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VERIFY: No, the CEO of Wendy's did not donate to the campaign of President Trump. Here's how we know

Fast Food chains have recently drawn the ire of Social Media users, for allegedly donating to presidential campaigns. The Verify Team is finding the truth.

WASHINGTON — Question:

Has Wendy's, or the CEO of the company, donated to the re-election campaign of President Donald Trump? 

Answer:

No. The Verify Team searched online records, indicating that the CEO has not done so directly or indirectly. 

Source:

Federal Election Commission online database

OpenSecrets.Org online Database

Wendy's Twitter Page

Process:

Social Media can be a breeding ground for misinformation and rumors. The Verify Team ignores all of this, and sticks to the undeniable facts. 

Recently, fast food chains like Wendy's have drawn the ire of many for allegedly showing a political leaning. 

"Stop eating at Wendy's, taco bell, and pizza hut," wrote one user on Twitter. "Their CEO is donating money to Trump's reelection campaign." 

Wendy's denied this claim on Twitter. 

To find the truth, The Verify Team began by visiting the Federal Election Commission database, which publishes every donation made. The Verify Team searched the CEO's name - Todd Penegor. 

This database showed 39 donations since January, 2017, ranging from $192 to $576. All 39 donations were made to "The Wendys Company Political Action Committee."

The Verify Team then visited OpenSecrets.Gov, which among other things, tracks how PACs spend their money. Upon searching "The Wendys Company Political Action Committee," the Verify Team found that more than $300,000 has been donated to Congressional candidates within the last two cycles.

The database does not list any donations to presidential candidates, showing that money donated by CEO Todd Penegor, has not gone to the candidacy of Donald Trump. For this reason, The Verify Team can Verify that these rumors about the Wendy's CEO were false.

The confusion may have started, over large donations made by James Bodenstedt of Muy! Companies. Bodenstedt is a franchise owner for fast food chains like Wendy's, Taco Bell, Pizza Hut, owning stores across the country. 

When the Verify Team plugged his name into the FEC database, we found various donations to the "Trump Victory" Political Action Committee. Since 2017, Bodenstedt has donated more than $435,000 to this PAC, including a large donation of $200,000 on March 12, 2020. 

To look at Bodenstedt's donations in full, click here.

What the Open Secrets Data Shows About the Wendy's Co PAC

In the 2018 Election Cycle, the PAC contributed $220,000 to dozens of candidates from both parties. The majority of the contributions, 81 percent, were given to Republican candidates, while just 18 percent were given to Democrats. 

The largest contribution of $12,500 was given to Troy Balderson, a Republican Congressman from Ohio. Donations of $10,000 were also given to the following

- Joyce Beatty, Democrat representative from Ohio

- Carlos Curbelo, Republican representative from Florida

- John Faso, Republican representative from New York

- Virginia Foxx, Republican representative from North Carolina

- Steve Stivers, Republican representative from Ohio

- Roy Blunt, Republican Senator from Missouri 

The full list of contributions can be found here.

In the 2020 Election Cycle, the PAC has so far contributed $89,300 to dozens of candidates from both parties. The majority of contributions, 75 percent, have gone to Republican candidates, while just 25 percent have gone to Democrat candidates. 

The largest contribution so far has gone to Susan Collins, a Republican senator from Maine. 

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