Tampa General Hospital can’t give to Florida politicians. Its coffee shops can.


TAMPA — A festive scene greets patients and visitors entering Tampa General Hospital’s main campus.

A Christmas tree, a shiny reindeer, a menorah, gift-wrapped presents. Once visitors check in at the front desk, they can attend to their hospital business or pop over to sip Peppermint Mochas and Irish Cream Cold Brews at the Starbucks.

Unbeknownst to most of its customers, however, this Starbucks serves up more than holiday cheer. For the past three years, the company that runs that location has been making venti-sized campaign contributions to a select group of Florida political candidates.

It does this even though Tampa General operates as a 501(c)(3) nonprofit. Federal law prohibits it from giving money to political candidates.

House of Coffee Tampa, which owns and operates the coffee shops inside two Tampa General properties — including its main campus Starbucks on Davis Islands — is a for-profit corporation. That means it can give to…

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