Editor’s Note: On Jan. 13, Charles Schwab Corporation announced it was shutting down its PAC, blaming the “hyperpartisan” political environment and claiming mistreatment.
The Charles Schwab Corporation Political Action Committee, a PAC voluntarily funded by employees of the financial services firm, will not make contributions to any lawmakers for the remainder of the year.
“Given the extraordinary circumstances related to this election cycle, The Charles Schwab Corporation Political Action Committee (PAC) has halted all contributions to any lawmakers for the remainder of 2021. This pause will give the firm an opportunity to evaluate the best path forward to fulfill our long-standing commitment to advocate on behalf of individual investors and those who serve them,” the company said in a statement released Sunday.
Other financial services companies, including Goldman Sachs, JP Morgan and BlackRock, have made similar decisions and announcements.
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The PAC is the only way Schwab makes political contributions, which it divides equally among Democrats and Republicans every year. It does not contribute to individual presidential candidates.
From January 2019 through November of 2020, Schwab employees donated $485,995 to the PAC, roughly the same total they did over recent two-year periods, according to a public database maintained by the Federal Election Commission. The PAC contributed $543,576 to lawmakers in the 2019-2020 period, almost entirely in smaller increments (no individual contribution exceeded $5,000) to dozens of different lawmakers running for Congress, as well as some other PACs.
In addition to the pause on contributions to lawmakers, Schwab employees will not be able to contribute to the PAC in 2021, the company told RIA Intel.
The company did not answer specific questions about any changes to the PAC under consideration, including whether it might continue the PAC at all.
On Jan. 7, the day after rioters encouraged by President Donald Trump broke into the Capitol and disrupted Congress’ certification of the presidential vote, Schwab joined other companies in condemning the deadly siege. “We are sure all of you have seen the disturbing images of the unprecedented events today at the U.S. Capitol. Peaceful protests are a long-honored tradition in this country, but there can be no justification for the violence we witnessed today, or violence in any form,” Schwab’s executive council told its employees and shared in a statement that day.
“Despite the violence we have witnessed throughout 2020, culminating in today’s events, we remain optimistic that collectively our citizens will rise above our political differences and come together as one in support of the country. Finally, thank you for supporting and caring for each other during these challenging times,” the statement said.
Michael Thrasher (@Mike_Thrasher) is a reporter at RIA Intel based in New York City.