More BigLaw Firms Suspend PAC Donations

Law360 (January 13, 2021, 3:06 PM EST) -- Holland & Hart LLP, Holland & Knight LLP and Hogan Lovells are the latest BigLaw firms to suspend donations through their political action committees in the wake of last week's riot in the U.S. Capitol and the decision by dozens of Republicans to object to the 2020 election results. Several firms are also considering changes to their donation policies.

Holland & Hart said in a statement to Law360 on Wednesday that its PAC would stop financially contributing to Republican lawmakers who voted to object to the certification of President-elect Joe Biden's victory. Holland & Knight and Hogan Lovells each told Law360 they are indefinitely pausing all PAC donations as they reviews their policies and practices.

Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP, a firm with a sizable lobbying presence in Washington, D.C., also said the events of the past week would affect any future political contributions.

"The violent attack on the Capitol on Jan. 6 was a reprehensible attack on our democracy that Akin Gump condemns in the strongest possible terms," the firm said in a statement to Law360. "The Akin Gump PAC will certainly consider the riotous events in Washington, D.C. and the false rhetoric questioning the legitimacy of the recent elections as part of a broad array of factors when determining our PAC giving priorities."

The announcements come as prominent companies across industries announce either indefinite pauses on PAC spending or the intention to stop donating to GOP lawmakers who objected to the 2020 Electoral College. Squire Patton Boggs LLP was the first major law firm on Tuesday to publicly announce it would indefinitely pause PAC spending. Cozen O'Connor also said Tuesday it would stop financially supporting lawmakers who challenged the election.

Fueled by conspiracy theories and President Donald Trump's false claims about the election, a mob of Trump supporters on Jan. 6 stormed the U.S. Capitol in an attempted insurrection that led to five deaths. More than 100 Republicans that day voted against the certification of Electoral College results.

The events sparked a reckoning over corporate political spending. Top industry donors to the Republican objectors during the 2020 election cycle include the real estate, health professionals, and securities and investment sectors, according to data from Open Secrets, a site operated by the Center for Responsive Politics.

Lawyers and law firms contributed about $7.8 million to the Republicans who voted to reject the election results during the 2020 cycle, the data showed.

Squire Patton and Akin Gump's decisions are also noteworthy considering the prominent lobby shops they have in Washington. Akin Gump earned over $37 million in revenue from lobbying in 2018, and Squire Patton made $24.3 million, ranking first and fourth among BigLaw firms, respectively.

In addition to the moves related to political spending, a number of law firms, lawyers and law school deans have come out with public statements denouncing efforts to overturn the election.

Nineteen firms, including DLA Piper, signed on to a letter last week pushing for Trump's removal from office. And a group of more than 150 law school deans, including from Harvard and Yale, said in a joint statement Tuesday that lawyers who challenged the election "betrayed the values of the profession."

--Additional reporting by Aebra Coe and Andrew Kragie. Editing by Orlando Lorenzo.

Update: This article has been updated to reflect Hogan Lovells' policy change.

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