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Corporate wallets start closing in the wake of Capitol attack

Quite a few companies have halted donations to lawmakers involved in the push to deny Biden the presidency. It's gotten Republicans' attention.
Image: Woman takes money out of her wallet
Anfisa Kameneva / Getty Images/EyeEm

The first announcements came over the weekend. Blue Cross Blue Shield and Marriott International were among the prominent companies that said they would pause political contributions to congressional Republicans who voted to reject Joe Biden's victory.

Others soon followed. While several corporate giants said they were cutting off financial support to both parties, NBC News reported overnight that Dow Chemical, American Express, Airbnb, Mastercard, Commerce Bank, and other companies said they will not donate to lawmakers involved in the push to deny Biden the presidency. Comcast, the parent company of NBCUniversal, which owns MSNBC (my employer), also said yesterday that it will suspend contributions "to those elected officials who voted against certification of the electoral college votes."

Hallmark, meanwhile, is not only cutting off anti-election Republicans, it's also requesting that Sens. Josh Hawley (R-Mo.) and Roger Marshall (R-Kan.) give back the money Hallmark's political action committee already contributed to the far-right Republicans, saying their recent actions "do not reflect our company's values."

Politico reported that the announcements have captured the GOP's attention, to the point that House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) and his team started reaching out yesterday "to a vast number of corporations ... to take their temperature." And while many of the Republican's corporate allies are staying the course for now, Politico added that the shifts pose a meaningful challenge.

Losing corporate PAC support — if the bans last — will sting Republicans who have come to rely on such contributions, especially as the Democratic Party builds a big online fundraising advantage. But the consequences could reach even farther than that, with the GOP also confronting the prospect of losing the support of white-collar company workers and executives who are infuriated over the insurrection.

To be sure, it's an open question as to whether these corporate wallets stay closed. The attack on the Capitol was just six days ago, and it's possible the corporate political action committees will reassess if tempers cool and the political landscape eventually returns to something resembling normalcy.

But in the meantime, it's worth focusing special attention on one Republican in particular: Sen. Rick Scott of Florida.

The far-right Floridian was, of course, one of the eight GOP senators who voted at least once to reject Biden's electoral college votes, even after the deadly insurrectionist riot. That means, at least for now, he'll be among the Republicans losing out on corporate financial support as a response to his undemocratic tactics.

But Rick Scott isn't just an obscure back-bencher in the Senate: he's also the new chairman of the National Republican Senatorial Committee (NRSC), which is gearing up for the 2022 cycle, when the party hopes to flip the chamber back to Republican control.

With this in mind, the New York Times' Maggie Haberman noted yesterday that there's "very real concern" among Republicans working on Senate races that Scott will undermine the NRSC's fundraising efforts.

Bradley Beychok, who leads American Bridge 21st Century, a leading Democratic super PAC, issued a written statement yesterday calling on the Floridian to resign as chair of the NRSC.

"Rick Scott is a disgrace who is more concerned about winning a presidential primary in 4 years than stopping further acts of violence," Beychok's statement read in part. "Someone who so casually puts innocent lives at risk for his own personal ambitions has no business being in one of the top leadership positions in his party. Rick Scott needs to resign from his position as chair of the NRSC immediately. Until then, every Republican senator who accepts money or assistance from the NRSC has blood on their hands."