Wall Street firms are quietly preparing to resume political giving in the next few months, marking an end to a freeze that many corporations vowed to impose after rioters stormed the U.S. Capitol in January to disrupt congressional certification of Donald Trump's loss to President Joe Biden.
The pause on political action committee contributions, touted by major financial companies like J.P. Morgan Chase, Goldman Sachs Group and BlackRock, alarmed lawmakers in both parties at the time, given how much of their campaigns are bankrolled by deep-pocketed corporate donors.
Yet it was never meant to be a shutdown of the Wall Street money machine, which contributed $787 million to the 2020 election, people familiar with the matter said. Instead, it was about publicly showing customers and stockholders that they were disgusted with the armed insurrection and the Republicans who directly or indirectly backed the effort.
Some of the 147 members of Congress who voted against certifying the election for Mr. Biden will remain on what's been dubbed the "no-fly list," a likely permanent ban on corporate PAC donations, like Missouri Sen. Josh Hawley or Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene of Georgia.
Craig Engle, a political lawyer at the Arent Fox law firm in Washington, said he expects PACs to resume donations in earnest next month, but the memory of the insurrection will make it difficult to resume giving to some of the 147 senators and representatives and senators.
"That is truly a case-by-case, corporation-by-corporation or group-by-group decision," he said. "There is no general rule that is going to emerge."
And big banks, hedge funds and asset managers have always had other ways to keep the dollars flowing to members of Congress, including fundraising events that can bring in much more money than a PAC can donate. Wall Street firms also took advantage of a natural lull in the first few months after an election.
There is sparse data available on corporate giving so far this year, with some company PACs not scheduled to report to the Federal Election Commission until July 31.