Publix: Where shopping for influence is no longer a pleasure

Anna Eskamani in Publix

Publix’s decision, in the face of protests over its Adam Putnam donations, to suspend its political giving this year could mean more than $1 million that the company will not donate this year to various political campaigns and groups.

The company, whose slogan, “Where Shopping is a Pleasure” has graced Florida and other states it serves, announced Friday afternoon it would suspend its political giving, as protesters, called to action by Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting survivor and activist David Hogg and others, began protests in stores.

They were upset with the more than $670,000 the Polk County-based company had donated to the political committee of Republican gubernatorial candidate Adam Putnam, someone who has called himself an “NRA sellout.” Hogg and many other Stoneman Douglas survivors have emerged as national leaders of a campaign for gun control since a gunman murdered 17 people in their school Feb. 14.

The Republican state agriculture commissioner, also from Polk County, is not the only beneficiary of Publix’s political donations, and the company likely was far from finished in giving this year.

In the past 10 years Publix has donated nearly $10.9 million to politics, according to records at the Florida Division of Elections reviewed by FloridaPolitics. In the last two election years Publix donated $1.8 million in 2014 and $2 million in 2016. So far this year the company has donated just $620,000. That could mean the company still had plenty more ready to be distributed in 2018, though it could have placed most of its bets last year. Publix’s 2017 donations of $1.5 million was the most ever for the company in an off-year.

Publix has given to both Republicans and Democrats, though it prefers Republicans by a large ratio. Since Jan. 1, 2009, Publix has donated $615,519 to the Republican Party of Florida and has made another 541 contributions to individual Republicans running for office, providing $367,054 to their campaigns. Publix has donated $365,000 to the Florida Democratic Party and made donations to 151 individual Democrats, providing $90,521 to their campaigns during the same period.

Those contributions include money provided to 14 Democrats for this election cycle, including several who have aligned themselves closely with the Stoneman Douglas students movement for gun control.

Forty-nine Republicans have gotten contributions in this election cycle including Putnam and attorney general candidate state Rep. Frank White, who both have gotten the maximum candidate contributions of $1,000.

Otherwise, the big losers in Publix decision could be the Florida Chamber of Commerce, the Florida Retail Federation, and the National Association of Independent Businesses of Florida, which are used to getting big donations to their own political action committees from the grocery store company, and then spending it on their own political interests.

Since 2009 Publix has funneled $4.1 million into the chamber’s various PACs, and $3.0 million into the retail federation’s various PACs. Another $450,000 has gone to the NAIB-Florida’s PAC.

Publix also has donated more than $100,000 to the Florida Justice Reform Committee, the Committee for Florida Justice Reform, the Florida Prosperity Fund, and the Committee for Smarter Growth. Gov Rick Scott’s Let’s Get To Work PAC has garnered $50,000.

Scott Powers

Scott Powers is an Orlando-based political journalist with 30+ years’ experience, mostly at newspapers such as the Orlando Sentinel and the Columbus Dispatch. He covers local, state and federal politics and space news across much of Central Florida. His career earned numerous journalism awards for stories ranging from the Space Shuttle Columbia disaster to presidential elections to misplaced nuclear waste. He and his wife Connie have three grown children. Besides them, he’s into mystery and suspense books and movies, rock, blues, basketball, baseball, writing unpublished novels, and being amused. Email him at [email protected].


  • Seber Newsome III

    May 26, 2018 at 8:37 am

    Whenever these kids start bullying stores, they need to be arrested. We cannot allow this type of bullying and that is what it is. This is how the left operates. Just go into a store and lay on the floor, hurting businesses, Get in my way, and I will step on you.

    • Porge

      May 26, 2018 at 3:42 pm

      Oh yeah….right.

