In January 2021, the company told Business Insider that it would suspend payments to 147 lawmakers who opposed Biden’s certification. At the time, Walgreens did not say how long it would suspend dispensing.
During the 2021-2022 election cycle, Walgreen’s political action committee gave at least $13,000 to eight Republican House candidates who opposed Biden’s certification as president, according to OpenSecrets’ political contribution tracking system.
PAC Walgreens also gave to Senate candidates, none of whom objected to Biden’s certification. According to OpenSecrets, the GAC gave federal candidates $121,750 during the 2021-2022 election cycle, roughly 49% of which went to Democrats and 51% to Republicans.
A Walgreens spokesperson did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Corporations across the country have done similar obligations following the January 6 Uprising at the Washington, D.C. Capitol Building, some suspended political giving altogether, while others subsequently resumed their giving. Boeing PAC in Chicago resumed filing federal candidates in three months.
With a country so polarized on election results, it’s hard for a company to do anything in Washington without upsetting one side or the other of the political spectrum, according to Braden King, a professor at Northwestern’s Kellogg School of Management. That’s why many companies give roughly 50% of their contributions to Democrats and Republicans.
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Ultimately, Walgreens likely won’t want its reputation to be threatened by what it has done, King said. Boycotts rarely change consumer habits in the way you might expect, but companies are paying attention.
“A boycott is much more effective at capturing public attention than it is at shaping consumer choice,” he said. “It seems unlikely that this will have a big impact on Walgreens’ short-term profits, but that doesn’t mean Walgreens won’t take it seriously.”
One reason boycotts typically don’t mobilize consumers is because there are rarely better alternatives, King says. This may not be the case when it comes to political donations to Walgreens.
Archrival CVS Health’s PAC donated $251,000 to federal candidates this election cycle, more than 58% of which went to Democrats, according to OpenSecrets. None of the Republicans he contributed opposed Biden’s certification.
Walgreens said in a statement to Business Insider last year that it “highly values the role of government and the peaceful transfer of power that is the foundation of our democracy. As such, our political action committee has withheld contributions to members of Congress who voted to object to the certification of U.S. Electoral College votes.”
It goes on to say, “As Walgreens continues to provide essential tests and vaccines to help America end the COVID-19 pandemic, we appreciate the importance of unity as a means to address the many challenges we face together as one great nation.”
Here are the House candidates who opposed Biden’s confirmation that PAC Walgreens contributed to this election cycle, according to OpenSecrets:
$3,000 to Tom Rice, RS.C.
$2,500 to Buddy Carter, Georgia.
$2,500 to Ron Estes, R-Kan.
$1,000 to Neil Dunn, Florida.
$1,000 to Richard Hudson, RN.C.
$1,000 to Marquain Mullin, R-Okla.
$1,000 to Greg Steube, Florida.
$1,000 Jackie Valorsky, R-Ind.
This story first appeared in our sister publication, Crane’s Chicago business.