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Four defense contractors among firms halting political donations after Capitol riots

Four defense contractors among firms halting political donations after Capitol riots
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Defense contractors Northrop Grumman, Leidos, BAE Systems and Raytheon are among a growing number of companies that announced a pause on political donations to members of Congress following violent riots at the U.S. Capitol last week.

Northrop - which last year contributed $4.8 million roughly equally to Democrats and Republicans - on Monday became the first major defense firm to halt its donations.

“We are pausing political action committee giving and evaluating the way forward,” Northrop Grumman spokesman Tim Paynter said in a statement to The Hill.

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The company did not say why it made the decision, which was first reported by Defense News.

Leidos followed suit on Tuesday, with company chairman and CEO Roger Krone announcing the immediate pause of all political giving.

“Violence, lawlessness, and anarchy have no place in our nation. We believe in civil political discourse and the fundamental right to peacefully protest, but strongly condemn violence or intimidation,” Krone said in a statement. “In light of these events, Leidos’ Political Action Committee (PAC) has decided to temporarily pause all political donations.”

Raytheon, meanwhile, said it has “paused all political action committee contributions to reflect on the current environment and determine appropriate next steps,” according to spokesman Chris Johnson. 

And BAE Systems Inc., the U.S. subsidiary of the British defense firm of the same name, said it would pause contributions in reaction to the “deeply disturbing violence” last week.

“In response to the deeply disturbing violence at the U.S. Capitol on January 6th, our U.S. political action committee has suspended all donations while we assess the path forward,” BAE spokeswoman Tammy Thorp said in a statement to The Hill.

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The four defense contractors join the growing list of firms that are cutting off donations to politicians. Some companies, including Marriott, Dow Chemical, the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association, AT&T, Best Buy and Amazon, are specifically targeting the 147 Republican members of the House and the Senate who opposed the Electoral College results and voted against affirming President-elect Joe BidenJoe BidenDobbs: Republicans lost in 2020 because they 'forgot who was the true leader' Should deficits matter any more? Biden's Cabinet gradually confirmed by Senate MORE’s victory.

The defense companies, however, said they would temporarily suspend any political action committee (PAC) donations. 

Several other major defense firms have condemned last week’s events but have been quiet on whether they too will stop political donations, including No. 2 defense contractor Boeing.

“The vote of the people and the peaceful transition of government are core to our democracy. Our company has a long history of working with elected officials over many years. In the spirit of bipartisanship, we encourage them to work with President-elect Biden to unify our nation,” Boeing President and CEO David Calhoun said in a Jan. 7 statement.

Several defense associations have also condemned the riots including the Aerospace Industry Association and the National Defense Industrial Association.

Five people died amid the attack on the Capitol by a pro-Trump mob on Jan. 6, including a Capitol Police officer and one protester who was shot by a Capitol Police officer. 

Republican lawmakers had attempted to challenge the results of Arizona and Pennsylvania, two swing states Biden won, during and after the violent and deadly siege.