TONYA MOSLEY, HOST:
Corporate America is looking at money in politics in a new light. A growing list of companies is pausing some political spending after last week's violent attack on the U.S. Capitol. Among them are tech giants - Facebook, Microsoft and Google - and big banks, Goldman Sachs and J.P. Morgan. Full disclosure, those five companies are among NPR's recent sponsors. NPR's Alina Selyukh reports.
ALINA SELYUKH, BYLINE: One after another, corporations piled on. One trade group called for the removal of President Trump, and not just any group, the National Association of Manufacturers, a longtime supporter of Trump. Many of the tech and banking giants halted all their political giving, at least for a few months. Marriott, Comcast, Airbnb and others stopped donations to specific Republican lawmakers, those who fought the certification of the election.
MEREDITH MCGEHEE: At this moment - right? - at this crisis moment, they sent a really important signal.
SELYUKH: Meredith McGehee is the executive director at Issue One, a nonprofit that works to reduce the influence of money in politics.
MCGEHEE: You just can't really overemphasize the role that donors play in the current political calculation.
SELYUKH: And it's unusual to see so many companies, on their own, without a campaign to pressure them, publicly address how they contribute to the current political state. But there are caveats. This is often the moment when many companies reevaluate their political spending right after an election. Plus, there are many ways companies make political donations. All the corporate statements now are about their official political action committees. But there are also super PACs and tax-exempt groups that don't have to disclose donors. And a lot of corporate spending flows from individuals like executives. The biggest question is, money-in-politics groups ask, will this flurry of corporate reckoning be an epiphany or a fad?
Alina Selyukh, NPR News.
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