Hy-Vee has been under closer scrutiny this past week after a wave of layoffs at their corporate headquarters and IT departments, as well as follow-up comments by their CEO demeaning the former staff for not taking retail jobs in their stores. The timing of the layoffs happened to coincide with actions by the Iowa House and Iowa Senate to drastically reduce unemployment benefits in Iowa.
While Hy-Vee’s two registered lobbyists never registered in support of either proposal, the chain made campaign contributions before the legislative session began to a number of Republican lawmakers who have pushed for unemployment changes including Gov. Kim Reynolds. The grocery store company based in West Des Moines has turned increasingly political in recent years, both in its political giving and in its internal communications, including warning employees before the 2020 election about candidates’ tax policies and its impact on their staffing.
From November to December, Hy-Vee donated $15,000 to Kim Reynolds for Iowa while Hy-Vee CEO Randy Edeker personally donated $10,000 to the governor’s campaign in December, according to campaign disclosure reports.
Hy-Vee donated to four Democrats and 15 Republicans from August to December. Notably, one of its three $5,000 donations to Reynolds was twice as large as the $2,500 in donations it made to the campaigns of four Democratic lawmakers including House and Senate Minority Leaders Jenifer Konfrst and Zach Wahls, respectively.
According to Hy-Vee, its political action committee “is funded voluntarily by individual employee contributions and directed by employee members.”
Here’s a roundup of how much the Hy-Vee Inc. Employee’s Political Action Committee and CEO Randy Edeker donated to state political campaigns before the start of this year’s Iowa Legislative Session:
Hy-Vee CEO Randy Edeker:
$10,000 to Kim Reynolds For Iowa on Dec. 30
Hy-Vee Inc. Employee’s Political Action Committee:
$5,000 to Kim Reynolds for Iowa (R) on Nov. 8, 2021
$5,000 to Kim Reynolds for Iowa (R) on Dec. 22, 2021
$5,000 to Kim Reynolds for Iowa (R) on Dec. 29, 2021
$2,000 to Citizens for Pat Grassley (R) on Aug. 8, 2021
$2,000 to Friends of Whitver (Sen. Jack Whitver-R) Nov. 8, 2021
$1,000 to Chapman for Iowa (Sen. Jake Chapman-R) on Nov. 12, 2021
$1,000 to Committee to Elect Zach Wahls (D) on Oct. 28, 2021
$1,000 to Citizens for Pat Grassley (R) on Nov. 12, 2021
$1,000 to Hein for State House (Lee Hein) (R) on Dec. 22, 2021
$500 to Ann Meyer for Statehouse (R) on Nov. 12, 2021
$500 to Brian Best for House (R) on Nov. 11, 2021
$500 to John Forbes for Iowa House (D) on Nov. 12, 2021
$500 to Friends of Jacob Bossman (R) on Nov. 12, 2021
$500 to Hein for State House (Lee Hein) (R) on Nov. 12, 2021
$500 to Iowans for Dennis Bush (R) on Nov. 12, 2021
$500 to Jeff Edler for State Senate (R) on Nov. 12, 2021
$500 to Jennifer Konfrst for Iowa (D) on Nov. 12, 2021
$500 to Jones for Iowa (Rep. Megan Jones-R) on Nov. 12, 2021
$500 to Kaufmann for State House (Rep. Bobby Kaufmann-R) on Nov. 12, 2021
$500 to Rozenboom for Senate (Ken Rozenboom-R) on Nov. 12, 2021
$500 to Smith for Senate (Roby Smith-R) on Nov. 12, 2021
$500 to Waylon Brown for Senate (R) on Nov. 12, 2021
$500 to Win With Windschitl (Rep. Matt Windschitl-R) on Nov. 12, 2021
$500 to Brian Best for House (R) on Dec. 22, 2021
by Ty Rushing
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