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World

Google, Facebook and Microsoft among other corporate giants to suspend political spending

  • In the aftermath of the violent attack on the Capitol Building last week, Facebook, Microsoft and Google have joined a growing list of corporations that are pausing their political spending.
  • As corporate responses have escalated, some companies have suspended donations to lawmakers who objected to the certification of the election, while many have halted all of their political donations for a few months.
Updated 12 Jan, 2021

In the aftermath of the violent attack on the Capitol Building last week, Facebook, Microsoft and Google have joined a growing list of corporations that are pausing their political spending.

As corporate responses have escalated, some companies have suspended donations to lawmakers who objected to the certification of the election, while many have halted all of their political donations for a few months.

A few have gone so far as to support the removal of the president.

In a statement from the National Association of Manufacturers, "The outgoing president incited violence in an attempt to retain power, and any elected leader defending him is violating their oath to the Constitution and rejecting democracy in favor of anarchy", urging Vice President Pence to consider invoking the 25th Amendment, which allows removal of a president, if deemed unfit for service.

Groups focusing on corporate interests in politics have also contributed to this discourse, with Meredith McGhee, Executive Director at Issue One - a nonprofit that works to reduce the influence of money in politics - stating that "You just can't really overemphasize the role that donors play in the current political calculation", adding that "In this moment of crisis, they sent a really important signal that the actions of the objectors were unacceptable ... because what they were doing was voting to overturn the will of the voters".

In a statement to NPR on Monday, Facebook told that it was pausing the spending of its political action committee for at least the first three months of the year, "while we review our policies".

Microsoft issued a statement that "The PAC regularly pauses its donations in the first quarter of a new Congress, but it will take additional steps this year to consider these recent events and consult with employees."

"I think they have to take a look long and hard at what role has their political spending played in sort of the buildup to this crisis," said Bruce Freed, the Head of the Center for Political Accountability.

Last week, Facebook suspended President Trump from both its main platform and Instagram indefinitely, while Twitter has disabled Trump's account permanently.

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