WEST DES MOINES – Hy-Vee’s political action committee director today explained donations made to Republicans.
A statement from Hy-Vee Employees’ PAC Executive Director Mary Beth Hart:
On June 11, 2019, the Republican Party of Iowa (RPI) hosted a fundraising event featuring President Trump at the Ron Pearson Center. Since that time, several customers and others have inquired about a donation made by Hy-Vee’s Political Action Committee (PAC) before that event. Hy-Vee, as a company, does not make financial contributions to political parties, groups or candidates. The PAC, which is funded voluntarily by individual employee contributions and directed by employee members, does. PAC decisions are issue based, not party based. The PAC makes contributions to candidates and leadership committees from both major parties. Neither the PAC nor the company lobbies on behalf of or endorses political candidates or parties.
Recently, the Hy-Vee PAC Board voted to give $25,000 to the Republican Party of Iowa to be a part of a private event. The PAC saw this as an important opportunity for our CEO to directly provide information about pharmacy-related issues impacting countless senior citizens and thousands of pharmacies across the country, including the Midwest, to the President and his staff while they were in town. Prescription costs in Iowa and across the nation have continued to climb. The average price per prescription in 2011 was $77.30, a number which has increased to $101.75 in 2018. In addition, since 2011, 170 Iowa pharmacies have closed. Iowa already has a shortage of health care professionals, and a declining number of pharmacies only worsens that problem. All of these issues have a significant impact on our customers, which is why this is a key initiative for us at the national level. (To learn more about the issue via a news release Hy-Vee issued on May 23, click here: https://www.hy-vee.com/corporate/news-events/news-press-releases/hyvee-advocates-for-immediate-reform-of-pharmacy-dir-fees-that-raise-drug-costs-for-senior-citizens/.)
The $25,000 check our PAC provided to the Republican Party of Iowa was noted as having been cut on May 7. This is incorrect and could understandably cause some confusion. Per our procedures, the Hy-Vee PAC Board voted on June 6 to participate in the event; the check was cut on June 7. (We are looking into whether the issue needs to be corrected with the FEC.) No one at Hy-Vee knew this event was taking place on May 7, including those working at the Ron Pearson Center or our PAC.
The company and the PAC remain bipartisan and continue to work with all political parties. Hy-Vee’s executives have been invited to Washington by Administrations of both parties. When President Obama was in office, Hy-Vee leaders went to Capitol Hill to discuss various health-related issues, and in 2012, Hy-Vee teamed up with and hosted First Lady Michelle Obama for a health and wellness day for more than 10,000 kids in Des Moines.
The June 11 event was not sponsored by Hy-Vee, or the PAC. Any political party, organization or person, can rent the Ron Pearson Center if the date is available and if the facility is able to accommodate the request. When an event is booked, a guest list is not required. For example, Vice President Mike Pence is among several speakers that has been invited to an event hosted by an outside party at the Ron Pearson Center later this year. Like the June 11 event, that event was booked at the Ron Pearson Center before any announcement of speakers was made and is not sponsored or endorsed by Hy-Vee.
Despite today’s highly contentious political environment, we will continue to voice our concerns about policy issues that impact our customers. Thank you.
Mary Beth Hart
Hy-Vee Employees’ Political Action Committee Executive Director