CEO calls for boycotting campaign contributions

: LONG BEACH, CA - OCTOBER 26: Howard Schultz, Chairman, President and CEO, Starbucks Coffee Company attend the Maria Shriver Women's Conference at the Long Beach Convention Center on October 26, 2010 in Long Beach, California.
Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images

NEW YORK - The chairman of Starbucks is calling for a boycott on campaign donations to incumbents in Washington until President Obama and Congress find agreement on the deficit.

In an open letter Howard Schultz wrote "the government needs discipline, the people need jobs - and leaders need to lead. Our country is better than this."

Schultz grew Starbucks into with world's largest coffee house with 11,000 stores and 135,000 employees in America alone.

CBS Evening News anchor Scott Pelley spoke with him about this idea of boycotting campaign contributions.

Read Schultz's letter

Schultz: As a result of what we all witnessed with the debt ceiling crisis and the uncertainty in the markets, I just feel like watching what took place in Washington, the lens in which the leaders in Washington, D.C. were making decisions was not based on what was good for America, but in my view, it was based on their own partisan perspective. And that was, "How does this affect my re-election?" And when I started thinking about re-election, the lifeblood of the re-elections of every one of our congressional leaders in Washington is about fundraising.

And I want to cut that off until we see civility, until we have a long-term debt ceiling deal that we are proud of and and restores confidence in America. And I just feel very strongly that this is a time when we no longer should accept the status quo and the mediocrity that we're getting. We are better than this, and our leaders in Washington need to go back to work.

WATCH 60 Minutes: The Star of Starbucks

Pelley: You know, since this idea of yours first came out over the weekend, there's been some criticism of it. And part of that criticism essentially says, "This is a little like nuclear weapons. Just because you disarm, that doesn't mean your opponents will." Doesn't it leave an opening for others to wield their influence while you're taking your money to the sidelines?

Well, first off, I understand that, Scott. We want to suspend the donations to encourage the incumbents, including the president, to go back to work and to reach a deal. We have sent these people to Washington to represent America, not represent singular ideology.

Pelley:This is the first day of this. I wonder, have any other corporate CEOs pledged to join you?

Schultz: Yes, they have. And I think the most gratifying thing that has taken place. And that is that this morning I was notified that the New York Stock Exchange and NASDAQ, has embraced my initiative, and now is sending out that letter, my letter to every listed company CEO in America. And I think this is a major signal to me and to others that this is a significant idea that is gonna have traction. It's not some novelty that we're gonna walk away from, and we're gonna send a powerful signal.

  • Scott Pelley

    Correspondent, "60 Minutes"