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Wells to Freeze PAC Contributions in Response to U.S. Capitol Siege

January 13, 2021

Wells Fargo is one of the latest U.S. banks to back up its condemnation of last week’s events at the U.S. Capitol by withdrawing political funding, according to news reports.

The bank will freeze contributions by its political action committee for the foreseeable future while it reviews its strategy under the administration of President-elect Joe Biden, Reuters reports.

“We will take into consideration the actions of elected officials who objected to the Electoral College vote and we urge members of all political parties to work together in a bipartisan fashion to help our nation heal”, a Wells Fargo spokeswoman tells the newswire.

A mob of supporters of President Donald Trump, encouraged by Trump himself to disrupt the certification of Electoral College votes to confirm Biden’s victory, succeeded in breaching security to enter the Capitol, destroyed property and stole various items. The Federal Bureau of Investigation and the National Guard came in to help the Capitol Police to clear the building within hours, but the siege has resulted in at least five deaths, including at least one police officer.

Eight U.S. Senators and 139 Republican House members, meanwhile, objected to the Electoral College votes cast for Biden by Pennsylvania and Arizona.

Last week, Wells Fargo CEO Charles Scharf, along with JPMorgan CEO Jamie Dimon and Citigroup CEO Michael Corbat, condemned the violence at the U.S. Capitol and called for a peaceful transition of power.

Wells Fargo at first said it was reviewing its PAC contributions as many of its competitors in the industry announced that they’re freezing theirs.

“Wells Fargo is committed to working together with our nation’s leaders to preserve our democracy and, as such, is reviewing its go-forward Political Action Committee strategy in light of the terrible and tragic events of last week,” the bank’s spokesperson told FA-IQ on Monday in a statement.

By the point, Bank of America – the parent company of Merrill Lynch — had said in a memo that it would suspend all of its PAC’ funding decisions and to take into account the actions of lawmakers last week, as reported. And Morgan Stanley had said that it would suspend its PAC contributions to lawmakers who objected to the certification of Electoral College votes for President-elect Joe Biden’s victory. JPMorgan had paused all political action committee donations to both Republicans and Democrats for the next six months, and Citigroup said Sunday that it would freeze all PAC donations through March 30.

Morgan Stanley, Wells Fargo and BofA aren’t prohibiting their individual employees from contributing to the lawmakers who objected to the certification, their respective spokespersons told FA-IQ earlier this week.

Do you have a news tip you’d like to share with FA-IQ? Email us at editorial@financialadvisoriq.com.

By Alex Padalka
  • To read the Reuters article cited in this story, click here.
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Tags:  Regulatory/legal issues , Marketing , Bank of America , Citigroup , JPMorgan , Merrill Lynch , Morgan Stanley , Wells Fargo

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