You Can’t Shop There! The Politics of Shopping

This week’s hubbub surrounding the notion that Chik-Fil-A as a company is prejudiced against same-sex marriage has created a firestorm of reactions from people.

Boycotts and “kiss-ins” are being planned to try and send some kind of message to the company that is known for their tasty chicken sandwiches and waffle-woven fries, friendly service and being one of the few companies that actually honors the Sabbath.

The Muppets and Hollywood has-beens and never-weres are weighing in too – Miley Cyrus, Lindsay Lohan, Mia Farrow, Roseanne Barr and the omnipresent Kim Kardashian are using their “influence” to affect people’s shopping habits.

Well, it’s still a semi-free country and you can chose where you wish to shop. To give you some help, here are some companies you might want to consider either patronizing or boycotting with your dollars.


Mitt Romney is the assumptive Republican nominee for president. He has some big backers in some very large companies. Likewise, he worked at Bain Capital decades ago, which has assisted in the growth of some of our country’s biggest companies. Here are those companies:

The Marriott and Ritz-Carlton – both owned by J.W. Marriott who has given $1,000,000 of his own money to Romney’s Super PAC Restore Our Future.

Sidenote: according to Open Secrets, as of July 26, 2012, out of the $53 million in the coffers for Restore Our Future, $21 million was spent against Rick Santorum and $18 million was spent against Newt Gingrich. Thus far, only $7.4 million has been spent in the race against President Barak Obama. See other donors here, including individuals from Goldman-Sachs.

The Omni– owned by Robert Rowling who has given $1.1mm of his own money to American Crossroads and Romney’s Super PAC. He also owns Gold’s Gym.

The Palazzo and The Venetian Hotels in Las Vegas – both owned by Sheldon Adelson, who, along with his wife Miriam, have given $36 million to various conservative efforts including Restore Our Future, Winning Our Future (Gingrich’s Super PAC), YG Action Fund (Young Guns) and Congressional Leadership Fund, chaired by former Minnesota Senator Norm Coleman (remember, the one Al Franken beat in a court-challenged decision) .

In your home, you can chose to buy Angel Soft toilet paper, Brawny paper towels, Dixie cups or anything made by Georgia Pacific. These brands are owned by the famous (or infamous, depending on where you stand) Koch brothers, Charles and David Koch, who own Koch Industries. According to Open Secrets, the brothers have given just over $3 million to political efforts since 1990 from their own funds, the majority going to Republicans. The Huffington Post is reporting the Koch brothers have pledged to give over $400 million to various efforts, including support of the PAC Americans for Prosperity. I cannot verify their spending at this point.

Several other brands have associations with Republican giving including Regal Cinemas, owned by Philip Anschutz, Blue Bell Creameries, Waffle House and White Castle. Anschutz owns AEG, which owns MLS soccer teams Houston Dynamo and Los Angeles Galaxy, the NHL’s Los Angeles Kings and the NBA’s Los Angeles Lakers and the Orlando Magic. Wonder which stars will give up their Lakers tickets to stand on their principles?

If you like running in New Balance shoes, you’ll want to know that Jim Davis, the owner, has given $1 million to Romney’s Super PAC.  If you invest your money, know that Charles Schwab and his wife Helen have each given $125,000 to Romney’s Super PAC.

The successful Bain Capital companies Romney was involved with, according to ABC News, include:

  • Bright Horizons Family Solutions – Bain was one of the original investors
  • Dominos Pizza – Bain took a majority stake in this under Romney and made a 500% return on it’s money
  • Staples – a “fledgling” company that now employs 88,000 people.
  • Other brands that have been helped by Bain after Romney left the company include Toys R Us, KB Toys, Dunkin’ Donuts, Guitar Center, Michaels, and Burlington Coat Factory.

By the way, Bain Capital is listed as giving $3.4 million in contributions so far in 2012 according to Open Secrets, of which 47% have gone to Democrats and 53% have gone to Republicans.


Obama, the incumbent, will be the candidate for the Democrats. According to Open Secrets, he has raised almost 2 dollars for every dollar Romney has raised.

His top individuals come from the following businesses/universities: Microsoft Corp, Google, University of California and Harvard University, Comcast, Time Warner, Stanford University, Kaiser Permanente, Columbia University, University of Chicago, Wells Fargo and IBM. Employees from the federal government are also big donors, including the Department of State.

Since many of his donors are attorneys, unions and individuals, finding consumer brands that support him is more difficult. You have to look more at the media outlets who are supporting him.

Contributors to the president’s super PAC Priorities USA Action include Dreamworks’ Jeffery Katzenburg ($2,000,000), Actor Morgan Freeman ($1,000,000), and comedienne/actress Chelsea Handler ($100,000). Newsweb Corporation’s Fred Eychaner contributed $1,000,000. Newsweb publishes alternative and minority-issue media. They were a large supporter of the attempt to defeat Proposition 8 in California which banned gay marriage in the state.

Franklin Haney, founder of FLH Company, has given $1,000,000 this year. FLH is a DC-based real estate developer. This contribution drew some scrutiny because of Haney’s indictment in 1999 on 42 counts of violating federal campaign law. He was later acquitted but did pay over $14.7 million in damages and fines to Smith Barney in the 1990s for a Colorado real estate bond sale that was questioned.

Bundlers can raise a lot of money, once they contribute the limited amount. Choice Hotels chairman Stewart Bainum and his wife Sandy hosted a dinner at their home earlier this year for the president. So far, they have contributed over $1.2 million.  Choice Hotels include Comfort Inn, Sleep Inn, EconoLodge and many others.

Open Secrets also lists Robert Pohlad as a large bundler, contributing over $1 million. His dad, Carl, is the owner of the Minnesota Twins. Bob is listed by BusinessWeek as the chairman of PepsiAmericas and the president of Pohlad Companies. Chartwell Hotels Founder, Chairman and CEO George Tsunis raised just under $1,000,000 for the president. Chartwell Hotels are mostly in the northeast.

So, now you have a better idea of where you might want to spend your money, or maybe you’ll decide it’s just too hard to figure out. Either way, it’s still a free-enough country that you get to decide.


Marijo Tinlin is the Editor in Chief of Family First, one of the oldest family-oriented websites on the internet. She writes for Eagle Publishing’s Family Events, is the Managing Editor of and she runs a small business with her husband. She is also the author of a book about patriotism and teaching our children to love this country called “How to Raise an American Patriot, Making it Okay for Our Kids to Be Proud to Be American.”  It features 13 interviews with patriotic Americans including Ed Meese, Erick Erickson and Jackie Gingrich Cushman. It’s available at

2 thoughts on “You Can’t Shop There! The Politics of Shopping

  1. 4 (tie). Jerry Perenchio. Total: $2.6 million.Perenchio, from Los Angeles, is the former chairman of Univision Spanish language television and chairs the investment firm Chartwell Partners.Perenchio has given $2 million to American Crossroads and $500,000 to the pro-Romney Restore Our Future.He also gave $100,000 to the pro-Jon Huntsman Our Destiny.

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