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Travel industry reconsiders political donations following Capitol siege

[The Points Guy] Travel industry reconsiders political donations following Capitol siege: The deadly insurrection at the U.S. Capitol last week prompted soul searching throughout the country, including the travel industry.
Last week, a mob of protestors egged on by President Trump stormed the Capitol in an attempt to stop members of Congress from certifying the results of the presidential election. Now, businesses with ties to members of Congress who voted to oppose the certification of President-elect Joe Biden?s win are, in some instances, distancing themselves. 
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Marriott International announced it would be ?pausing? donations of Republican members who voted against certifying the election — without saying when the donations would resume. 
“We have taken the destructive events at the Capitol to undermine a legitimate and fair election into consideration and will be pausing political giving from our Political Action Committee to those who voted against [the] certification of the election,? a Marriott spokesperson told Popular Information, which first reported the news. 
The American Express Company?s AXP Political Action Committee (PAC) said on Monday it had previously made contributions to 22 of the 139 U.S. House of Representative members who voted in favor of the objections.
?Last week?s attempts by some congressional members to subvert the presidential election results and disrupt the peaceful transition of power do not align with our American Express Blue Box values,? American Express said in a statement on Monday. ?Therefore, the AXP PAC will not support them.?
The statement continued to say that the PAC has not contributed to senators who voted in favor of the objections to certain states? Electoral College results.
Similar to Marriott, some financial institutions opted to pause donations instead of ending them outright. JPMorgan Chase & Co. said it would stop donations to both parties for six months, according to Forbes, though no Democrats voted to oppose the win. Citigroup Inc. also said it would pause donations “as the country goes through the Presidential transition,” for three months.
In 2020, Marriott International gave nearly $200,000 to politicians, split almost equally between Republicans and Democrats, according to Open Secrets ? a website that tracks political donations. That same year, JPMorgan Chase & Co. gave more than $237,000 to Democrats and $324,000 to Republicans.
In the past few years, corporate America has become much more politically and socially active. Major companies in the travel space, including United, Hyatt and American Express, have reacted to Black Lives Matter protests, climate change, LGBTQ issues and more. These companies have also been on the receiving end of criticism for inclusivity issues.
Companies that shy away from taking a stance may even be publicly shamed. Major hotel brands were criticized for not shutting their doors to rioters in Washington, D.C. last week, and Hyatt came under fire when a video went viral showing several people without masks in the lobby of the Grand Hyatt following the attack.  
Just a few years ago, brands might have been more hesitant to take a stance on such issues; now, companies proudly display black banners on their social media accounts. More than half of Republicans and Democrats say a company?s position on a social or political issue matters when deciding whether to buy a product.
There’s something to gain for taking a stance publicly, as well: good publicity. For instance, the Federal Aviation Association has been criticized for not instituting a federal mask mandate on flights. But airlines have been applauded for no-nonsense mask policies that include kicking noncompliant passengers off flights or banning them altogether.
According to a study by Edelman, 53% of people in eight countries, including the U.S., said companies should get involved in at least one social issue that does not directly affect their business. But the same study also found that more than half of the respondents thought brands used societal issues as a “marketing ploy” to sell more products.
Featured photo by NICHOLAS KAMM / AFP

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