In-N-Out Burger suffers threats of boycott over donation to California Republican Party

California Democrats are outraged that the burger chain donated $25,000 to help Republican candidates in November

By Matthew Rozsa
Published August 30, 2018 7:14PM (EDT)

California Democrats are threatening to boycott one of the state's most iconic fast food establishments, In-N-Out Burger, after learning that the chain donated $25,000 to help Republicans win in the upcoming midterm elections.

"Et tu In-N-Out? Tens of thousands of dollars donated to the California Republican Party," California Democratic Party Chairman Eric Bauman wrote on Twitter on Thursday. "It’s time to #BoycottInNOut — let Trump and his cronies support these creeps…perhaps animal style!"

As the Sacramento Bee explained, the In-N-Out Burger chain has a long history of leaning conservative on political issues:

The burger chain started in Southern California decades ago by a Christian family, whose granddaughter Lynsi Snyder still owns the company. It proudly displays its religious views — there’s a Bible verse on some packaging — and has in recent years contributed to Republicans and pro-business causes.

In addition to its $25,000 this week, it donated $30,000 to the GOP in 2017 and $30,000 in 2016. It has also contributed to the California pro-business political action committee, “Californians for Jobs & A Strong Economy,” which helps elect moderate Democrats. Most recently, it gave the PAC $80,000 in 2017.

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The heiress who owns the company, , elaborated on her Christian beliefs in an interview with Orange Coast Magazine in 2014:

Her devotion to Christianity is reflected in a small tattoo on her arm, an Aramaic phrase she scoured the Web to find. “It’s Jesus’ language,” she explains. “It’s part of a Bible verse. Matthew 6:10. It says, ‘Your kingdom come, your will be done.’” She sports a companion tattoo in Hebrew. “It says, ‘Hated.’ It references John 15:18, where Jesus says—this is paraphrased—‘Do not be surprised when the world hates you, for it hated me.’ So yes, those are for me. Those are reminders.”

It will be interesting to see whether the political contribution takes a toll on In-N-Out Burger's bottom line. When Chick-Fil-A faced a controversy in 2012 after the company's owner, Dan T. Cathy, expressed opposition to same-sex marriage, the company actually wound up seeing an increase in its overall sales.

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Matthew Rozsa

Matthew Rozsa is a staff writer for Salon. He holds an MA in History from Rutgers University-Newark and is ABD in his PhD program in History at Lehigh University. His work has appeared in Mic, Quartz and MSNBC.

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