Utility companies “pause” or “evaluate” PAC giving; others remain silent

Utility companies “pause” or “evaluate” PAC giving; others remain silent

January 16, 2021 Off By administrator

Key points:

  • Several utilities have announced a pause in PAC giving in the aftermath of the attack on the Capitol on January 6.
  • Southern Company and the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association are among utilities that have not announced a change, despite their PACs being top contributors to the 147 members of Congress who voted to overturn the results of the presidential election in favor of Donald Trump.
  • The PAC of Southern Company’s subsidiary Alabama Power contributed $25,000 to the Rule of Law Defense Fund, which appeared on a list of groups who participated in organizing the “March to Save America” event that preceded violent attack.

Several of the nation’s largest utility companies have joined other corporations to announce a pause in their political action committee (PAC) contributions in the aftermath of the deadly attack on the Capitol on January 6. Some of the utilities and trade groups who have given the most in contributions to the members of Congress who sought to overturn the presidential election results, however, have not announced any changes to their contributions policy.

The storming of the Capitol building occurred as Congress was formally certifying the final electoral college vote, and was incited by lies spread by President Donald Trump and many Republican officials about the integrity of the presidential election. When the Senate and House of Representatives reconvened later that day, 147 Republican members of Congress voted to overturn the results of the 2020 presidential election. An EPI analysis published earlier this week found that utilities and their trade associations’ PACs contributed over $6.8 million in the past three election cycles to the 147 politicians. 

Duke Energy and Exelon – two companies that were among the top utility PAC contributors to the 147 politicians – confirmed with EPI that they are evaluating their PAC activity and instituting a pause to some degree.

Other utilities have not announced policy changes to their PAC giving, including three of the sector’s four largest donors to the 147 members of Congress, the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association, Southern Company and its subsidiaries, and NextEra Energy.

Statements made by utility companies:

Utilities that have paused PAC giving

At least 11 utilities and a trade association have told EPI or other media outlets that their PAC contributions are on hold, including: Ameren, American Electric Power, CenterPoint, Consumers Energy, DTE Energy, Duke Energy, Edison Electric Institute, Edison International, Exelon, FirstEnergy, NRG Energy, and Public Service Enterprise Group (PSEG). 

Duke Energy said, “We’re taking this very seriously and pausing all federal political contributions for 30 days. During this time, we’re evaluating Duke Energy-supported candidates’ values and actions to ensure they align to our values and goals. The way members of Congress conducted themselves in this critical time will be an…

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