  • cyndi m lenz

    May 26, 2018 at 8:45 am

    Publix has a lot of money to give away. Maybe it should lower their prices. Maybe a half a loaf of bread should be half the price of a loaf of bread. I was already half way there. I had left about 50% already for a variety of reasons. One is the meat is horrible. I would get home and my hamburger was brown. The deli is awful. I have been going to the same Publix @ ocean breeze for 8 years. A few years ago I fell in the parking lot-the white line was slippery and it was raining. I went in told them. I wiped the blood off my leg and the manager who never asked me if I was ok followed me around like I was some kind of thief when I just wanted to get my groceries and go home. The fact that you can buy a half a loaf of bread but its almost the same price as a whole loaf. Since we got our Fresh Market I have found it more economical to go to a meat counter like the old days and order my fresh delicious meat. The deli is fantastic. I do not have to worry about meat being brown on the inside when i get home. But then this happened. Publix gave money to Adam Putnam. In our town we are inundated from discharges. Adam Putnam best friends of big sugar who vilifies “liberal elites” in his campaign commercials. It’s take off from “coastal elites” from his friends from Big sugar. We have Aldi’s and we will be getting a Luckys Market soon. Loads of options. I cannot support anyone who supports the discharges and destruction of the St Lucie River and the Indian River Lagoon.
    No one should support any candidate that calls the public names. Adam Putnam is a foolish man with foolish ideas that do not pull Florida forward.

  • Bebe Kanter

    May 26, 2018 at 11:02 am

    I agree with cyndi m lenz. PACs funded by large corporations exert too much influence in Florida politics. The average person would be much better off if politicians were not beholden to PACs and more responsive to their constituencies.

  • Dan

    May 26, 2018 at 3:50 pm

    Johny Florida
    May 26 at 10:44am

    Whether you support Adam Putnam or Ron DeSantis for Governor, or
    Support the NRA or not…..
    let me see if I get this correct, you’re going to boycott Publix because they contributed $310,000 to Adam Putnam???

    Well guess you are also going to boycott Disney World, they donated directly to Adam Putnam too. Also, time to boycott Universal Resorts.

    No more sweet tea for you, why, because U.S. Sugar (donated $200,000 to Adam Putnam), No more beer for you either because Anheuser-Busch (donated $147,000 to Adam Putnam), Hungry for dinner after all this boycotting, well OSI Restaurants also directly supports Adam Putnam, who is OSI? Well they own Outback Steakhouse, Carrabba’s Italian Grill, Bonefish Grill, Fleming’s Prime Steakhouse & Wine Bar. Better get boycotting…..

    Awe can’t find anything good to eat because all the good restaurants are also indrect supporters of Adam Putnam and the NRA, you better skip dessert, Blue Bell Creamery directly supports Adam Putnam.

    Don’t drink any Pepsi Products, no Pepsi, Mountain Dew, Gatorade, Lipton Tea OR Aquafina water. And for those that are quick to forget, Pepsi owns Quaker Oats, Tropicana, Doritos, Lays, Ruffles and more.

    Still driving around, don’t stop at WaWa or RaceTrac.. Got to boycott them too. Got into a car crash on you way home from boycotting? Make sure to ask your Ambulance crew to take you to a non HCA Hospital (donated $125,000 to Adam Putnam), oh you have a non HCA Hospital in your area. Cool..

    Do you have Humana Insurance? Well if so, there is no need to go to the hospital. Humana directly supports Adam Putnam… Let me guess you have Florida Blue? Betcha got Blue Cross and Blue Shield sorry kiddo, time to boycott them too. So get off that stretcher and walk home.

    Need an attorney after the car crash, check the list, make sure you get one that didn’t donate Adam Putnam.

    Hot from walking home after your car crash and you have Humana Insurance or only HCA Hospitals in you area… Well don’t even think about reaching up to drop the temperature on your thermostat, there’s about a 50% chance you have a Honeywell Thermostat…. And Honeywell is a direct supporter of Adam Putnam.

    Darn, can’t touch the Thermostat… Grab a fan….. Just plug it into the outlet… Nope can’t do that either. It’s time to turn off your power, boycott Florida Power & Light (donated $300,000 to Adam Putnam), I hear it now, I don’t have FP&L, well are you a TECO customer? How about Duke Energy, Time to boycott them too. They donated to Adam Putnam.

    Oh you got a generator.. Perfect flip on the TV and just rest for a bit. What’s on cable… Well it depends, do you have Comcast Cable? If so, ….then nothing is on. Cause your going to have to boycott Comcast, they are a direct supporter of Adam Putnam. Okay, turning your TV off, you will just use the internet, sounds legit, quick side note, did you know that Xfinity Wi-Fi is owned by Comcast….. Don’t have Comcast… Cool… Remember NBC Universal. No NBC, CNBC, MSNBC, Hulu, E!, The Weather Channel , USA Network, Golf Channel, Telemundo.

    Since you’re at home with nothing else to do, you know what else you need to boycott (because Publix supports Adam Putnam and he supports the NRA) , no more Amazon for you, Amazon supports the NRA. Need to ship a package, better call UPS to move your packages, because FedEx supports the NRA. And no more YouTube either… Own any Apple devices? Chunk them Apple supports the NRA.

