In the wake of the Jan. 6 assault on the U.S. Capitol, many major companies pledged to halt PAC contributions to House and Senate lawmakers.
Some major companies like Walmart said they would stop donations specifically to the 147 lawmakers — eight Republican senators and 139 House representatives — who objected to counting presidential election results from certain states. Other companies like Bank of America paused their political action committees completely.
However, a Washington Post analysis of 49 of these companies found that, since 2016, only a small share of their contributions went directly to these 147 lawmakers.
Just 10% of these 49 companies’ contributions were going to lawmakers who voted against certifying the election
By law, a company’s political action committee, or PAC, can only give $5,000 per election to any specific candidate. That usually means $10,000 per election cycle, half for the primary and half for the general. Companies’ PACs can give more to organizations that spread funds across multiple candidates, such as political parties or leadership PACs.
Most of a candidate’s money comes from individual donations. For instance, less than 1% of contributions to the 2018 campaign of Sen. Josh Hawley (R-Mo.) came from PACs that have stopped contributions since the riot.
Because more than half of House Republicans opposed certifying the election results, a donation to the National Republican Congressional Committee is likely to go to at least some of these 147 lawmakers. Executives and employees at these companies are still free to give to whichever candidates they choose.
The company announcements signaled a broad reaction from corporate America against political violence and the politicians who inflamed it.
“These corporations are doing something very new, and something that could potentially alienate an important base for them,” Craig Holman, government affairs lobbyist for Public Citizen, told The Post on Wednesday. “I’ve never heard of this happening before.”
AT&T donated to the campaigns of 124 out of 147 objecting lawmakers, the most of any company that has spoken out. On Monday, the company said it would suspend donations to those representatives.
Companies that have committed to halting PAC donations
The companies listed below have halted their contributions and are ranked by how many of the 147 lawmakers they had donated to since 2016. Click on company names for a more complete list of donations from the Center for Responsive Politics’ Open Secrets database.
Anu Narayanswamy contributed to this report.