Republicans in cash crisis amid donor ire and Adelson death

Megadonor’s death plus CEO anger over the Capitol riot have hit Trump’s party in the wallet

WASHINGTON, DC - JANUARY 11: The U.S. Capitol stands on January 11, 2021 in Washington, DC. House Republicans blocked House Majority Leader Steny Hoyers efforts to quickly move a resolution that urged Vice President Mike Pence to use the 25th amendment to remove President Donald Trump from office, setting up a vote on the measure tomorrow.   Stefani Reynolds/Getty Images/AFP
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Republicans were counting their financial losses on Tuesday after the death of megadonor Sheldon Adelson and as some of America's biggest companies abandoned the party over last week's riot at the US Capitol.

It remains unclear exactly how many millions of dollars the Republican Party will lose in the absence of casino magnate Adelson and as major firms such as AT&T, General Electric and Verizon turn their backs on the party.

But the financial hits come at a tough time, as the party has lost control of the Senate and the White House and as anger is high over Republican politicians goading the mob of angry Trump supporters that besieged the US Capitol.

Speaking with The National and others on Tuesday, John Bolton, a prominent Republican and former national security adviser, said the corporate funding pullouts were a signal of disdain for Republicans, but that their impact would take months to count.

“I think it's an expression of their distaste for the Trump effort to overturn the results of the election. I think that's entirely understandable,” said Mr Bolton, who served in the Trump administration until he was ousted by the president in September 2019.

Still, said Mr Bolton, these “companies said they were going to pause their contributions, which implies, if not explicitly, that they will resume them at some point”.

Few firms make big donations in the months after presidential elections, he added.

Some of the biggest corporations in the US have said they would halt donations to Republicans who voted against certifying the results of the presidential election last week, including insurance federation Blue Cross Blue Shield Association, banking company Citigroup and hospitality company Marriott.

“We continuously evaluate our political contributions to ensure that those we support share our values and goals,” said Blue Cross Blue Shield Association chief executive and president Kim Keck in a statement.

“In light of this week’s violent, shocking assault on the US Capitol and the votes of some members of Congress to subvert the results of November’s election by challenging Electoral College results, [we] will suspend contributions to those lawmakers who voted to undermine our democracy.”

Other companies understood to be pulling or reviewing future political donations include Bank of America, Comcast, Ford, Best Buy, CVS, Exxon Mobil, FedEx, Airbnb and Boston Scientific, a medical technology firm.

The blowback followed an attack on the US Capitol by a mob of Trump supporters last Wednesday, incited by the president's unsubstantiated claims of widespread voter fraud and the about 150 Republicans who voted the same day to reject Joe Biden's electoral victory.

At least five people died in the attack, which forced politicians into hiding for several hours as their offices were ransacked by Trump supporters and far-right extremists.

The 147 Republicans in the House of Representatives and the Senate who voted to challenge Mr Biden’s electoral win are those most likely to lose funding, which pays for crucial political advertising during campaigns.

They include the top two House Republicans, Kevin McCarthy and Steve Scalise, and senators Ted Cruz, Josh Hawley and Rick Scott, who is heading efforts to win back the Senate in the 2022 elections.

Another big financial loss is anticipated following the death of Mr Adelson, the owner of the Las Vagas Sands casino and an important Republican donor and power broker. He died at 87 from complications related to treatment for non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma.

According to Forbes, Mr Adelson was 28th on its list of billionaires last year. The hawkish pro-Israel tycoon reportedly contributed about $220 million to Mr Trump’s failed 2020 re-election bid, as well as to other Republican candidates.

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