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Political Campaign Contributions: Which Candidate is Your Franchisor Donating To?

Karl Rove

Well, if you’re franchisee of 4 Gold’s Gym’s in the San Francisco area, it seems to matter where some political donations are going…

(This post may contain affiliate links. Please read my disclosure policy).

If you’re a card-carrying member of the International Franchise Association, what candidates do they support? Are they the same ones that you support? If they’re not, why do you belong? Or, doesn’t it matter? Read About Who The International Franchise Association is Against

It seems that this franchisee is having a hissy-fit about where the CEO of their parent company is writing his checks to; American Crossroads. Karl Rove is “afilliated” with this very conservative group.

(Please don’t take offense to the words, “hissy-fit.” It was only used to make folks smile.)

And, this franchisee wants out. (Of it’s franchise contract)

So, what’s the big deal?

$2 Million

That’s the amount of money that Robert Rowling contributed to American Crossroads.

(Gold’s Gym is run by TRT Holdings, headed by billionaire, Robert Rowling.)


Here’s where it gets interesting…

From a petition going around at;

The candidates that Rowling’s money is being used to elect are some of the most vehemently anti-gay politicians in the country. These candidates include Nevada politician Sharron Angle, who once said she would ban gays and lesbians from adopting children and that homosexuality would lead to the downfall of the United States, and Roy Blunt, who would like to see the U.S. Constitution rewritten to include a ban on same-sex marriage.”

Read the rest of the petition’s contents at

Here’s where the Gold’s Gym franchisee fit into this money wheel;

“Gold’s Gym San Francisco has long been a pillar of the gay community. We will continue to be. It is very unfortunate that the CEO of TRT holdings has chosen this course of action. We do not support it in any way. Our original contractual obligations to Gold’s Gym International were signed over 22 years ago and TRT holdings is just the latest in a series of ownership groups that has presided over Gold’s Gym.
” (From Gold’s Gym Bay Area Franchise’s Facebook Page)

Here’s part of the American mission statement;

American Crossroads is a new kind of non-profit political organization dedicated to renewing America’s commitment to individual liberty, limited government, free enterprise and a strong national defense—through informed and effective political action by citizens like you.

Here’s the rest of the American Crossroads mission statement

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Putting it all togetha

So, we have a franchise’s parent company CEO contributing $2 Million to a non-profit, right-wing political group that supports anti-gay political candidates.

Then we have a franchisee of Golds Gym in the San Francisco area who wants to pull out of exit the system.

Then we have this, a response from Gold’s Gym corporate offices, sent to The Huffington Post, (who first reported on this story)

For more than 45 years, Gold’s Gym has been welcoming and accepting of members from all walks of life. Diversity is a core part of the Gold’s Gym tradition and we have a zero tolerance policy for discrimination of any kind. We are proud to have a large and dedicated base of LGBT members in our gyms…and value our strong ties with the LGBT community.”

Reading the rest of this somewhat incredible “damage control statement” is worthy of your time. It’s a classic, and it’s on The Huffington Post.


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I have a couple of questions for you;

As you know, I show potential franchise owners who are looking at different franchises, how to do their franchise research. Do I need to add a short chapter to my franchise research eBook titled;

How to Find Out Which Political Party The CEO Of The Franchise That You’re Researching Sends His Or Her Money To? ”

2. Does this matter to you?

3. Would it stop you from moving forward in a franchise business that you’ve selected?

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joel libava

I'm The Franchise King®, Joel Libava. I help prospective franchise owners avoid bank account emptying mistakes.
For 23 years, I’ve been showing people how to make smart, informed decisions on franchises to buy, and I can help you, too!
P.S. I'm not a franchise consultant/broker.

Straightforward Advice
Joel, thank you for taking the time to speak with me yesterday. It was refreshing to finally speak with someone in franchising who dishes out straightforward, candid advice. You provided me with some insightful ideas that I'm giving a good deal of thought and consideration to. I look forward to speaking with you on our next consultation call."
- John Timmins, Columbia, South Carolina
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