Jan 12, 2021 - Technology

Tech companies press pause on political donations

A hand cuts a dollar sign hanging from strings

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Tech companies, along with large businesses throughout corporate America, rushed to announce Monday that they were halting political donations in the wake of the attack on the Capitol.

The big picture: Some limited their pullback to officials who refused to accept the results of the presidential election, while others said they were taking a break from making any political contributions.

Catch up quick: Here's a partial list of companies that have announced moves.

  • Pausing all donations: Amazon, Facebook, Google, Microsoft and Salesforce.
  • Halt focused on those who challenged elections: Airbnb, AT&T, Cisco, Comcast, Intel, Verizon.
  • Re-evaluating political donation policy: T-Mobile.
  • Hedging: Dish Network said it was "disappointed" that some members of Congress objected to the results of a free and fair election, but stopped short of announcing specific constraints on future donations.
  • Still silent: Oracle, Charter.
  • Of note: Apple and IBM don't have PACs or donate to political candidates and Twitter dissolved its PAC entirely in November.

Between the lines: The move comes as tech companies are under fire for having supported candidates whose challenges to the legitimacy of the November election arguably set the stage for the Capitol siege.

  • "This is the death knell of PACs for tech companies with activist employees," one tech industry source told Axios. "This is the final straw."

Yes, but: Some Democrats, including Sen. Brian Schatz and Rep. Jan Schakowsky, have cried foul, saying the companies were "treating the guilty and the innocent" — Republicans who promoted the Capitol riot and Democrats who had nothing to do with it — the same.

Our thought bubble: Now is an easy time to pause donations, coming just after the November elections and January runoffs in Georgia. The companies have left themselves plenty of time to resume political contributions before the next major cycle.

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