January 18, 2021

Political Contributions Watch: Big 4 Suspends Donations to Lawmakers Who Voted Against Certifying Election Results

Here is how the Big 4 firms are responding to last week’s riot on the U.S. Capitol and Republican lawmakers who voted against certifying the presidential election:

Deloitte

Capitol siege reaction: Here is a letter to staff signed by CEO Joe Ucuzoglu and Board Chairman Janet Foutty:

Colleagues,

We wanted to share some brief thoughts on the situation at the US Capitol. One of the most sacred tenets of our Democracy is that we respect the results of our free and fair elections, and consistently execute the transfer of power peacefully. The events we all witnessed this afternoon, with the storming of the US Capitol, represent a sad and embarrassing moment. But our great country is far stronger than the abhorrent actions of those who engaged in this conduct.

Consistent with the sentiments we shared with you in the immediate aftermath of the November election, we have full faith and confidence in our democratic system. Over the past few months, state, federal and constitutional laws worked as designed to consider any questions or concerns about the election outcome and resolve them definitively. We are actively working with members of the Biden/Harris transition team, consistent with our long history of doing important work that benefits our clients and our country regardless of politics or which party controls each branch of government.

As you may have seen in the press, we have been actively engaged with other leaders in the business community to speak out visibly in a manner that is consistent with our values. You can access the statements we were a part of, issued by the Partnership for New York City and the Business Roundtable. We will continue to visibly stand for Deloitte’s inclusive values, and do all that we can to help bring people together and strengthen our nation.

We are actively monitoring local areas to ensure the safety of all of you. Please know that your well-being is always our most important priority, resources are available for anyone who needs support. If anyone feels unable to work effectively, please take the time you need to focus on yourself and your family. Thank you for all you are doing during these challenging times to take great care of each other, our clients, and our communities.

Campaign donations response: According to CNN and other media outlets, Deloitte has suspended political contributions:

“Now is the time for the country to come together and facilitate a smooth transition to the Biden/Harris administration,” the company said in a statement. “We have suspended political contributions, we are evaluating all aspects of our political engagement strategy, and we will not support those who work to undermine the rule of law.”

PwC

Capitol siege reaction: PwC Chairman Tim Ryan sent out this tweet following the riot in the Capitol:

Campaign donations response: Judd Legum, who writes the Popular Information newsletter, tweeted out PwC’s response on Tuesday night:

Here is the official statement from PwC:

KPMG

Capitol siege reaction: KPMG Chairman and CEO Paul Knopp sent out this tweet following last Wednesday’s attack on the Capitol:

Campaign donations response: In a statement to Going Concern on Wednesday, KPMG said:

“The KPMG PAC is imposing a moratorium on contributions to Members of Congress who supported objections to state certifications of the 2020 presidential election results, during which time we will re-evaluate our approach to PAC giving. We continue to support an orderly and peaceful transition of power.”

EY

Capitol siege reaction: A tipster sent us the message EY Chair and Managing Partner and Americas Managing Partner Kelly Grier sent to staff last Thursday morning:

Earlier this week, I signed on with nearly 200 other CEOs in imploring the peaceful and expedient certification of the election results and the transition of power. I did so not in support of a political party or candidate, but in support of one of our most fundamental and defining ideals as a nation: democracy and respecting the will of the people.

Yesterday’s events in Washington, DC, will forever be chronicled as one of the darkest days in our nation’s history and an assault on our democracy. Respecting and valuing different perspectives, including political differences, is one of our core values as a firm; we have seen and understand empirically the power of diversity and also understand the peril of a world without it. Fomenting violence and divisiveness poses an untenable threat to democracy and our civil liberties and must be strongly condemned. It also blocks the healing pathway to common ground and the unity that our country urgently needs to move forward.

Despite the alarming and abhorrent events of this week, I remain confident in the democratic institutions of our great country. The bipartisan condemnations of insurrection and violence and the will of Congress to carry out their responsibilities under the Constitution to count the electoral votes and declare the results was a sign of resolve and safeguarding of our democratic processes. Regardless of our political views, we must work together to address the great challenges and opportunities before us. With vaccine distribution well underway and the economic recovery gaining momentum, there is so much for which to be hopeful and our resolve, tested once again, must remain strong.

