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Starbucks’ Schultz Says 100 Leaders to Halt Campaign Giving

Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz
Howard Schultz, chief executive officer of Starbucks Corp. Photographer: Kevin Lee/Bloomberg

Starbucks Corp. Chief Executive Officer Howard Schultz said more than 100 business leaders have joined his pledge to boycott U.S. political campaign donations.

AOL Inc. CEO Tim Armstrong, J.C. Penney Co. CEO Myron Ullman, Whole Foods Market Inc. Co-CEO Walter Robb and others have agreed to accelerate hiring and halt campaign giving to incumbents in Washington until Congress finds a solution to the nation’s growing debt, Starbucks said in an e-mailed statement.

Schultz is taking his campaign to the Internet and to Facebook today with the creation of Upward Spiral, “a platform for action inspired by the letter to America from Howard Schultz,” according to the website.

Last week, Schultz, 58, sent an e-mail to fellow CEOs and business leaders urging them to boycott donating to political campaigns. The Starbucks head has previously addressed issues including the high price of coffee, which he says is fueled by market speculation.

Seattle-based Starbucks has spent $350,000 lobbying the U.S. government this year, according to Schultz donated to Senator Maria Cantwell, a Washington state Democrat, in March, data from the research organization show.

Schultz joined the company about three decades ago and later served as CEO until 2000. He became CEO again in 2008 amid declining sales after Starbucks opened cafes too quickly.

Starbucks is the largest coffee-shop operator with more than 17,000 locations worldwide.

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