    But wait there’s more… as if we need it…

    At work do you use any computer programs from ORACLE…… well guess what? You don’t have to go to work anymore.
    Do you shop at Macy’s?
    Do you have a Master Card?
    Do you use CellularONE or ClearTalk?
    Need to send money fast.. Western Union… Because all of those companies work with Syniverse Technology…. And our good friends at Syniverse donated directly to Adam Putnam……

    Seriously people grow up. I bet every single person inside the store yelling “Boycott Publix…..” uses or has used products, services, food or entertainment from one of the companies above that has directly or indirectly supported Adam Putnam and or the NRA .

    Please share this for the fools laying in the isles at Publix. It will give them something to read while they are on the ground pouting like a 2 year old.

    To all the Publix Managers and associates. Print out this list, and ask the cry babies if they can leave to boycott all the other places that need boycotting too. Remind them if they have kids to trash any Disney products they have at the house….

    Don’t take my word for it. Look for yourself.

    • Porge

      May 26, 2018 at 4:25 pm

      The boycott is over. Publix gave in to the kids. And no further contributions from them to this years race. The kids victory isn’t about Putnam supplying Florida with all the products services you described.
      It’s about the Democrats taking control of Florida Politics. With 18 to 24 year old voters.

    • George Cornwell

      May 26, 2018 at 6:24 pm

      Whoa! If Adam Putnam doesn’t win the governorship, we’re in for an economic tragedy worse than Venezuela!

  • Mike

    May 26, 2018 at 7:54 pm

    Even back in the wild west days, the sheriff would take the guns away from cowboys who rode into town. That’s what town folks demanded to bring law and order and civilization to the frontier. Contrast that with today’s political wimps scared of getting primary’ed by raving tea party lunatics. Adding new gun “rights” were the only laws the Florida legislature ever passed at each year’s session. The NRA warns about a “slippery slope” if we deny any type of gun use, yet they successfully got Tallahassee to continually add new, outrageous gun legislation. What’s left to pass? A law that allows mentally-ill pedophiles with open- and concealed-carry permits to stand their ground against blind school crossing guards inside a church on Christmas day?

    For decades the top politicians, celebrities, and police chiefs tried unsuccessfully to slow the NRA political steamroller down. As handmaidens to the greedy gun manufacturers and merchants, the NRA turned that opposition into fear and panic to drive even gun sales. Yet mere high school kids figured out the NRA’s Achilles heel. Donors are wealthy corporations that live in glass houses: if they give to candidates swearing allegiance to the NRA, their business risks billions in lost sales from a boycott. Economic boycott is a far more powerful weapon than is the ballot box today. With wealth more unevenly distributed than ever before, it’s those with all the money who are most vulnerable.

  • Barb Millard

    May 26, 2018 at 8:40 pm

    What do these companies expect to get for the money?

  • Seber Newsome III

    May 27, 2018 at 9:13 am

    Great response, I agree with you 100%. Lets stop giving in to these kids. They are breaking the law, arrest and fine them. If we continue to allow this type of behavior, whenever or whatever they dont like, they will act like this. Enough is enough!!!!

    • JP

      May 27, 2018 at 10:11 am

      Rick Scott set up the fake operations at the school. Only governors can approves fake operations in the state and Rick Scott is setting up about once a week to interfere with all government functions. Because all law enforcement and state attorneys where fake operations are set up are obligated to lie to the public. It’s a forced situation being set up by Rick Scott to promote public corruption.

    • George Cornwell

      May 28, 2018 at 11:34 am

      They won. Publix agreed to their demands. What your thoughts are doesn’t matter to Publix. What the kids did does.

Comments are closed.


Florida Politics is a statewide, new media platform covering campaigns, elections, government, policy, and lobbying in Florida. This platform and all of its content are owned by Extensive Enterprises Media.

Publisher: Peter Schorsch @PeterSchorschFL

Contributors & reporters: Phil Ammann, Drew Dixon, Roseanne Dunkelberger, A.G. Gancarski, Anne Geggis, Ryan Nicol, Jacob Ogles, Cole Pepper, Gray Rohrer, Jesse Scheckner, Christine Sexton, Drew Wilson, and Mike Wright.

Email: [email protected]
Twitter: @PeterSchorschFL
Phone: (727) 642-3162
Address: 204 37th Avenue North #182
St. Petersburg, Florida 33704

Sign up for Sunburn