Facebook, Amazon, others halt political spending after Capitol riot

Marriott halted donations to Republican officials, such as Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, (C) who voted last week against certifying President-Joe Biden's victory. Photo by Pat Benic/UPI

Jan. 12 (UPI) — Facebook and Amazon are among the companies that have halted political donations in the wake of Wednesday’s deadly U.S. Capitol riot.

A mob of supporters of President Donald Trump stormed the U.S. Capitol on Wednesday, delaying the count of the Electoral College votes to certify the election results. The count was completed by early Thursday morning, affirming President-elect Joe Biden‘s win. The insurrection left five people dead, including Capitol Police Officer Brian Sicknick.

“Following last week’s awful violence in D.C., we are pausing all of our PAC contributions for at least the current quarter, while we review our polices,” Facebook spokesperson Andy Stone said in a statement to Politico.

Axios first reported on Facebook halting political action committee contributions and reviewing its practices following the U.S. Capitol attack.

Amazon went a step further by announcing the company would no longer contribute to U.S. Congress members who voted to try to stop President-elect Joe Biden’s confirmation of victory by Congress after rioters stormed the Capitol.

“The Amazon PAC gives to congressional candidates on a bipartisan basis based upon the interest of our customers and our employees,” an Amazon spokeswoman said Monday. “Given the unacceptable attempt to undermine a legitimate democratic process, the Amazon PAC has suspended contributions to any Member of Congress who voted to override the results of the US Presidential election. We intend to discuss our concerns directly with those Members we have previously supported and will evaluate their responses as we consider future PAC contributions.”

Marriott also announced a pause in donations to 147 Republican U.S. representatives and senators who voted against certifying Biden’s win.

The halt was prompted by “the destructive event at the Capitol to undermine a legitimate and fair election,” Marriott said.

The Blue Cross Blue Shield Association similarly said it would end contributions “to those lawmakers who voted to undermine our democracy.”

American Express said in a memo to employees Monday, it would halt contributions to lawmakers who voted “to subvert the presidential election results and disrupt the peaceful transition of power.”

Hallmark’s political action committee asked for Sen. Josh Hawley, R-Mo., and Sen. Roger Marshall, R-Kan., to return their donations. The Hallmark PAC contributed $7,000 to Hawley’s campaign and $5,000 to Marshall’s over the last two years.

“Hallmark believes the peaceful transition of power is part of the bedrock of our democratic system, and we abhor violence of any kind,” Hallmark spokesman JiaoJiao Shen said in a statement Monday. “The recent actions of Senators Josh Hawley and Roger Marshall do not reflect our company’s values.”

Similar to Facebook, Microsoft said in a statement Monday it would freeze all political contributions “until after it assesses the implications of last week’s events.”

Microsoft said it’s common for it to halt “its donations in the first quarter of a new Congress, but it will take additional steps this year to consider these recent events and consult with employees.”

According to Politico, other corporate giants have also recently announced they will halt all PAC contributions, including Goldman Sachs, JPMorgan Chase and Citigroup.

Tech companies in particular have faced criticism from Democratic lawmakers as Wednesday’s riot at the U.S. Capitol was organized across online platforms and live streamed by rioters repeating Trump’s baseless election fraud allegations.

Facebook and Instagram on Thursday banned Trump “indefinitely and for at least the next two weeks” until the “peaceful transition of power” to Biden is complete.

Twitter permanently suspended Trump’s personal account Friday “due to the risk of further incitement of violence.”

Parler, a social media site popular with Trump supporters, went offline early Monday following Amazon removing it from its web hosting service at midnight Sunday. Over the weekend, Google and Apple removed the Parler app from their application stores over failure to moderate posts inciting violence in the wake of the U.S. Capitol riot.


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