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Boycott Home Depot Calls After Founder Helped Block Student Debt Relief

BY DARRAGH ROCHE ON 11/25/22 AT 7:46 AM EST - Newsweek

Calls are growing for a boycott of Home Depot after a conservative advocacy group set up by the company's founder helped two plaintiffs in a suit challenging President Joe Biden's student debt relief plan.

The Job Creators Network Foundation, founded by Home Depot co-founder Bernie Marcus, supported two student borrowers who argued in court that the administration's plan was unlawful, while the judge in the case blocked it.

Many Twitter users joined calls to boycott Home Depot because of Marcus' association with the Job Creators Network Foundation. Tweets with the hashtag "#BoycottHomeDepot" have been posted for several days and continued into early Friday morning.

Those calls come, despite the fact that Home Depot's billionaire co-founder is no longer with the company, since Marcus retired as chairman of the board in 2002.

In October, Home Depot was forced to clarify that it had not donated to Republican U.S. Senate candidate Herschel Walker's campaign amid some calls for a boycott. The donation to the Georgia senatorial hopeful had come from Marcus, not the company.

There were similar calls to boycott the firm in 2019 when Marcus said he would support then-President Donald Trump's re-election bid, and company spokesperson Margaret Smith told NPR at the time that Marcus was not speaking on behalf of Home Depot.

"In fact, as a standard practice, the company does not endorse presidential candidates," Smith said.

It's also not clear to what extent Marcus still has shares in Home Depot as he pledged in 2019 that he would give 90 percent of his fortune to charity.

Newsweek has asked Home Depot for comment.

Twitter user Sarah Anderson tweeted on Wednesday: "Did you know that Home Depot founder Bernie Marcus's nonprofit 'Job Creators Network' is the Texas group behind stopping Biden's Student Debt Cancellation Bill?"

Anderson shared screenshots about the group, including an image from their website showing their opposition to the Biden administration's student debt relief plan.

Anderson's tweet was shared by several users as others posted the #BoycottHomeDepot hashtag to express their criticism of the company's association with Marcus.

"For once and for all, boycott Home Depot!" tweeted user Erle Davis.

"Republicans legislate for the rich and penalize the working poor - its their platform #CancelStudentDebt #BoycottHomeDepot," wrote user @momsresistnow.

Twitter user @adhdwonderwoman wrote: "Don't give your money to Home Depot if you think people's lives are more valuable than money. People over profits is a two way street and we are just as accountable for enabling it."

According to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index, Marcus has a net worth of $5.38 billion.

U.S. District Judge Mark Pittman of the Northern District of Texas ruled that the debt relief program was "unconstitutional exercise of Congress's legislative power" on November 10.

The two borrowers who brought the suit were partially or fully ineligible for the relief offered under Biden's plan and were supported by the Job Creators Network Foundation.

However, the student loan debt relief plan had already been temporarily blocked by the 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals as that court considers an appeal from six Republican-led states that have asked that the plan be paused while they appeal the dismissal of their case against it.

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