification,” the Chamber stipulated in a memo. Though the organization did note a difference between casting a single vote and “organizing the rally of January 6th or continuing to push debunked conspiracy theories.”
That reversal would appear to open the floodgates for corporate donors to reboot their political giving. A slew of big corporations are still weighing their options following their initial suspensions, including JPMorgan Chase and Citigroup. Amazon, Facebook, AT&T and Marriott, did not return requests for comment from CNBC.
Dell Technologies said it had “no plans to revisit the decision to suspend contributions to members of Congress whose statements and activities during the post-election period weren’t in line with Dell Technologies’ principles.” A UPS spokesperson said the company’s suspension on political giving was still in place.
But there’s safety in numbers. It’s easy to imagine a group of corporations announcing new policies within days of each other, though it’s not yet clear where the center of gravity will fall.
Ultimately, even if corporations choose some supposed middle ground like the Chamber did, they will be turning on the spigot to certain Republicans who may not have personally supported the insurrection or spread disinformation but nonetheless support a party and the party apparatus that did. In other words, any donation to a House Republican is effectively a donation to the possible elevation of Rep. Kevin McCarthy as Speaker, and McCarthy explicitly spread election fraud lies, continues to do so, and voted against certification.
Bottom line: any donation to a GOP candidate or lawmaker supports a party that fanned the flames of the insurrection for over five weeks, contributed to widespread distrust of the 2020 election and U.S. governance, and destabilized American democracy for the foreseeable future.