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Businesses begin backing away from Republicans after Capitol attack

Since last week's riot at the Capitol, more and more companies are cutting ties with Donald Trump, and dozens of corporations suspended political contributions to the 147 members of Congress who refused to certify the election of Joe Biden. Paul Solman reports.

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  • Judy Woodruff:

    Since last week's riots at the Capitol, more and more companies are cutting ties with Donald Trump.

    Also, in a matter of days, dozens of corporations suspended political contributions to the 147 members of Congress who refused to certify the election of Joe Biden.

    Paul Solman looks at what's been happening behind the scenes.

    It's part of his ongoing reporting for Making Sense.

  • Paul Solman:

    Judd Legum writes a political newsletter called Popular Information.

  • Judd Legum:

    And we do a lot of work about corporate responsibility.

  • Paul Solman:

    When Republican senators said they'd challenge the Electoral College results…

  • Judd Legum:

    We started pulling all of the FEC records to see what corporate PACs had been donating to that group.

  • Protesters:

    USA! USA!

  • Paul Solman:

    And then along came the riots. So, he wrote to 144 companies to ask if they would continue to donate to the eight senators who supported President Trump's election fraud claims, supported them even after the Capitol had been breached.

  • Judd Legum:

    Because all of the 144 companies had supported one or more of those senators in the 2020 election cycle.

  • Paul Solman:

    Results?

  • Judd Legum:

    We got at first a trickle of people.

  • Paul Solman:

    Blue Cross Blue Shield, Commerce Bank, the Marriott Hotel chain announcing they were suspending donations not just to the eight senators, but to all 147 members of Congress who voted against certifying the election.

  • Judd Legum:

    And I thought, well, this is significant, especially corporations, even when you look at their history, are donating 3-1, 5-1, 6-1 to Republicans.

    But, really, it was Marriott who I think kind of shook the corporate world. And then it just snowballed avalanched, and now people that we never even contacted are getting in touch, and they want to make a statement.

  • Paul Solman:

    When the trickle became a snowball, what did you think?

  • Judd Legum:

    As someone who follows how these corporations operate, I really couldn't have conceived last week that so many corporations would do this.

  • Actresses:

    Happy new year!

  • Paul Solman:

    Companies like Hallmark, making of greeting cards and schmaltzy movies.

  • Woman:

    I have done things that I never would have imagined.

  • Paul Solman:

    One of four dozen companies suspending all political donations. But Hallmark, says Legum:

  • Judd Legum:

    Demanded a refund from their home state Senator Josh Hawley. It's a powerful signal from one of the largest employers in Kansas City saying: Your senator is no longer acceptable to us. We don't want anything to do with him.

  • Tom Glocer:

    Given the sometimes anodyne statements that you see inside Hallmark greeting cards, to come out so eloquently and so pointedly against the administration, I thought was very courageous.

  • Paul Solman:

    Tom Glocer, the former CEO of Thomson Reuters, met with a group of CEOs last week and again yesterday.

  • Tom Glocer:

    The mood even in a week had gotten much firmer that the right thing to do was to impeach and remove Trump, even with a few days remaining, and that business had an important voice.

  • Paul Solman:

    Company after company has now broken publicly with the president, Deutsche Bank, his biggest longtime lender. PGA of America.

  • Tom Glocer:

    Stripe, the payment processor, says, we're not going to allow our private service to be used to buy, let's say, Trump paraphernalia. Ditto Shopify, which provides the e-commerce foundations for a lot of those organizations.

  • Ken Langone:

    I feel betrayed.

  • Paul Solman:

    Even Ken Langone of Home Depot, a Trump supporter for years, denounced him yesterday.

  • Ken Langone:

    Last Wednesday was a disgrace and should have never happened in this country. And if it doesn't break every American's heart, something's wrong. It breaks my heart. For sure, I didn't sign up for that.

  • Mike Lindell:

    Hello. I'm Mike Lindell, inventor of MyPillow.

  • Tom Glocer:

    With the exception of perhaps Mr. Pillow, I would be surprised if any company exec now thought that the best thing for his or her company was to was to support this administration.

  • Sheila Krumholz:

    This is so unprecedented.

  • Paul Solman:

    And, says Sheila Krumholz, who researches money in politics:

  • Sheila Krumholz:

    For some members of Congress, this ban on corporate PAC support will really hit them in the wallet. It will be a very meaningful loss.

  • Paul Solman:

    If the ban lasts, that is. But, right now, it's fallow season for electioneering.

  • Sheila Krumholz:

    This is January of the off election year in a midterm election cycle. But, in 2022, when primaries are under way and the November election looms, these companies will be asked for support.

  • Paul Solman:

    So, is it all just a P.R. move, companies seeming to have a conscience, until they need legislators once more?

    No, says ex-CEO Glocer, there's a deeper motivation.

  • Tom Glocer:

    Businesses generally don't like to bring politics into their companies. Partly they don't want to antagonize customers or even their own employee base.

    But when the attacks go to the heart of the social fabric, the democratic norms of the country, which would make it impossible to run a business, then I think businesspeople reluctantly do show up.

  • Paul Solman:

    Last question for Sheila Krumholz, do you think this could be a bad thing, in the end, by making corporations more political?

  • Sheila Krumholz:

    Corporations are already political. They will be seeking access and influence with members of Congress, including these objectors, as long as they have jurisdiction through their committee assignments.

    On the other hand, they're seeking to retain customers, who might be in a mood to punish them if they go back on their pledge and begin supporting these members again.

  • Paul Solman:

    For the "PBS NewsHour," Paul Solman.

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