Companies are halting PAC contributions after U.S. Capitol riots. Here’s where their money went.

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.

[Lawmakers who objected to election results have been cut off from 20 of their 30 biggest corporate PAC donors]

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.

[How members of Congress voted on counting the electoral college vote]

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.

Updated January 17, 2021

Complete coverage: Pro-Trump mob storms Capitol building

Alyssa Fowers is a graphics reporter for The Washington Post.
Chris Alcantara is a graphics reporter at The Washington Post, where he uses code and data to report on business, technology, and politics. He joined The Post in 2016.
Jena McGregor writes on leadership issues in the headlines – corporate management and governance, workplace trends and the personalities who run Washington and business. Prior to writing for the Washington Post, she was an associate editor for BusinessWeek and Fast Company magazines and began her journalism career as a reporter at Smart Money.