January 16, 2021

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Marriott, along with an insurer and bank, pledges to cut off money to Congress members who doubted Biden win

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

Commerce Bank also said in a statement that its PAC 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 violence 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 the option of sitting on the sidelines grows increasingly 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.”

Capitol Police were unable to stop a breach of the Capitol. Washington Post reporter Carol Leonnig and a former Senate Sergeant at Arms describe the events. (The Washington Post)

The decisions by Marriott, the insurance company and bank were first reported by the online newsletter Popular Information.

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 PAC — 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 Trump Turnberry through the Marriott Luxury Collection program.

Marriott’s decision — along with ones such as from Blue Cross Blue Shield — would 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, in the coming days will launch 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 both broadcast and cable advertising aimed at these companies and their senior leaders. The Lincoln Project will also target advertising for these corporation’s 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.

“Eighty-$90 million was spent by corporate America on political committees … on extremist groups that have destabilized American democracy,” Schmidt said. “After this point, nothing goes back to normal.”

Jena McGregor and David A. Fahrenthold contributed to this report.

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