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Abortion issues could cause Lehigh County to part ways with Wells Fargo

  • Megan Frank/WLVT
The Lehigh County Government Center.

 Hayden Mitman / WLVR

The Lehigh County Government Center.

Lehigh County officials are considering divesting from Wells Fargo and Co. due to the bank’s donations to politicians who oppose abortion rights.

Lehigh County’s Board of Commissioners recently voted 6-3 on the motion to look into how and if the county can change where it keeps its money.

Right now, the county has millions of dollars in assets with Wells Fargo. The bank has donated to Republican politicians who oppose abortion, like U.S. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell and Texas Gov. Greg Abbott,  according to Open Secrets, which tracks politician giving.

County controller Mark Pinsley, who is also running for Pennsylvania’s 16th District Senate seat as a Democrat, says that doesn’t sit right with him.

“So that’s $145 million dollars of taxpayer money that banks are using to make their own political donations,” said Pinsley.

Wells Fargo has donated to both major political parties this year. It has given $75,000 to Democrats and $80,000 to Republicans, according to Open Secrets.

But Pinsley says he wants to find a bank that has no political ties.

“It should serve everyone. So, I’m not trying to take that money and move it into Democratic ideals or into Republican ideals. I’m trying to get big money out of politics completely,” said Pinsley.

County commissioner Jeff Dutt says he voted against the proposal because he believes the idea to change banks was a reaction to a political issue.

“If the wave of the next commissioners election elects a bunch of Republicans, are we going to make decisions based on what Republicans believe in? And I think it just sets a bad precedent,” Dutt said.

Dutt, a Republican, says his personal opinions about abortion did not affect his vote.

Lehigh County’s finance office will now weigh in. It could be four to six months before a decision on a new bank is made.

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