Business, Economics and Jobs

100+ business leaders sign Starbucks CEO's pledge to halt political donations

Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz said on Wednesday that over 100 business leaders have signed on to his pledge to withhold campaign contributions from incumbents in Washington until a long-term debt deal is reached.

Among those who Schultz said have agreed to go public with their pledge are J. Crew Group Chairman and CEO Millard Drexler, AOL Chairman and CEO Tim Armstrong and JC Penney Co. Chairman and CEO Myron Ullman, The Wall Street Journal reports.

On August 15, Schultz published a letter calling on "our elected leaders to face the nation's long-term fiscal challenges with civility, honesty, and a willingness to sacrifice their own re-election."

"[W]e invite leaders of businesses – indeed, all concerned Americans – to join us in this pledge," Schultz wrote.

In addition to withholding campaign donations, the letter also calls on business leaders to accelerate job growth.

"This is a time for citizenship, not partisanship," Schultz wrote. "It is a time for action. We don't pretend that our two pledges are quick fixes. We just believe that in this moment of great uncertainty, the government needs discipline, the people need jobs – and leaders need to lead."

Also on Wednesday, a website and a Facebook page ( and launched in support of Schultz's proposal.

CNN reports that Schultz's own political giving has skewed heavily Democratic. Out of $183,650 in donations over the years, only $1,000 went to Republican candidates.

And the real impact of the Schultz's pledge also remains unknown, CNN said:

It's unclear exactly how much of an impact -- if any -- Schultz's CEO pledge might have. But a relatively small number of Americans do wield an outsized influence when it comes to political donations.

Only 0.04% of Americans give in excess of $200 to candidates, parties or political action committees -- and those donations account for 64.8% of all contributions.

According to Reuters, the leaders of America's biggest companies were not among those who Shultz announced had signed his pledge. No leader of any of the 30 companies listed in the Dow Jones industrial average was among those named.