And that isn’t the only money troubles Republicans are facing. If they financed the terrorists who attacked Capitol Hill, they could become un-bankable.
As Democrats in Congress work towards impeaching President Donald Trump for inciting a violent insurrection at the Capitol last week, several big companies have said they will cut off funds for Republicans who supported Trump’s unfounded lies about the presidential election.
But that isn’t the only money troubles Republicans are facing. Groups that helped finance the domestic terrorists who tried to overturn the presidential election could become unbankable, as financial institutions start enforcing anti-money laundering and terrorism rules.
Several large corporations, including Marriott, Blue Cross Blue Shield, Airbnb, and Dow Chemical, said they would no longer send contributions to the 147 Republicans who voted against certifying the Electoral College results after the riot. Hallmark went further, asking Sens. Josh Hawley (R-Mo.) and Roger Marshall (R-Kan.) return the money their PAC had contributed.
Not all companies have decided to make their support for democracy clear, however. Companies like Facebook, JPMorgan Chase, and Citigroup instead inexplicably chose to “pause” all political donations, punishing Democrats and Republicans who did not participate in the president’s dangerous charade.
Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D-Calif.), a member of House leadership and the chair of a consumer protection subcommittee, strongly criticized companies ending all political donations.
“The reported political ‘pause’ by CITI, JP Morgan, and Facebook is deeply offensive and worse than doing nothing. Instead of holding the guilty responsible, their decision to treat the guilty and innocent the same is the type of political calculus that led us here. Most cowardly and despicable is Facebook, who is unwilling and unable to confront their role in fostering the hatred that led to this action,” Schakowsky said in a statement.
The move by corporations and banks is nearly unprecedented in the history of money in politics in the United States.
In an interview, Jodi Vittori, an expert on illicit finance at nonprofit Transparency International, said a major driver behind the wave of announcements boils down simply to perception.
“Banks should be very concerned about coming up against, first the reputational risk of being linked to the attempted overthrow of the United States government, but there’s also legal risks that are obviously associated with that as well,” Vittori told COURIER. “The professionals are still digging into who these groups are and any that might be linked to criminal entities but all of these are big issues.”
The sudden shift in funding could change things for groups that openly supported Wednesday’s attack on the Capitol. For example, Charlie Kirk, the founder of Turning Point USA, a conservative student group, tweeted that the group helped send more than 80 buses to transport Trump supporters to Washington DC.
Kirk deleted that tweet after the terrorists attacked the Capitol, leaving five people dead, including a Capitol Hill police officer.
In this example, Vittori said banks may start to look at how much cross-over there may have been between those busloads of people sent by Kirk’s organizations, and those who committed acts of sedition and violence at the Capitol.
“If there’s an overlap between those bus loads and those on Capitol Hill, that that’s going to be a pretty compelling argument, that he’s probably going to need to be unbankable,” Vittori said.
This also comes as payment processing company Stripe will cut ties with Trump’s campaign.
Stripe is a San Francisco-based company that manages online card payments for e-commerce websites and mobile applications. The company said the Trump campaign violated its policies against encouraging violence. Stripe users agree to not collect payments for “high-risk” activities, including organizations or businesses that “engage in, encourage, promote or celebrate unlawful violence or physical harm to persons or property,” according to their user agreements.
“This will send a very strong signal to the Republican powers that be to have a proper conservative party and not a more Trumpist fascist party,” Vittori said. “The business community wants rule of law.”