JPMorgan freezes political donations to Republicans who contested the 2020 election

JPMorgan Chase & Co (JPM.N) will resume making political donations to U.S. lawmakers but will not give to Republican members of Congress who voted to overturn President Joe Biden‘s election victory, according to an internal memo released Friday by Reuters.

The bank was among many companies that suspended political donations in the wake of the deadly Capitol Riots on Jan.6 when supporters of former President Donald Trump tried to block Congress from certifying the election.

Hours later, 147 Republicans, the vast majority of them in the House of Representatives, voted to overturn the Electoral College results which Trump said were tainted with fraud.

The country’s largest lender will resume giving through its Political Action Committee (PAC) this month, after review, but will continue to freeze donations to a “handful” of the 147 lawmakers it previously had supported, the bank said.

The hiatus will last throughout the 2021-2022 electoral cycle, which includes the November midterm elections, after which JPMorgan will consider whether to resume contributions to relevant lawmakers on an individual basis, he said. .

“It was a unique and historic moment when we believe the country needed our elected officials to put aside deeply entrenched differences and show unity,” the bank wrote of the January 6 vote to certify victory by Biden.

JPMorgan noted that its PAC is an important tool for engaging 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 election candidates.

“Democracy, by its nature, requires active participation, compromise and dialogue with people of opposing views. This is why government and business must work together,” JPMorgan wrote.

As part of its revamped spending strategy, the bank will also extend donations beyond lawmakers who oversee financial matters to those who are active on matters the bank sees as “moral and economic imperatives for our country.” such as tackling the racial wealth gap, education and criminal justice reform.

Since the first backlash in January, companies have been wondering how to recapture PAC spending, seen by lobbyists as important for gaining access to policy makers, without alienating other stakeholders, including their employees who fund PACs.

Other large financial firms that have suspended donations have slowly resumed spending. Morgan Stanley’s PAC resumed donating to some lawmakers in February, while the American Bankers Association’s PAC, one of the largest in the country, also resumed donating, according to federal records.

Although JPMorgan did not name any lawmakers in its memo, the bank’s new policy risks alienating some Republicans with a grip on banking policy, some of whom are already angered by its active stance on issues such as climate change. and racial equity.

JPMorgan’s PAC gave nearly $ 1 million to federal candidates and committees supporting candidates during the 2019-20 election cycle, according to the Center for Responsive Politics (CRP).

Of the $ 600,300 he gave to federal candidates, nearly 60% went to Republicans and the rest to Democrats, according to CRP data, a mix that is likely to tilt further to the left as the bank backs a wider range of social and economic issues. .

Overall, commercial banks have increased their political spending in recent years, handing out $ 14.6 million to federal candidates in the 2020 cycle, the second highest amount since 1990, the data shows.

In the aftermath of the 2008 financial crisis, this mix has favored Republicans, but in recent years banks have increased spending on Democrats as they seek to restore bipartisan support in Congress.

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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