I implore you to lean on our inclusive culture and find strength in understanding different viewpoints. Be a catalyst for the power of diverse perspectives, a conduit for dialogue and an antidote for healing. This is a critical time to support each other through dialogue and respect. While we may have different political views, please remember that we’re all still part of the EY family, bound by common values of respect, integrity, teaming and, of course, the #CourageToLead.

As always, the safety and well-being of our people remains our priority. We are monitoring the situation in Washington, DC, and will communicate locally as needed. Our Greater Washington offices were closed for all personnel and we’ve activated our Everbridge notification system. If you need support, remember that EY Assist is a valuable resource available 24 hours a day at +1 800 333 4119 or through www.eyassist.com.

Thank you for your enduring #CourageToLead. Stay safe and take good care of yourselves and each other.

Campaign donations response: In a message to staff this week, EY said it’s suspending political contributions. Here is the message, which was sent to us by a tipster:

Since last week’s attack at the US Capitol there have been growing discussions of political contributions to those who chose to vote against the certification of the Electoral College vote. Some of you have also raised questions and concerns to members of EY leadership.

EY strongly condemns the attack at our Capitol and the threat to our democracy and civil liberties. As we continue to grasp the highly disturbing events over recent days, we have urged Congress and the incoming Biden administration to work together to help the country unite and move forward. We want to share that, effective immediately, the EY Political Action Committee (PAC) is suspending its giving. Now is not the time for partisanship and campaigning—rather it should be a time for unity.

The EYPAC has been funded for the last 30 years through voluntary contributions from our EY partners, principals, managing directors and directors as a collective means of amplifying their voice on important policy debates in Washington. Strengthening alignment with our values, the EYPAC recently made important changes to its mission and contribution criteria to assure that the priorities of EY’s culture and values—including our concerns around diversity, respect, inclusion and our commitment against racism—are fully considered in PAC giving. The updated guidelines serve as a valuable framework to ensure that future PAC contributions continue to be guided by our business imperatives but also align with our EY values.

Many of us are feeling heightened stress and anxiety as we absorb the impact of the traumatic events at the Capitol and the threat of more unrest in the coming days. These feelings are normal and you’re not alone. Continue to find strength in your EY family—reach out to one another and check in with your colleagues and team members. If you need support, know that EY Assist is available 24 hours a day at +1 800 333 4119 or through www.eyassist.com.

If you have any questions regarding the EYPAC, please contact John Hallmark and KC Tominovich.

We just received the official statement from EY. It says:

EY strongly condemns the attack at our Capitol and the threat to our democracy and civil liberties. As we continue to grasp the highly disturbing events over recent days, we have urged Congress and the incoming Biden administration to work together to help the country unite and move forward. Effective immediately, the EY Political Action Committee (PAC) is suspending its giving. Now is not the time for partisanship and campaigning—rather it should be a time for unity.

We’ll continue to update this article throughout the day.

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8 Comments

  1. If I were a Trump voter or any kind of conservative… maybe I start looking to go elsewhere, especially if I’m at PWC or KPMG.

    1. > maybe I start looking to go elsewhere, especially if I’m at PWC or KPMG.

      Yeah.

      Not a Republican but I asked Paul Knopp on Twitter if he was virtue signaling as much this past summer and fall as he is now. RE: when KPMG gave hundreds of thousands of dollars to BLM while the rioters were causing millions of dollars in damages to our cities across the nation.

      Of course, he blocked me.

    2. > maybe I start looking to go elsewhere, especially if I’m at PWC or KPMG.

      Yeah… EY’s hiring and one can take advantage of that sweet, sweet, unlimited PTO they just went to.

  2. Are these actions intended to influence PCAOB or SEC actions in the future to the effect that neither organization acts against the Big Four’s interests?

    1. > Are these actions intended to influence PCAOB or SEC actions

      No, it’s intended to show that a bunch of old white people are woke.

  3. Interesting question if Accounting Firms take political sides (this is not the first instance members of Congress have objected to certification – ask Maxine Waters) whether they have an independence issue related to government work as they certainly seem to have lost objectivity (certainly a appearance of objectivity). Those that suspend all contributions have not taken a stand either way.

    Humm.

    1. > whether they have an independence issue related to government
      > work as they certainly seem to have lost objectivity

      That doesn’t apply at the partner level.

      Only at the staff level… like that PwCer who posted last week that they were fined 3% of their salary by the firm for having investments they didn’t declare.

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