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Boycott Political Contributions to Congress: Starbucks CEO

Tuesday, 16 Aug 2011 | 12:28 PM ET
Starbucks
AP
Starbucks

Howard Schultz wants his voice heard in Washington and to do that he's closing his wallet.

The chief executive of Starbucks told CNBC Tuesday he will not give campaign donations to politicians in Congress of any political party until they put serving Americans and creating jobs ahead of fundraising and ideology.

"The issue I am trying to raise is the sense of urgency," he said, and to "encourage Congress to go back to work."

He wants other CEOS to join his boycott, asking them in an email to forgo political contributions until Congress and the president return to Washington and deliver a fiscally disciplined long-term debt and deficit plan to the American people.

At the same time, he told CNBC, "we can’t wait for Congress to solve America’s problems. America’s CEOs have to step up and grow their companies and start hiring people."

He hopes "business leaders will come together in recognition that we have the power to do something and send a signal to Congress...and try and stimulate job creation in America."

Schultz's Pledge
Howard Schultz, chairman & CEO of Starbucks, says he is prepared to stop making political contributions until politicians in Washington start doing their jobs. "I'm profoundly disappointed by what happened with the debt ceiling," he says.

Schultz said $4 billion was spent during the last election cycle, and it is estimated that $5 billion to $6 billion will be spent during the 2012 election cycle.

"We have a crisis of confidence throughout America and throughout the world as a result of the lack of leadership in Washington, which has produced so much uncertainty in the financial markets," he said. "I am profoundly disappointed with what happened with the debt ceiling. This is one point in time where I think Americans, not only CEOs, must have their voices heard."

Schultz was short on specifics on how to make such a boycott uniform across industries and ideology, but "we have to start somewhere...I don't want to be a bystander any longer. I want my voice to be heard."

Schultz said he is "hearing from people and they are hurting. I don’t have a prescription to solve the problem," but "we as Americans deserve better than this."

He added, "The strongest foreign policy this country has always had is the strength in our domestic economy. One of the primary reasons why our foreign policy and the image of America around the world is suffering is people have lost faith in the economics of America. That is what we must restore."

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