Why Fast Food Loves Mitt Romney
Fast food’s love for Mitt Romney, on the other hand, is uncomplicated. All told, he’s received $561,582 in contributions from the food and beverage industry, more than any other candidate in the country. (In late May, Romney held a fundraiser at the Louisville mansion of Papa John’s founder John Schnatter.) And it’s not just Mitt—other Republicans get fast-food love, too. Earlier in May, Waffle House, the 24-hour Southern breakfast chain, gave $100,000 to Karl Rove’s super-PAC, American Crossroads, on top of the $80,450 it had already given to Republican causes this year, still well short of the $305,000 it gave exclusively to Republicans between 1997 and 2002. (The company’s CEO, Joe Rogers Jr., was once on the finance team of Romney’s political action committee, Commonwealth PAC.) McDonald’s has directed 57 percent of its political spending to Republican candidates, in keeping with its historical trend. A few steps up the scale, OSI Restaurant Partners, whose chains include Outback Steakhouse, has favored Republicans over Democrats by a rate of 24 to 1. Nationally, the food and beverage industry has given to Republicans at a 70 percent clip. (David Graham has a more exhaustive look at this here.)
They might not get the attention of groups like Wall Street and Big Oil, but as Waffle House’s Crossroads gift made clear, chain restaurants are a core part of the GOP coalition. There’s Herman Cain, formerly of Godfather’s Pizza and the National Restaurant Association, and Tom Monaghan, founder of Domino’s and the wannabe theocratic town of Ave Maria, Florida. Chick-fil-a, which closes on Sundays to observe the Sabbath, gave $2 million to anti-gay groups in 2009. Wendy’s founder David Thomas was a Republican donor and frequent speaker at conservative conferences. When Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) needed a witness to talk about the Affordable Care Act’s adverse effect on businesses, he summoned Jamie Richardson, vice president of White Castle.