A video criticizing the lobbying and political funding efforts of Texas grocery chain H-E-B has gone viral, exposing how the grocery store giant shifted its political donations from Democrats to Republicans.
The TikTok, created by Nick Powers, shows the political funding and lobbying history of H-E-B in past election cycles.
Powers said that most Texans love H-E-B but its political donations don’t align with helping a number of people in the community.
While H-E-B’s political donations this election cycle are split evenly between Democrats and Republicans, he noted that in past election cycles H-E-B has funded Democratic candidates more than Republican candidates, meaning it’s shifted of late.
“Most of their issues come from [the Build Back Better Plan],” Powers explained. “They had several lobbying reports about Build Back Better, mostly about taxes, but they also had issues with the Medicaid side of things and the pharmaceutical side of things.”
That’s normally where H-E-B stands when they lobby against bills, advocating against lowering prescription drug prices because H-E-Bs have pharmacies. Powers said that he believes once the Build Back Better plan was introduced, H-E-B reconsidered its lobbying efforts.
“Back when the Build Back Better Act was introduced, they realized the politicians—who they were paying the campaigns for—were going to start signing bills like these into law,” he said. “And as a result, their lobbying stopped working, so they decreased their spending on lobbying and moved it over to [Republican] politicians.”
Now, the company that once funded Democrats is split down the middle.
H-E-B did not immediately respond to a request for comment, but users in the comments weren’t convinced of Powers’ thesis, quick to point out that H-E-B does a lot for the community.
“I think a lot of people love HEB because they provide a lot of the services that the government of Texas is supposed to,” one user wrote.
“HEB shows up for Texans more than any government ever will,” another said.
“I’m a college student and they partner w houston food bank to provide free groceries for students,” another wrote.
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*First Published: Sep 22, 2022, 9:25 am CDT
Jacob Seitz is a freelance journalist originally from Columbus, Ohio, interested in the intersection of culture and politics.