Jamie Dimon Says JPMorgan Paused PAC Giving to Rethink Its Donations

Jamie Dimon said the reason JPMorgan Chase & Co. paused donations from its political action committee is to give the biggest U.S. bank time to reevaluate how it contributes to campaigns following last week’s deadly siege on the Capitol.

The bank is “taking a pause, a little bit of a deep breath, figuring out what we should change and how we should change it,” Dimon, JPMorgan’s chief executive officer, said at a conference Wednesday. “We saw something terrible in D.C., which was mobs violently attacking the Capitol -- that’s not justifiable on any basis.”

Major banks are reassessing, reducing and in many cases suspending campaign contributions following the riot in Washington a week ago. Morgan Stanley said it paused donations to members of Congress who opposed the move to certify President-elect Joe Biden’s election win. Goldman Sachs Group Inc. has discussed taking similar steps, and JPMorgan went a step further Sunday, saying it would suspend all political giving from its corporate PAC for six months.

One of JPMorgan’s private-banking clients urged Dimon to go further. The Moriah Fund, a Manhattan-based family foundation focused on human rights and social justice, said it will consider leaving if JPMorgan doesn’t commit by Jan. 22 to severing business ties with President Donald Trump, his family, their companies and certain political allies. The fund had $74 million in assets at the end of 2018, according to an annual filing with the government.

“We feel we cannot support an institution that would enable those who have worked, and reportedly continue to work, to overturn our democratic election,” leaders of the Moriah Fund wrote to Dimon on Tuesday. “This includes President Trump and his family and family businesses, and the senators and representatives that voted against certifying the results of our democratic election.”

A JPMorgan spokesperson declined to comment. At least three firms -- Deutsche Bank AG, Signature Bank and Professional Bank -- already decided to refrain from new business dealings with Trump or to close accounts.

When political donors gave money to campaigns, there was no expectation of “people to be taking seditious acts with it,” Dimon said. JPMorgan’s pause in donations won’t stop the bank from supporting the country, he said.

“We’re not in any way saying that people shouldn’t be involved personally” in the political process, Dimon said. “Far more important are the things we’re doing to try to build the economy and racial equality and helping anyone -- governors, mayors -- to do the things that we think are lifting up America and lifting up all of our citizens, particularly the most disadvantaged.”

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