Starbucks CEO to Businesses: Boycott Political Campaign Donations Until Deficit Deal Reached

Starbucks CEO and Chairman Howard Schultz's political campaign donation boycott is picking up steam after two Wall Street CEOs endorsed the pledge agreeing that bipartisan leadership is lacking in America.

Yesterday Schultz sent a letter to business leaders announcing two major endorsements: NASDAQ OMX Group CEO Bob Greifeld and NYSE Euronext CEO Duncan Niederauer.

A spokesperson for Schultz told The Christian Post (CP) that both men confirmed their pledges with letters of endorsement for the plan meant to force Congress back to the table.

Greifeld wrote in a letter obtained by CP, "I think Howard's idea is a great one."

He also vented, "Until our elected officials show the leadership that all of us not only expect but deserve, it is time for us to stand firm and demand more from them."

Niederauer shared of his endorsement saying, "It is my hope that our leaders can put politics aside and focus on generating long-term sustainable growth driven by the private sector."

Both CEOs forwarded Schultz's pledge to thousands more NASDAQ leaders.

Schultz stirred leaders up when he released a Monday email charging, "Our national elected officials from both parties have failed to lead."

He expressed his frustration at the current economic climate that has weakened America's credit rating and business over the last few weeks and months. Schultz said Washington politicians should put aside their careers and reach a deal on debt, revenue, and spending before the Thanksgiving deadline.

To force the issue, he urged corporate leaders and concerned Americans, "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."

The non-profit group, No Labels, agrees with Schultz's wish that Congressional negotiations get under way immediately.

The group's co-founder, Dave Walker, notes that it took the Bowles-Simpson Commission more than 200 days to release its recommendations and says super-committee members must return to Washington immediately if they are serious about deciding the mandated trillion-dollar reforms by its fall deadline.

"The Joint Committee has less than half that time to come to a bipartisan agreement and report their proposal," he warned. "The 12 lawmakers need to return to Washington immediately and begin the hard work ahead of them."

The question is can Schultz's pledge successfully nudge U.S. House and Senate members out of their August vacations and back into the negotiation room?

Schultz's pledge alone may cost Democrats thousands of dollars according to the Center for Responsive Politics.

Starbucks does not have a political action committee (PAC) according to the company's website. However, the campaign contribution watchdog reports that Schultz, along with his wife, Sheri, have donated $183,650 to federal candidates and political committees since the 1994 election cycle when he made his first known donation.

The center reports that 95 percent of that sum has benefited Democrats. Only $1,000 has benefited a Republican – the Schultz’s gave that amount to Arizona Sen. John McCain during his 2000 presidential campaign.

Additionally, individual employees of Starbucks have donated $73,200 to political campaigns since the 2000 election cycle.

The center reports that NYSE Euronext made $276,445 in federal contributions to both Republican and Democratic candidates and their political parties through individual members, employees, owners, a company PAC or family members during the 2007-2008 election cycles.

NASDAQ OMX Group made $65,700 in federal donations and $14,500 in state contributions to Republicans and Democrats and their parties through individual members, employees, owners, a company PAC or family members during the 2007-2008 election cycle.

Both NASDAQ OMX Group and NYSE Euronext tended to donate more money to Democrat candidates and the Democratic National Committee.

CP contacted both companies to find out if the groups would actively support the political donation boycott. A spokesman from NYSE would only confirm that it had sent a letter to Schultz. Efforts to contact NASDAQ were unsuccessful at press time.

Since the boycott was initially announced, both Republicans and Democrats have been discussing the deficit and the super-committee plans during their month-long recess.

President Barack Obama announced during his Iowa bus tour on Tuesday he would introduce a jobs plan to Congress in September.

On Wednesday, Republican House Speaker John Boehner and Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) announced their own solutions for private sector growth in a USA Today Op-Ed page and online.

However, no one in the U.S. House or Senate has mentioned the possibility of returning to Capitol Hill before the Labor Day holiday.

Schultz's pledge also urges companies to hire workers in order to help boost the job market. He announced that Starbucks plans to hire 70,000 employees in 12 months.