After January 6, companies pledged to rethink political donations. Did they?

After a violent mob stormed the US Capitol on January 6, 2021, many companies and trade groups condemned the attack and pledged to review and change their approach to political donations, including pausing donations to candidates who voted against the certification of the 2020 presidential election.

Three years later, the day still looms large in politics. President Biden has framed the 2024 presidential election as a battle for American democracy, suggesting in a speech on Friday that he will test whether democracy remains a “sacred cause.” The same day, the Supreme Court agreed to hear an appeal by former Donald Trump, the Republican front-runner, of a Colorado court decision that excluded him from the state’s Republican primary ballot because of his actions surrounding the riot.

But the business community has not put the enormous financial pressure on candidates and election-denying groups that the initial flood of condemnations and promises in 2021 may have suggested, according to new data.

Corporate political action committees still give millions to election objectors. Hundreds of business and trade association PACs contributed more than $108 million to campaigns and committees linked to members of Congress who insisted the election had been stolen from Trump, according to an analysis of Federal Election Commission data from December 6. January 2021 through September conducted by Open Secrets, a nonprofit organization that researches campaign finance. “Companies have committed to pulling out, but we haven’t seen that happen,” Open Secrets research director Anna Massoglia told DealBook.

The political watchdog Accountable.US found that overall donations from Fortune 500 companies and about 700 trade associations to election objectors in Congress fell only about 10 percent (or about $3.7 million) in the 2022 election cycle compared to 2020. And more than 250 businesses and industry groups increased donations to those lawmakers after they tried to undermine the election.

Corporate PAC Figures Show What Companies Are Openly Revealing — So while they don’t reveal the full picture of the donation, they are significant, Massoglia said. “Companies also funnel funds through trade associations, super PACs, and even dark money groups that can ultimately be used to benefit election deniers,” she said. Many companies also donate to state-level efforts.

Some companies that have resumed donations to various groups that attempted to undermine the 2020 presidential election have defended the move, saying they donate on a bipartisan basis. “Support for these organizations does not represent an endorsement of all the issues that the organization supports,” General Motors said in 2021 when it appeared before the Republican State Leadership Committee after signing a statement objecting to restrictions on voting rights.

Money is not the only political tool available to companies. ““Some might have thought January 6 was a one-off, but it is an ongoing reckoning,” said Jen Stark, co-director of the Center for Business and Social Justice, which works to mobilize the private sector to engage in social and political issues. . . She recommends that companies demonstrate that civic engagement, as well as election and election work, is important. For example, companies could facilitate employee participation by providing them with information and time to participate.

The nonprofit Leadership Now has worked with businesses on initiatives at the state and federal level, including filing amicus briefs, lobbying for voting rights legislation, and supporting reforms to strengthen the electoral process. Daniella Ballou-Aares, the group’s founder and chief executive, said companies should be concerned about the potential for violence and civil unrest in the future. “Post-election risk suggests companies should be proactive,” she said.

Paul Tagliabue, an attorney and former NFL commissioner who has been working with Leadership Now and other groups to engage business leaders in election efforts, said he tried not to be too prescriptive, but laid out the formula he shares: “Educate, empower and commit.” – Efrat Livni

More jobs were created last month than expected. The latest employment report published yesterday revealed that 216,000 jobs were created in December, far exceeding economists’ forecasts. The data also revealed that wages were continuing to rise, which could complicate the Federal Reserve’s decision-making on when to cut interest rates.

The Food and Drug Administration approved for the first time the mass importation of drugs from Canada. The regulator allowed Florida to buy millions of dollars’ worth of drugs at prices much lower than what the state would have to pay in the United States. The decision ends a policy that critics say kept drug prices high and overturns long-standing objections from the pharmaceutical industry.

Claudine Gay resigned as president of Harvard. The academic faced intense pressure from some donors and politicians over her response to anti-Semitism on campus after the October 7 Hamas attacks on Israel and accusations of plagiarism. The controversy has raised broader questions about the role of diversity, equity and inclusion programs at companies and the role of donors in determining university policy.

The first Mickey Mouse and thousands of other copyrighted works entered the public domain. The character who starred in “Steamboat Willie” can now appear in non-Disney works after the copyright expired on January 1. Some new projects have already been announced: two horror films and a video game.

As Iran-backed Houthi rebels continue to attack commercial ships passing through the Red Sea, some of the world’s largest logistics companies have stopped using the crucial transit route.

The attacks have already reverberated across the global supply chain and have the potential to cause further disruption and price increases. Here are some of the big numbers behind the disruption:

Shipments are diverted at high cost. In normal times, approximately 12 percent of world trade passes through the Suez Canal. The number of transits through the canal decreased in the 10 days that ended on Tuesday 28 percent from a year before, according to the PortWatch Platform of the International Monetary Fund. To avoid the Suez Canal it is necessary to divert the route around the southern tip of Africa, which adds approximately two weeks at each leg of the trip and about $1 million in fuel costs for each round trip between Asia and Europe.

Shipping prices have increased. The cost of shipping a container from Asia to northern Europe has increased 173 percent since shortly before the attacks began after the start of the war in Gaza, according to the Freightos shipping platform. Prices from Asia to the Mediterranean have more than doubled. The cost of insuring ships passing through the Red Sea has also increased, to approximately 0.5 percent of a ship’s hull value, up sharply from 0.1 to 0.2 percent last month, according to Bloomberg.

But oil prices have remained stable. Shipments of oil and refined products such as diesel and gasoline through the Suez Canal decrease about 40 percent in December compared to October, one analyst told the New York Times. This has not yet translated into large price increases, thanks to a combination of factors including lower oil demand as well as high oil and gas inventories. The price of Brent crude oil is approximately 79 dollars a barrelslightly lower than before the attacks increased.

Red Sea attacks are not the only threat to supply chains. The Panama Canal, through which about 5 percent of world trade passes, has restricted the number of ships that can use it due to a severe drought. Continued disruptions could create an increase in shipping costs that would be passed on to consumers just as inflation has begun to decline.

“Succession,” the hit HBO drama about fictional media mogul Logan Roy, his dysfunctional family and the struggle to take over his company, ended in 2023. Now, the family’s belongings are up for grabs to the highest bidder. Heritage Auctions will auction hundreds of props, costumes and furniture used in the series next Saturday. Articles include Kendall Roy’s Forbes cover (“The Heir With the Flair”); Tom Wambsgans’ Waystar ID card; “boar, on the ground” prop sausages; Shiv Roy’s hair clip; Logan Roy Funeral Pamphlets; and many suits. Even if you’re not willing to shell out, say, at least $2,700 to win Greg Hirsch’s dog mascot costume, browsing the lot is a lot of fun.

Thank you for reading! See you on Monday.

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