Video: Walgreens to review charitable giving policies concerning sanctuary cities

Justin Danhof, Esq., General Counsel and Free Enterprise Project Director of the National Center for Public Policy Research, attended a Walgreens annual shareholder meeting this month and questioned the company’s policies on supporting sanctuary cities and their immigration policy.

Danhof stated in a press release that Walgreens contributes to UnidosUS, formerly known as La Raza. The websites of UnidosUS (formerly the National Council of La Raza) and the League of Latin American Citizens (LULAC) – both supporters of sanctuary cities and amnesty for illegal immigrants – indicate receiving charitable support from Walgreens.

Walgreens executives vowed to review the company’s charitable giving policies after being questioned by a representative of the National Center for Public Policy Research’s Free Enterprise Project (FEP) at the annual meeting of Walgreens shareholders. FEP’s director confronted the retail drug giant’s leadership about the company’s donations to racialized groups that promote extreme policies in violation of federal law, such as sanctuary cities protecting illegal immigrants.

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“I am pleased Walgreens committed to reviewing its charitable giving. It’s a shame, however, that executives wanted no part in answering the substance of our question during this public meeting,” Danhof said, questioning Walgreens leadership. “Whether its executives acknowledge it or not, Walgreens is funding radical groups lobbying for illegal sanctuary city policies. They say their charitable contributions are not intended to weaken our immigration policies, but they were quick to cut me off when I reminded them that their money is fungible. Once Walgreens donates to a charity, it has no legal right to direct the charity’s actions.”

2017 Harvard-Harris poll found 80 percent of American voters opposed sanctuary city policies. According to Hans A. von Spakovsky, a senior legal fellow with the Heritage Foundation, these policies are unlawful: “8 U.S.C. §1373 prohibits states and local jurisdictions from preventing their law enforcement officials from exchanging information with federal officials on the citizenship status of individuals they have arrested or detained.”

At the meeting, Danhof asked:

Does Walgreens’ support of these groups indicate that Walgreens believes states and localities can flout federal law and not turn over the names of arrested illegal immigrants to federal authorities – even if they’ve committed violent felonies?

Because 80 percent of Americans surely include current and potential customers, do you see any potential downside for Walgreens related to the company’s support of groups lobbying for sanctuary cities and amnesty?

If these groups do not represent Walgreens’ position on immigration, then why would you fund them?

What exactly is the company’s stance on immigration reform?

In response to Danhof’s questioning, Walgreens Executive Chairman James Skinner said the company donates to groups such as UnidosUS and LULAC “relative to the health care of their individuals and health and well-being.” However, in 2012, Walgreens dropped its membership in the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) despite it only working with ALEC on its Health and Human Services Task Force. Liberal agitators took credit for cutting Walgreens’ ties to ALEC over the group’s work on voter integrity safeguards.

“I reminded Mr. Skinner that money is fungible. Once Walgreens cut checks to UnidosUS and LULAC, the company had no authority to dictate how those groups spent the money. While Walgreens may hope the money was put toward health initiatives, the groups could have used those funds to lobby for sanctuary city policies,” noted Danhof. “As such, Walgreens’ money could be supporting sanctuary city policies. That’s a fact.”

In response to Danhof’s question, Walgreens Vice President for Communications and Community Affairs Chuck Greener said: “Having listened to your question and the points you’ve made… we’re going to go through all of our donations and certainly take those views into consideration.”

“As the Trump White House and Department of Homeland Security review legal options regarding sanctuary cities, we suggest appropriate federal and congressional oversight bodies also look into corporations and groups that may be enabling and funding criminal behavior,” said Danhof.

“In drawing attention to Walgreens’ affiliation with the unlawful and race-conscious agendas of UnidosUS and LULAC, we want to help Walgreens protect its reputation with consumers and stay on the right side of the law,” said National Center Vice President David W. Almasi. “In the days ahead, we hope Walgreens management will give our concerns the serious consideration they deserve.”

The 2018 annual meeting of Walgreens Boots Alliance shareholders was held at the Andaz Resort and Spa in Scottsdale, Arizona. It was FEP’s first attendance at a corporate shareholder meeting in 2018.

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