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Boycotting Walker’s Corporate Funders

Matthew Rothschild Mar 9, 2011

There are a couple campaigns under way on the Internet to boycott companies whose executives have given a lot of money to Wis. Governor Scott Walker.

“The people that paid for Scott Walker’s campaign for governor are complicit in what is happening to Wisconsin and to all Wisconsinites right now,” says the website www.boycottwalker.com. “Let’s strike back with a powerful tool at our disposal, the power of economic sanctions. . . . They have made their will felt with their money; let’s do the same with ours!”

The person running the website is Mike Winckler of Madison.

“Our goal is to present people with the information and give them the means to e-mail or snail mail something to the company,” he says. “If they’re going to boycott, we want them to tell the companies why.”

The website provides a sample letter telling the company that “support of Scott Walker’s candidacy is support for his policies, which are devastating to Wisconsin families and Wisconsin’s future.”

This website lists Koch Industries, Johnsonville Foods, Hy-Cite Corp., Standard Process, Wal-Mart, and Briggs & Stratton, and it is in the process of listing others, which gave lesser amounts.

Karren Jeske is the communications manager of Standard Process, a whole foods supplements company based in Palmyra, Wis.

“Standard Process did not give as a company,” she says, though she acknowledges, when I press her, that the owners and senior executives did give to Walker.

One of the owners, Charles DuBois, gave $10,000 to Walker in 2009, according to the Wisconsin Democracy Campaign. His wife, Leslie, gave $3,000 over the last couple of years. And Sylvia DuBois, a senior executive, gave $11,000 between March 2009 and October 2010. (All figures in this article come from the website of the Wisconsin Democracy Campaign, wisdc.org.)

Jeske says the company has gotten some negative feedback.

“We did receive two calls,” she says. “One we couldn’t figure out if the person was a customer or not because they yelled at us and hung up. The other was a very good customer of ours and said she was on the fence. And we listened to her concerns and said we’d take them into consideration.”

Jeske says the company was not dismissing the feedback.

“Of course, we’re concerned because they’re our customers,” she says, “and we’ll take that into consideration for the future. That’s all we can do. We can’t take the money back.”

Another website, scottwalkerwatch.com, has a longer list of companies to boycott—about 125 of them—whose executives have given at least $5,000 to Walker. These include Sargento’s cheese company and Sendik’s Food Market. Neither company responded to my calls.

One company on the list, Allen Edmonds Shoes out of Port Washington, objects to its inclusion. Colin Hall, head of marketing for the company, says the person who constructed the list was counting contributions from the former owner, John Stollenwerk, who had given $13,000 to Walker from August 2009 through October of 2010.

“We got three or four e-mails last week and one phone call,” Hall says. The company responded with an e-mail, which said, in part: “Please be assured that Allen Edmond’s Shoe Corporation has not made any political contributions to any candidate, per our stated policy.” And Hall points out that Gov. Jim Doyle, the Democrat in the statehouse before Walker, had visited the company while in office.

Says Hall: “We’re not looking to get in the cross-hairs of this situation.”

If you liked this story by Matthew Rothschild, the editor of The Progressive magazine, check out his story “Scott Walker Believes He’s Following Orders from the Lord.”

This article was originally published on The Progressive.

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