Marriott, the world’s largest hotel chain, said last week’s chaos at the Capitol caused the company to halt campaign donations to U.S. senators and representatives who voted against certifying the electoral college results of President-elect Joe Biden’s win, a fresh sign of corporate America’s uneasiness with the violent attacks inspired by President Trump’s words.

The Blue Cross Blue Shield Association said it would do the same. The provider of health insurance to more than 100 million people said its political action committee was suspending contributions “to those lawmakers who voted to undermine our democracy.”

Commerce Bank said its political action committee has “suspended all support for officials who have impeded the peaceful transfer of power.” It has bank branches in five states, mostly in the Midwest.

The riot at the Capitol appears to have companies scrambling to figure out how to react, as they increasingly realize that this is not an ordinary political dispute and that the option of sitting on the sidelines grows unsatisfying.

“These corporations are doing something very new, and something that could potentially alienate an important base for them,” said Craig Holman, government affairs lobbyist for Public Citizen, a money-in-politics group. “I’ve never heard of this happening before.”

Shortly after the riot, companies and trade groups rushed to register their outrage, with statements ranging from condemnations to direct calls for Trump’s removal from office.

Marriott, based in Bethesda, Md., said its decision was motivated by “the destructive events at the Capitol to undermine a legitimate and fair election.”

Marriott’s political action committee, which is funded by employee donations, gave more than $410,000 in the last election cycle, according to Federal Election Commission data.

The hotel chain also has a direct business relationship with Trump. It books travel to his Trump Turnberry resort in Scotland through the Marriott Luxury Collection program.

The moves could hurt the fundraising efforts of the 139 Republican representatives and eight Republican senators who voted last week against certifying the presidential election results.

More pressure on companies is coming. The Lincoln Project, an anti-Trump group, says it is preparing a multimillion dollar ad campaign targeting companies that bankroll Republicans who voted against certifying the results of the election, pushing those firms to cease donations to these and other Republicans.

The project will launch broadcast and cable advertising aimed at these companies and their senior leaders. The Lincoln Project will also target advertising for these corporations’ workers, hoping to “destabilize the companies’ operations by fomenting employee rebellions,” said Steve Schmidt, co-founder of The Lincoln Project.

Schmidt declined to comment on the companies The Lincoln Project plans to campaign against but pointed out that AT&T, BlackRock and Charles Schwab are among the corporate entities that donate to Republican lawmakers.

“$80-90 million was spent by Corporate America on political committees … on extremist groups that have destabilized American democracy,” Schmidt said, citing Republican Attorneys General Association and Sens. Josh Hawley, R-Mo., and Ted Cruz, R-Texas. “After this point, nothing goes back to normal.”


Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or to participate in the conversation. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.