As of today, 23,147 people have signed Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz's pledge to withhold campaign contributions until Congress and President Obama find some kind of bipartisan high ground. Mellody Hobson, a Starbucks board member, is not among them.
She recently donated $1,500 towards the re-election of Rep. Steny Hoyer, D-Md., and says she has not signed her boss's pledge.
Sheryl Sandberg, another of the coffee giant's board members, recently gave donations to House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., and Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, D-N.Y.
They're not alone, writes Olympia AP correspondent Mike Baker:
Starbucks leadership, employees and the company's lobbying firm have continued to contribute thousands of dollars to federal officeholders despite Schultz's urging, according to campaign records.
In August, Schultz called for the donations boycott to hopefully force elected officials to act with civility and reach a deal on debt and spending. That hasn't worked so far, nor has Schultz's pledge drive, Baker reports.
There's no sign that the pledge slowed the flow of money in the third quarter. Congressional candidates brought in some $177 million, up slightly from the same quarter in 2009, according to an analysis of Federal Election Commission records. Obama raised $43 million for his campaign and an additional $27 million for the national party.
At least three other Starbucks employees donated since Schultz announced the pledge, including Steve Johannesen, a director of international development. He gave $2,000 to President Obama's re-election campaign.
As well, K&L Gates, Stabucks' law and lobbying lobbying firm, donated $40,000 to current and prospective congressional members through its political-action committee.
Some doubted Schultz's sincerity in announcing the campaign. "I asked [the campaign] whether the pledge applies to all campaign contributions, including those to 527s, PACs and political parties," said Minnesota Public Radio contributor William Schlitz. The campaign's response was non-committal, which "demonstrates to me that this pledge is nothing more than a PR stunt."
Starbucks spokesperson Bill Olson says Schultz respects the decisions of employees and board members who choose to give. "Howard's pledge was a personal request," he says, "not a company initiative."
The "Upward Spiral" campaign is actually two-fold: it urges individuals to not donate and asks companies to pledge to hire more workers. So far, 3,272 firms have signed that pledge.