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Live Mic: No more corporate campaign donations after Capitol siege

Supporters of President Donald Trump climb the west wall of the the U.S. Capitol on Wednesday, Jan. 6, 2021. (AP Photo/Jose Luis Magana)

SALT LAKE CITY — Corporate America put its financial foot down and is suspending campaign donations in the wake of the mob attack on the US Capitol on Jan. 6, which forced members of the House and Senate to suspend their work in order to seek shelter from the wave of violent invaders. 

But a former Utah Republican Party chairman said what may prove more painful long-term to politicians and parties is the death Monday of a Republican billionaire donor.

Corporate donations cut off

Amazon, AT&T, American Express, Verizon and other big companies are specifically targeting Washington lawmakers who opposed or otherwise stood in the way of counting the Electoral College votes certifying the victory for President-elect Joe Biden as the next commander in chief of the United States.

Other large corporations, such as Wells Fargo and Ford Motor Co., are suspending all political donations at this time. Here is the list of the companies pausing or ending political contributions.

Hallmark Cards Inc. requested that Missouri Sen. Josh Hawley and Kansas Sen. Roger Marshall, both of whom objected to President-elect Biden’s certification, return all campaign contributions.

Former Utah GOP official reacts

Dave Hansen, former Utah Republican Party chairman and adviser to former Utah Sen. Orrin Hatch, joined Lee Lonsberry on Live Mic to discuss the impact of large corporate donations on Congress.

“What is the real impact of these announcements?” Lee asked. 

Hansen noted that some corporations on the list are only temporarily suspending political contributions.

“We just finished an election year. This is the slow season for fundraising right now,” Hansen said. “If you don’t get a check from a company in February, you might get it in August. And also remember these companies can only give $5,000 to the campaign. It’s not like they’re giving a huge amount.”

Other funding avenues

Corporations wanting to help political causes without supporting members of Congress who voted not to certify the election results, Hansen offered an alterative; they can always contribute to the Republican National Committee (RNC) or other political fundraising organizations, he said.

“For some of these companies who really don’t enjoy giving the money — nobody enjoys giving money basically — it’s a convenient way to get out of doing that,” Hansen said.

“Any other motivations? Is it possible companies are trying to position themselves in the eyes of consumers or other groups?” Lee asked.

“Companies are looking at it and saying, how can we get on the right side of this as far as public opinion is concerned. And this is a very good way.”

Republican mega-donor dies

Hansen pointed out that for Republicans, the death of a GOP kingmaker is of greater concern.

Billionaire casino magnate Sheldon Adelson, 87, the chairman and CEO of Las Vegas Sands — its first employee — and a major donor to Republican politicians, died late Monday after complications related to his cancer treatment, his company said as reported by CNN.

Hansen said Adelson gave $113 million to Republican candidates and campaigns in 2018.

Adelson and wife Miriam made $218 million in federal donations in 2019 and 2020 — more than three times greater than the next-biggest GOP donors, according to the Center for Responsive Politics as reported by Politico.

“That is a huge chunk of money coming out of the Republican coffers in the future,” Hansen said.

Live Mic with Lee Lonsberry can be heard weekdays from 12:30 p.m. to 3:00 p.m. on KSL NewsRadio. Users can find the show on the KSL NewsRadio website and app.

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