2020欧洲杯足彩外围app

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Liberal shoppers are hammering Home Depot's conservative roots, but the political reality of the home improvement big boxes is far more complicated

political differences between Home Depot and Lowes 2x1 political differences between Home Depot and Lowes 2x1
Olivia Reaney/Business Insider
  • Home Depot founders and Republican mega-donors Ken Langone and Bernie Marcus have attracted controversy over their donations to Republican groups and politicians, including US President Donald Trump.
  • But is Home Depot really a conservative company? And is Lowe's its liberal counterpart?
  • To find out, Business Insider analyzed Federal Election Commission data for Home Depot and Lowe's executives, as well as data from the Center for Responsive Politics.
  • The numbers show that home improvement retailers have set up PACs that have predominantly donated to Republican federal candidates, like most large retailers.
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

2020欧洲杯足彩外围appFor some home improvement shoppers, orange signs and blue signs are the new red states and blue states.

Over the past year, Home Depot has consistently been hammered online over the conservative political stances of two of its founders: Bernie Marcus and Ken Langone. Both have vocalized consistent support for US President Donald Trump. Both have become outspoken and prolific donors to Republican causes and candidates since retiring from the retailer decades ago. 

"Our founders have not been with The Home Depot for nearly 20 years and they don't speak on behalf of the company," a Home Depot spokesperson told Business Insider. 

Their status as retirees has not stopped outraged social media users from encouraging left-leaning shoppers to spend their cash at Lowe's instead. Observers have cited the North Carolina-based company's financial support of minority-owned businesses and its current CEO Marvin Ellison's status as one of four Black Fortune 500 CEOs.

 

 

But the recurring partisan controversy fails to capture the fact that both home improvement companies skew conservative when it comes to political giving — a tendency they share with many major retailers. While Lowe's lacks a set of high-profile, long-retired Republican mega-donor founders to match those at Home Depot, differences between the two companies' political contribution strategies are thinner that a skim coating of paint. 

 

 

 

home depot arthur blank bernie marcus
Home Depot cofounders — and opposite sides of the political coin — Arthur Blank and Bernie Marcus.
Rick Diamond/WireImage/Getty Images

Big spenders

2020欧洲杯足彩外围appWhen it comes to big-name, hyper-partisan donors, Home Depot largely has Lowe's beat. Despite being the older company, the original movers-and-shakers of Lowe's never achieved the same high-profile or politicized status in the business world as their orange-aproned counterparts. The founding team at Home Depot longtime home improvement executives Bernie Marcus and Arthur Blank, investor Ken Langone, and merchandising expert Pat Farrah.  

Marcus and Langone2020欧洲杯足彩外围app have spent millions supporting Republican and conservative causes over the years. For Langone, recent beneficiaries include official Republican Party offices across the United States, as well as big-name Republican members of Congress like Kevin McCarthy and Tom Cotton. In 2020, the listed the investor and his wife Elaine as two of the top hard money individual contributors. The pair has given $470,300 this year, with 99% of that money going to Republican candidates.

Langone has frequently expressed support for US President Donald Trump in media appearances, as has Marcus. In 2019, Marcus said he would donate a portion of his billions2020欧洲杯足彩外围app to the president's re-election campaign.

In 2020 so far, the Bernard Marcus Family Foundation has donated $680,521 to Republican Congressional candidates. He donated nothing to Democratic or liberal figures, according to the . The foundation has nearly doubled its political giving since 2018.

2020欧洲杯足彩外围appStarting in 2019, a Nevada voter named Patrick Farrah is listed by the FEC as having donated thousands toward Republican candidates like Lindsey Graham, Mitch McConnell, Kevin McCarthy, and Duncan Hunter, as well as the PAC Bikers for the President. The Northern Nevada Business Weekly in 2014 that the Home Depot cofounder had moved to the Lake Tahoe area.

2020欧洲杯足彩外围appAs the Democratic-leaning holdout of Home Depot's group of founders, Blank has given hundreds of thousands of dollars to Democrats like Hillary Clinton, Chuck Schumer, and Sam Nunn. According to the , the Arthur M. Blank Foundation has only given $283 to Democratic candidates in 2020 so far, and zero dollars to Republicans.

2020欧洲杯足彩外围appBut simply examining large donations from retired founders does not lead to a complete or accurate picture of either Home Depot or Lowe's' political leanings.

