Business targets the wallets of Trump and his supporters

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After the assault on Capitol Hill, several large American companies took the decision to cut ties with Donald Trump and his most ardent supporters, sometimes directly affecting their finances.

Many figures in the business world quickly denounced the violence after the violent intrusion of supporters of the US president into Congress on January 6.

A few, like the powerful AFL-CIO union, billionaire investor Nelson Peltz or the Ben & Jerry’s company, have even called for Donald Trump’s immediate departure.

But some companies have decided to go even further, beyond words.

Twitter ejected the president from his favorite communication platform by permanently closing his account. The online sales platform Shopify has closed official pages selling items in her image. The Internet payment service Stripe has decided to no longer manage transactions on its campaign site.

Others have turned their attention to politicians.

Several companies such as the hotel giant Marriott, the health insurer Blue Cross Blue Shield or the credit card issuer American Express have indicated that they will stop all donations to elected Republican officials who opposed on January 6 to certification of the results of the presidential election.

The boss of American Express, Stephen Squeri, stressed Monday in a message to his employees that such a posture does not correspond to the values ​​of his company.

In the interests of transparency, he said that American Express had in the past contributed to the campaign coffers of 22 of the 139 parliamentarians in the House of Representatives who voted in favor of objections.

For how long ?

Other large companies like the bank JPMorgan Chase, the IT giant Microsoft, the social network Facebook or the Google search engine have decided to suspend all activity of their Political Action Committee (PAC), too. well in favor of Republicans than Democrats.

These PACs collect donations from employees to donate to candidates or political parties chosen by the company.

But it is not certain that this distancing of the business world from politicians will continue.

Suspending political contributions to lawmakers who voted against Joe Biden’s certification on January 6 “can have a real impact by sending the clear message that breaking away from democratic norms and spreading disinformation will not be tolerated,” said Daniel Newman , the co-founder of the MapLight organization, which closely studies the funding of parties and political leaders.

But “we need more than corporate self-regulation to mend our shattered democracy,” he adds, arguing for a sweeping reform of political financing and government transparency.

“Is this a real moment of truth?” Are they really changing their behavior? Or do they go back to their ways after a while? ”Asks Bruce Freed of the Center for Policy Accountability.

At JPMorgan Chase, the suspension of PAC contributions was decided for “at least six months”, at Facebook it will be “for at least three months”.

A Google spokesperson said it will be “the time to review and reassess policies following the particularly disturbing events of the past week”, while Microsoft stressed that it would be “the time to assess the implications”.

All these companies can also continue to pay money outside of their PAC, to their professional federations for example, which can then donate it to favorite candidates.

“Are they also going to put a limit on that kind of spending?” asks Bruce Freed.

While President-elect Joe Biden has vowed to raise corporate taxes or raise the minimum hourly wage, big business is likely to find its way back to the offices of parliamentarians as soon as the new Congress is put in place. Especially since the legislative elections are held every two years and that the next ones will therefore take place from 2022.

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