Charles Schwab will close his political action committee, perhaps the most important move among companies rethinking their political donations after last week’s violence on Capitol Hill.
Schwab, one of the nation’s largest brokerage firms, with around 30 million accounts receivable holding more than $ 6 trillion in assets, said it finds the current “hyperparty” environment too complex to navigate. without risk of distraction.
“We believe that a clear and non-political position is in the best interests of our customers, employees, shareholders and the communities in which we operate,” the company said Wednesday.
The company’s PAC will no longer take employee contributions or make financial contributions to lawmakers. It will donate the remaining funds to Boys & Girls Clubs of America and historically black colleges and universities, organizations that Schwab has supported in the past. Schwab’s PAC had about $ 114,000 in cash by the end of November, according to the Center for Responsive Politics.
In the last electoral cycle, the PAC in Schwab gave $ 460,000 to federal candidates, split roughly evenly between Republicans and Democrats. Among the recipients was House Minority Leader Representative Kevin McCarthy of California, one of the Republicans who voted against the certification of President-elect Joseph R. Biden Jr.
The Lincoln Project, an anti-Trump conservative group, introduced Schwab in a recent campaign highlighting companies that have donated to President Trump or opponents of the Congressional election.
“It is a sad by-product of the current political climate that some are now using questionable tactics and misleading claims to attack companies like ours,” said Schwab, an apparent reference to the Lincoln Project campaign. “It is unfair to knowingly blur the lines between the actions of a public company and those of individuals who work or have worked for the company.”
Corporate PACs do not spend corporate money on donations, but collect voluntary contributions from employees and direct them to selected candidates and causes. (The company pays for the administration of running a PAC.)
Billionaire Schwab President Charles R. Schwab has personally donated millions to pro-Trump and Republican groups, much more than the company’s PAC. “Each member of our company has the right to their own political beliefs and we respect that right,” the company said in its statement. The issue of political gifts from corporate executives and other personal entanglements raises questions in other businesses, the DealBook newsletter reported.
After the riot on Capitol Hill, a number of companies, including Goldman Sachs and JPMorgan Chase, suspended all corporate donations. Others, like Walmart and Marriott, have said they will stop donating only to 147 Republicans in Congress who opposed certification of presidential election results.
Schwab’s announcement goes further than most other companies seem willing. In a survey of 40 CEOs of large companies on Wednesday at a meeting hosted by Yale’s Jeffrey Sonnenfeld, nearly 60% said companies should not stop all political donations.
Schwab said in his statement that he was confident his “voice will always be heard in Washington” even without a PAC, noting that it is a “major employer in a dozen metropolitan centers.” Other companies that do not have a PAC, such as IBM, have said they don’t think the lack of a PAC puts them at a political disadvantage.