Chick-Fil-A's founder and CEO, S. Truett Cathy, led the way in political contributions. He has given more than $45,000 since 1990 while his son Dan, whose comments sparked the current controversy, has given more than $15,000 over that time. Top recipients of the Cathy's largesse include former Sen. Elizabeth Dole of North Carolina, former Rep. Mac Collins of Georgia, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich of Georgia and one-time U.S. Senate candidate Herman Cain.
Collins voted for the Defense of Marriage Act, the federal law defining marriage as between a man and a woman. Dole voted for a Constitutional ban on same-sex marriage, and both Cain and Gingrich were outspoken opponents of same-sex marriage during their presidential runs this year.
The company's employees, most of whom reside in the Southeast where the great majority of the chain's restaurants are located, lean heavily Republican with their political contributions as well. Of the $32,000 that Chick-Fil-A employees have contributed to federal politicians this cycle, only $2,050 has gone to Democrats, according to CRP.
Chick-fil-A received bad news Friday morning when it learned that its vice president of public relations, Don Perry, died suddenly. WRBL of Columbus, Georgia reports that Perry died of a heart attack.
"Don was a member of our Chick-fil-A family for nearly 29 years," the company said in a statement. "For many of you in the media, he was the spokesperson for Chick-fil-A. He was a well-respected and well-liked media executive in the Atlanta and University of Georgia communities, and we will all miss him. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family."
Seth Cline is a reporter with U.S. News and World Report. Contact him at email@example.com or follow him on Twitter.
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UPDATE: 7/27/12, 3:21 p.m. - This story was updated with information about the death of Chick-Fil-A's VP of public relations.