Mitt Romney’s Dad Got Corporate Handouts: Free McDonald’s For Life

Mitt Romney/Twitter

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Presumptive GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney is too often accused of being stiff, awkward, soulless, hardly the type of guy you’d want to drink a beer with. (Romney, like most Mormons, doesn’t drink alcohol, anyway.)

And so it’s news when Romney offers up a new detail, however minor, about his personal life or childhood, as he did Wednesday with a group of donors in Chicago. At a fundraiser, ABC News reported, Romney recounted how, as a kid, he used to rifle through a sock drawer belonging to his dad, former Michigan governor George Romney, and how little Mitt once struck gold in that drawer:

You know how boys liked to go through their dad’s top drawer, just to sort of see what he has in there, maybe find an old coin he might not miss or whatever.

I found a little paper card, a little pink card, and it said this entitles George W. Romney to a lifetime of a hamburger, a shake, and French fries at McDonald’s. It was signed by the hand of [former McDonald’s executive] Ray Kroc. My dad had done a little training lesson or whatever for McDonald’s when there was just a handful of restaurants and I saw this thing and was like, ‘This is a gold mine, Dad! What are you doing?’ So I had it laminated. My dad, as you know, would go almost every day to a McDonald’s restaurant and get either a hamburger or a fish filet sandwich. And he would present this little card and of course the person behind the counter would look and say, ‘Well, what is that?’ They’d never seen something like that, but he said it was never turned down. They always honored it.

George Romney’s love of McDonald’s hamburgers and fish filets doesn’t seem to have worn off on his youngest son. Mitt’s preferred fast-food joint apparently is Carl’s Jr.

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WHO DOESN’T LOVE A POSITIVE STORY—OR TWO?

“Great journalism really does make a difference in this world: it can even save kids.”

That’s what a civil rights lawyer wrote to Julia Lurie, the day after her major investigation into a psychiatric hospital chain that uses foster children as “cash cows” published, letting her know he was using her findings that same day in a hearing to keep a child out of one of the facilities we investigated.

That’s awesome. As is the fact that Julia, who spent a full year reporting this challenging story, promptly heard from a Senate committee that will use her work in their own investigation of Universal Health Services. There’s no doubt her revelations will continue to have a big impact in the months and years to come.

Like another story about Mother Jones’ real-world impact.

This one, a multiyear investigation, published in 2021, exposed conditions in sugar work camps in the Dominican Republic owned by Central Romana—the conglomerate behind brands like C&H and Domino, whose product ends up in our Hershey bars and other sweets. A year ago, the Biden administration banned sugar imports from Central Romana. And just recently, we learned of a previously undisclosed investigation from the Department of Homeland Security, looking into working conditions at Central Romana. How big of a deal is this?

“This could be the first time a corporation would be held criminally liable for forced labor in their own supply chains,” according to a retired special agent we talked to.

Wow.

And it is only because Mother Jones is funded primarily by donations from readers that we can mount ambitious, yearlong—or more—investigations like these two stories that are making waves.

About that: It’s unfathomably hard in the news business right now, and we came up about $28,000 short during our recent fall fundraising campaign. We simply have to make that up soon to avoid falling further behind than can be made up for, or needing to somehow trim $1 million from our budget, like happened last year.

If you can, please support the reporting you get from Mother Jones—that exists to make a difference, not a profit—with a donation of any amount today. We need more donations than normal to come in from this specific blurb to help close our funding gap before it gets any bigger.

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