Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz has had it with political dickering in Washington, D.C., and is calling for a boycott on campaign contributions to President Obama and congressional lawmakers until they put the country's financial house in order.
Companies are afraid to hire. Consumers are afraid to spend. Besides stopping campaign contributions, Schultz — the Northwest's top-paid CEO last year — vowed to help get the economy moving by hiring.
We are hiring more people now."
The media attention around Schultz's political boycott began last week, when New York Times columnist Joe Nocera interviewed him about a letter he had sent to employees voicing frustration with politicians.
By the time Nocera talked to Schultz, the positive reaction from Starbucks workers and about 50 business leaders with whom he'd shared the email had prompted the coffee-shop king to suggest a boycott.
Starbucks Corp. (SBUX) Chief Executive Officer Howard Schultz urged other CEOs to boycott donating to U.S. political campaigns to encourage leaders to solve the nation’s growing budget deficit.
Schultz, 58, joined Starbucks about three decades ago and later served as CEO until in 2000. Among the recipients of Schultz’s e-mail were NYSE Euronext CEO Duncan Niederauer and Bob Greifeld, CEO of Nasdaq OMX Group Inc., who in turn e-mailed letters to companies listed on their respective exchanges.
Schultz encouraged fellow business leaders in the e-mail to “voice your perspective publicly” and said that “businesses need to do all they can to accelerate job creation.”
Schultz donated to Senator Maria Cantwell, a Washington state Democrat, in March, according to OpenSecrets.org.
The New York Times earlier reported on Schultz’s e-mail.
The CEO of Starbucks wants Washington to wake up and smell the coffee.
Infuriated by what he described as irresponsible behavior, Howard Schultz is calling on his fellow CEOs -- and other would-be donors -- to boycott all campaign contributions to either party until the nation's elected leaders put aside their political posturing and find some common ground on long-term fiscal issues.
Schultz concluded with a promise: "We today pledge to withhold any further campaign contributions to the President and all members of Congress until a fair, bipartisan deal is reached that sets our nation on stronger long-term fiscal footing. "
Fred Wertheimer, dean of Washington's campaign-finance reform community, said his group, Democracy 21, will be working with Schultz to build national support for a donation boycott. Schultz has not been a particularly generous political donor himself. Schultz's boycott campaign was first reported over the weekend by New York Times columnist Joe Nocera. Nocera described how the boycott campaign was the outgrowth of an earlier email that Schultz sent last week to Starbucks employees and some fellow business leaders. Schultz was not immediately available for comment.