Ben & Jerry’s Founders Back Sanders, But Parent Company Donates to Clinton Foundation

Ben Cohen, left, and Jerry Greenfield
Ben Cohen, left, and Jerry Greenfield / AP
• May 26, 2015 1:46 pm


At his official presidential campaign announcement on Tuesday, Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders will be flanked by the founders of ice cream giant Ben & Jerry’s, whose parent company is a donor to the family foundation of Democratic rival Hillary Clinton.

Sanders, who professes distaste for corporate involvement in politics, has criticized the Bill, Hillary, and Chelsea Clinton Foundation following revelations that donors to the group received favorable treatment from Clinton while she ran the State Department.

Among its donors is the Dutch-British consumer goods conglomerate Unilever, which bought Ben & Jerry’s in 2000. The company has donated between $50,000 and $100,000 to the Clinton Foundation, according to its website.

Ben & Jerry’s cofounders Ben Cohen and Jerry Greenfield stepped back from day to day operations at the company after its sale, though they were both still employees as late as 2010, according to Greenfield.

The two will join Sanders on Tuesday as he officially announces his presidential run. He is expected to campaign against the influence of large corporations on the American political process.

Unilever, which ran a net operating profit of nearly $10 billion last year, worked with Clinton’s State Department to address environmental issues, according to 2012 remarks from the then-secretary of state.

"We’re working with companies like Coca-Cola, Unilever, and the rest of the Consumer Goods Forum to combat deforestation through sustainable supply chains," Clinton said in a speech in Rio de Janeiro.

Clinton also lauded Unilever in public remarks while she helmed State.