Big firms gave $1.1m to Republicans who objected to Biden’s win

Six of the biggest money managers gave a combined $1.1m to Republican lawmakers who objected to certifying United States President-elect Joe Biden’s election win.

BlackRock, the world’s largest asset manager, contributed more than $92,000 to 15 objectors, according to Majority Action. BlackRock disputed the figure, saying it gave about $85,000 [File: Bloomberg]

Six of the biggest money managers gave a combined $1.1 million to Republican lawmakers who objected to certifying results of the 2020 presidential election, a new study shows.

Political action committees of BlackRock Inc., Vanguard Group, JPMorgan Chase & Co., Fidelity Investments, State Street Corp. and Bank of New York Mellon Corp. contributed to one or more of those legislators in election cycles since 2016, according to an analysis by Majority Action.

The nonprofit, which advocates on corporate-governance matters, is calling on the firms to halt contributions to any lawmaker who opposed Joe Biden’s Electoral College win on Jan. 6, after supporters of President Donald Trump stormed the Capitol.

“We’re looking for asset managers to fundamentally cease donations to those who voted against the acceptance of election results,” Majority Action co-founder Eli Kasargod-Staub said in an interview. He added that companies choosing to halt all campaign contributions are guilty of inadequate “both sides-ism.”

Company PAC Donations to Objectors

  • BlackRock: $92,050 to 15 objectors
  • BNY Mellon: $97,445 to 23 objectors
  • Fidelity: $286,256 to 31 objectors
  • JPMorgan: $353,363 to 42 objectors
  • State Street: $76,630 to 20 objectors
  • Vanguard: $187,000 to 30 objectors

Source: Majority Action

Of the firms highlighted in the study, only State Street has publicly committed to taking such a step. It suspended donations from its political action committee to the Republicans who voted against Biden’s certification, the Boston-based firm said in a statement.

“The culpability for this untenable challenge to our Constitution and American values goes beyond the criminals that attacked our Capitol, and falls to a number of our elected leaders as well who, in effect, perpetuated the lies and untruths about the outcome of the 2020 presidential election,” State Street said in a statement on its website.

BlackRock and JPMorgan halted all contributions through their PACs, without focusing on the lawmakers who perpetuated the false claims of election fraud.

Corporate America faces mounting pressure to respond to last week’s violence, when insurrectionists occupied the Capitol after Trump egged them on with claims that the election was stolen. Companies including AT&T Inc., General Electric Co. and Marriott International Inc. say they’re halting contributions to objecting lawmakers.

On Tuesday, Trump refused to accept blame for the carnage, calling his Jan. 6 remarks “totally appropriate.”

Of the 147 lawmakers who objected to certifying the election results, Majority Action found that 59 received donations from at least one of the six asset managers since the 2016 election cycle.

JPMorgan, which has a fund-management arm and is the biggest U.S. bank, contributed more than $353,000 to 42 of the Republican objectors in that span. BlackRock, the world’s largest asset manager, contributed more than $92,000 to 15 objectors, according to Majority Action. BlackRock disputed the figure, saying it gave about $85,000.

Fidelity spokesman Vin Loporchio said the firm “constantly evaluates” donations through its PAC. A Vanguard representative said the firm paused PAC activity in December. In a memo to staff announcing its decision to halt all PAC-giving, BlackRock said that it and other companies “have an important role to play in supporting our democratic system.”

JPMorgan and BNY Mellon declined to comment.

“We have a minority set of politicians who attempted to overthrow the election results,” said Majority Action’s Kasargod-Staub. “The most important thing to understand immediately from any company is, ‘Do they think that’s acceptable or not?’” he said.

Griffin Donations

Others on Wall Street have donated to the GOP lawmakers, beyond those cited by Majority Action.

Billionaire Ken Griffin’s hedge fund and securities firm have supported several of the Republican objectors in recent years. In October 2018, he contributed to Missouri Rising Action — a single-candidate PAC supporting Senator Josh Hawley. In 2020, Griffin donated the legal maximum of $2,800 to several House members who opposed Electoral College votes.

A spokesman for Griffin declined to comment.

The civil unrest may continue.

The FBI warned of plans for armed protests at all 50 state capitals and Washington, D.C., in the days leading up to the Jan. 20 inauguration.

Source: Bloomberg