Banks join Marriott in halting political contributions after Capitol riot

Citigroup, Goldman Sachs, Chase reviewing campaign donation policies

From left: Donald Trump, Goldman Sachs’ David Solomon and Marriott CEO Arne Sorensen (Getty)
From left: Donald Trump, Goldman Sachs’ David Solomon and Marriott CEO Arne Sorensen (Getty)

In the wake of last week’s violence at the U.S. Capitol Building, corporations are thinking twice about funneling money to political candidates.

Marriott International was the first big company to announce it would cut off campaign contributions to politicians who did not vote to certify President-elect Joe Biden’s win in the presidential election, as was first reported by the newsletter Popular Information. The hotel chain had previously donated a total of $2,000 to entities associated with Missouri Sen. Josh Hawley, who contested the Electoral College results.

Major financial institutions soon followed suit: Goldman Sachs, Citigroup, JPMorgan Chase and Morgan Stanley announced they are suspending or reviewing their policies for political contributions, according to Bloomberg News. While some have instituted a blanket pause on donations to candidates, Goldman specified that its updated policies may target politicians who challenged the results of the 2020 election.

Similar actions have yet to be taken by the real estate industry, whose major players typically funnel millions of dollars to political campaigns.

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In the lead-up to the 2020 election, Blackstone chairman Stephen Schwarzman donated $3 million to America First, a PAC that supports President Donald Trump, while the company’s CEO, Jonathan Gray, donated more than $1 million to Biden and other Democrats. Related Companies chairman Stephen Ross and CEO Jeff Blau each donated thousands of dollars to Senate Republicans.

But some of those same industry players swiftly condemned the violence at the Capitol and Trump’s role in inciting it.

“The insurrection that followed the President’s remarks [Wednesday] is appalling and an affront to the democratic values we hold dear as Americans,” Schwarzman said in a statement. “I am shocked and horrified by this mob’s attempt to undermine our Constitution. As I said in November, the outcome of the election is very clear and there must be a peaceful transition of power.”

[Popular Information, Bloomberg] — Amy Plitt