Posts tagged with "Howard Schultz"

Democratic opposition research already is dogging Howard Schultz

February 4, 2019

Since Howard Schultz announced his presidential aspirations on 60 Minutes in late January, Democrats have gone into panic mode—fearing that the former Starbucks CEO will filch votes from their column in the 2020 election.

According to a February 1 report by The Daily Beast, American Bridge, a progressive super PAC that focuses on opposition research, already has compiled its first “oppo” hit against Schultz, who would run as an Independent candidate.

Indeed, the news outlet says, the PAC pitched its reporters on a story about Schultz’s charitable foundation—suggesting that “he uses it to minimize his personal tax bill even as the foundation spends lavishly on executive compensation and overhead.”

The group’s oppo pitch against Schultz piggybacks off of reporting by Fox Business that found Schultz gave less than one percent of his fortune to Schultz Family Foundation during the last fiscal year for which its tax filings are available.

Bridge dug into the foundation’s expenditures and found that it “used its tax-free funding to spend lavishly while Howard Schultz receives tax deductions,” according to a research document the group shared with The Daily Beast. It focused on $400,000 in furniture expenses during fiscal year 2016, and its executive director’s $21,000-per-month salary.

The foundation’s latest annual financial filing discloses that Schultz and his wife, Sherri Kersch Schultz, donated $18 million in the year ending June 2017. The foundation gave out about $7.6 million in grants in that time, and spent just under $2.2 million on operating and administrative expenses, including compensation.

“The country is sick and tired of egomaniacs who think tax policy should be made by and for the rich. Apparently, Howard Schultz didn’t get that memo,” Bridge spokesperson Andrew Bates said in an emailed statement to the news outlet. “The only person who would benefit from a Schultz candidacy is Donald Trump.”

What’s more, The Daily Beast notes, Bridge isn’t the only prominent Democratic super PAC eyeing an offensive against Schultz. Priorities USA Action, a group founded by Bill Burton, one of Schultz’s top consultants, has also threatened to go after him if he declares a presidential candidacy.

We would consider him a target,” the group’s Executive Director Patrick McHugh said last week. “We would do everything we can to ensure that his candidacy is unsuccessful.”

Schultz has said that he will take a few months before deciding whether or not to formally enter the race. But already he’s taken steps that have given off the impression that this is more than just a vanity project—and could constitute a political threat to a Democratic candidate.

Research contact: Lachlan.Markay@thedailybeast.com

Howard Schultz steps down at Starbucks amid rumors of a presidential run

June 6, 2018

Howard Schultz, who oversaw Starbucks’ growth into a worldwide coffee behemoth over the past 36 years—with 28,000 stores in 77 countries—will step down as executive chairman late this month amid swirling speculation that he is considering running for president in 2020, NBC News reported on June 4.

Holding back tears, Schultz talked to a mix of partners, board members, and former colleagues this week, kvelling, “We are in the business that elevates humanity. It’s about what we’ve been able to create: a unique experience around love and humanity.”

In a memo to his employees, he said, “no person or company is ever perfect,” but that he was proud that the company had balanced “profitability and social conscience, compassion and rigor, and love and responsibility.”

Schultz, 64, who stepped away from his role as chief executive last year, will assume the title of chairman emeritus on June 26, the company said in a statement.

Starbucks lauded him for having “reimagined the Italian coffeehouse tradition in America and redefined the role and responsibility of a publicly held company,” saying that he had demonstrated that “a business can simultaneously deliver best-in-class financial performance and share success with its people and the communities it serves.”

His next move is rumored to be national politics. Indeed, for more than a year, NBC News reports, there has been rampant speculation that Schultz, a fierce critic of President Donald Trump, is gearing up to run for president in 2020.

He told CNN in February that he wouldn’t be a candidate, but when asked about the prospect again in an interview on June 4 with The New York Times, he replied: “I intend to think about a range of options, and that could include public service. But I’m a long way from making any decisions about the future.”

Indeed, according to a June 5 story by Business Insider, pollsters have been tracking Schultz’s potential for nearly a year. Morning Consult, a nonpartisan polling outlet, placed Schultz at 21% favorability among Democrats, based on a national sample of 895 registered members of the party in June 2017—calling him “the most popular 2020 Democratic prospect not named Joe Biden.”

What’s more, he almost made it into the race the last time. In October 2016, a month before Trump was elected, WikiLeaks posted hacked emails from Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign revealing that Schultz had been under consideration  o be Clinton’s running mate—a role that eventually went to Senator Tim Kaine (D-Virginia).

Schultz said in an interview on NBC’s “Meet the Press” in October 2014 that many of America’s problems stemmed from years of institutional failures in Washington. “As business people and business leaders, we need to take the lead and do what we can to move the country forward,” he said then, adding: “There has to be a balance between profitability and doing everything we can to get the country moving again. And that goes back to Washington. “Washington has let the country down.”

Research contact: @nbcnews