McDonald’s says it is pausing its political donations

The company said it is reviewing its political giving to ensure donations “align with our values and the purpose of our business.”
Photo by Jonathan Maze

McDonald’s has paused all of its political giving and is reviewing its policies on donations in the aftermath of an attack on the U.S. Capitol last week by backers of outgoing President Donald Trump.

“We have already paused all of our political giving while we review our policies and procedures,” the company said in a statement emailed to Restaurant Business. “Going forward, we will ensure that all contributions continue to align with our values and the purpose of our business.”

McDonald’s itself gives little to political candidates. But it has a political action committee (PAC) that takes donations from employees and franchisees and makes donations. That committee is active, having given more than $500,000 to candidates for federal political office during the most recent election cycle, according to data from Open Secrets.

Nearly two-thirds of those funds went to Republican candidates. And more than $100,000 went to Republicans who voted against the certification of the November election of President-Elect Joe Biden.

A McDonald’s spokesperson said the company’s pause on political giving includes the PAC.

A growing number of corporations have vowed in recent days to either stop making donations to Republicans who voted against certification or to hold off on donating to political candidates altogether. Among those that have said they wouldn’t donate to Republicans against certification include the giant retailer Walmart as well as Marriott and The Walt Disney Co.

The moves came days after a mob of President Donald Trump’s supporters attacked the U.S. Capitol, leading to five deaths, numerous injuries and considerable damage. The attack, which came after Trump urged his supporters to march to the Capitol, led the U.S. House of Representatives to impeach the president for a second time on Wednesday.

McDonald’s quickly took a stand on the attack last week. CEO Chris Kempczinski on Friday sent a letter to the system condemning the attacks and endorsing a statement from a group of U.S. business leaders blaming Trump and other politicians for inciting the violence.

According to the watchdog group Public Citizen, corporate PACs have contributed $170 million to the campaigns of the 147 members of Congress that voted against certification.

McDonald’s political action committee donated $504,000 to federal candidates during the 2020 election cycle, 63% of which went to Republicans, according to Open Secrets.

The committee did not donate to any of the six senators who voted against certification. But it donated heavily to representatives that voted against certification. Its donations include $7,500 to Republican Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, of California, and $10,000 to North Carolina’s Virginia Foxx.

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