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State Farm Employee PAC Suspends Campaign Contributions After Capitol Riot

Josh Hawley
Kevin Dietsch
State Farm's federal PAC has supported U.S. Sen. Josh Hawley, a Republican from Missouri and one of the chief objectors to the presidential election results. The PAC has now suspended all political contributions.

Many large U.S. companies have suspended donations to members of Congress in the wake of last week’s riot on Capitol Hill. State Farm’s employee political action committee is joining them.

State Farm announced the move Tuesday. Some companies, like Airbnb and Comcast, have suspended donations only to Republican lawmakers who objected to the certification of the presidential election. Commerce Bank, which has three branches in Bloomington-Normal, suspended contributions to “officials who have impeded the peaceful transfer of power.”

Others, like State Farm’s federal PAC, paused all contributions across the board. That list includes ADM, the food processing giant that’s now based in Chicago (previously headquartered in Decatur).

“Our organization is saddened by the events that took place on Capitol Hill. We strongly condemn violence and look forward to a peaceful transfer of power,” State Farm told WGLT in a statement. “In light of recent events, the State Farm Federal PAC made a decision to suspend all contributions. The PAC will continue to evaluate this decision and re-examine the process used to support candidates.”

Between 2019-20, State Farm’s federal political action committee contributed about $93,250 in total to 41 members of Congress—all Republicans—who voted to sustain one or both objections last week, according to FEC filings. That includes U.S. Sen. Josh Hawley, Rep. Mike Bost of Illinois, and House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy of California. Eight House members received over $5,000 each. Rep. Blaine Luetkemeyer of Missouri got the most ($10,000).

That $93,250 represents only a small part of the State Farm employee PAC’s contributions and State Farm’s overall lobbying effort in Washington. The State Farm PAC made around $704,831 in contributions overall during the 2019-20 election cycle. The PAC gave to Democrats and Republicans. It’s funded by voluntary individual contributions from employees, including executives like chairman, president and CEO Michael Tipsord.

No policyholder funds are used for the State Farm federal PAC.

“The State Farm Federal PAC has supported candidates across party lines as part of our overall goal to ensure that insurance and financial services products remain affordable and accessible for all consumers,” the company said.

Companies have to navigate all sorts of external and internal politics, said Nick Daggers, partner at 1833 Group, a Chicago-based Democratic fundraising consulting firm.

“This is a smart and responsible move by corporate America to respond to the riots in D.C. and those helping accelerate them,” said Daggers, who is an Illinois State University alum. “Cutting off the purse strings is definitely something that’s going to get politicians to take notice unfortunately.”

It’s too soon to say how long any suspension of contributions will last, he said.

“I think it’s gonna have a huge effect on the Republicans’ ability to try and take back the House, between not giving to Leader McCarthy, or his leadership PAC, the NRCC … it’s definitely going to have an effect,” Daggers said. “We just don’t know how much, or how long it’s gonna last.”

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Ryan Denham is the digital content director for WGLT.
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