Craig Menear
Home Depot CEO Craig Menear.
Saul Loeb/AFP/Getty Images

Ahead of the PAC

To examine the politics of the home improvement sector beyond the issue of politically-polarized founders, Business Insider combed through the FEC records for each company's current leadership team and examined the Center for Responsive Politics' breakdown of each company's in-house PAC for answers.

As political donors, current Home Depot CEO Craig Menear and Lowe's CEO Marvin Ellison diverge in a number of key ways. Of the two, Menear is clearly the more frequent contributor to political campaigns, politicians, and his current company's PAC.

Dating back to January 21, 2005, Menear has donated $97,921.16 to the Home Depot Inc., Political Action Committee. The PAC was previously called the Home Depot Better Government PAC in the early 2000s, only to be eventually renamed to promote transparency. He has made the occasional one-off donation to other, largely Republican, candidates and campaigns, including now-Sen. Mitt Romney's presidential run, Jeb Bush, and David Perdue.

Ellison, on the other hand, has never donated to the Lowe's Companies, Inc. Political Action Committee, according to FEC data. Over the course of 11 years, the ex-Home Depot executive gave the Atlanta-based chain's namesake PAC a total of $8,100. 

marvin ellison
Lowe's CEO Marvin Ellison.
Bryan Bedder/Getty Images

With the exception of Ellison, the top brass at both home improvement giants largely favor donating to their employer's designated PAC, as well as the occasional specific politician or campaign. 

So far in , Lowe's' PAC has given a total of $540,500 to politicians, with a breakdown of 30% in contributions to Democratic candidates and 70% in giving to Republican contenders. In 2020, the breakdown for Lowe's' PAC's $602,000 was 25% to Democrats and 75% to Republicans. In 2016, the organization gave only 13% of its $448,750 expenditure to Democrats.

Despite Langone and Marcus' high-profile conservative giving, Home Depot's PAC has consistently been more Democrat-friendly than that of its rival. While Home Depot's PAC favors Republicans, the partisan balance of its giving has grown more even with each year. In , Home Depot has spent $1,495,000, giving 44% of that money Democratic politicians and 56% to Republicans. In 2018, 36% of its $2,060,500 contribution went to Democrats, while in 2016 Democrats received 30% of an overall contribution of $1,977,250.

A Home Depot spokesperson told Business Insider that the business, as a "long-standing" company policy, does not "endorse or contribute to presidential candidates."

In their personal contributions, Home Depot executives have favored many of the same conservative politicians as Menear, although a number of figures from the company's leadership team have supported liberal politicians like Hillary Clinton.

And so far in the 2020 election cycle, the PAC has also given $250,000 to the Congressional Black Caucus PAC and its members. That makes up around 9% of the PAC's current cycle to-date disbursements.

home depot employee
A Home Depot employee wears the chain's distinctive orange apron.
Jessica McGowan/Getty Images

Altogether, Lowe's leadership has been less overtly political in their spending than the Home Depot executive team. Business Insider could not identify any members of the current leadership team who donated to a specific politician while employed at Lowe's.

2020欧洲杯足彩外围appOne factor behind the lower rate of political contribution may simply be the newness of the North Carolina-based company's leadership. Of Lowe's eight-person executive team, seven members — including Ellison — came to work at the company in 2018 or later.

lowe's employee worker
A Lowe's employee helps a customer.
Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

But a modicum of political change may be at hand for both retailers in the coming election cycle.

The Center for Responsive Politics found that in the year , donations in the retail sphere have been more even across the political spectrum than usual. Retail PACs have given a total amount of $5,169,932 to candidates so far this year, with 43% of that money going to Democratic candidates, and 57% going to Republican contenders.

2020欧洲杯足彩外围appHome Depot's PAC has given the most money so far this year, shelling out $841,500 to Republicans and $653,500 to Democrats. Lowe's has given $376,000 to Republicans and $164,500 to Democrats thus far. 

So, while the home improvement giants and the more high-profile founders in the industry may favor Republican candidates at the moment, the partisan donation gap may be starting to balance out. And when it comes to political contributions, Home Depot and Lowe's both happen to reflect the conservative tendencies of many prominent retailers.

More: Home Depot Lowes Political Action Committee Political Donations
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