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Left: Victor J. Blue/Bloomberg via Getty Images. Right: Joe Raedle/Getty Images

Publix heiress Julie Jenkins Fancelli donated about $300,000 to fund the rally that preceded the violent riot at the U.S. Capitol last month, the Wall Street Journal reports.

Why it matters: The donation is only the latest in controversial political spending by associates and beneficiaries of the popular Lakeland-based grocery chain, which employs 225,000 people and did $38.1 billion in retail sales in 2019.

  • Fancelli, 71, is a part-time Lakeland resident and the daughter of Publix founder George W. Jenkins, who died in 1996.

What happened: The donation paid for the lion’s share of the roughly $500,000 rally at the Ellipse, where former President Trump incited attendees to march to the Capitol.

  • "InfoWars" huckster Alex Jones arranged for the donation, WSJ reports.

The backdrop: Fancelli and her two children contributed as much as the law allows to Trump’s re-election campaign in 2019: around $171,000.

  • She gave more than $980,000 to both the Republican Party and Trump’s campaign in the 2020 cycle.

The big picture: Publix affiliates have a long history of giving big bucks to conservative causes.

  • In 2018, Publix leaders gave $670,000 to the campaign of Republican gubernatorial candidate Adam Putnam, who declared himself a "proud NRA sellout," prompting "die-in" protests led by survivors of the Parkland shooting.
  • In 2019, heirs to the Publix fortune gave $25,000 to a PAC supporting Gov. Ron DeSantis.
  • FEC records show that Fancelli has written checks for $10,000 to Republican committees in about 20 other states.

What they're saying: Responding to criticism, Publix tweeted: "The violence at the Capitol on Jan. 6 was a national tragedy. The deplorable actions that occurred that day do not represent the values, work or opinions of Publix Super Markets."

This story first appeared in the Axios Tampa Bay newsletter, designed to help readers get smarter, faster on the most consequential news unfolding in their own backyard.

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Go deeper

Exclusive: Lawmakers urge probe into DOJ's alleged racial profiling of Asians

U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland. Photo: Win McNamee/Getty Images/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Nearly 100 members of Congress members urged Attorney General Merrick Garland to investigate the Justice Department's alleged racial profiling of Asians, according to a letter shared with Axios.

Why it matters: The case of Anming Hu, a scientist who was baselessly targeted in an espionage probe, has renewed scrutiny of the DOJ after an FBI agent admitted to falsely implicating the Chinese Canadian.

Physical stores go hybrid with micro-fulfillment centers

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Retail stores of all sizes are turning part of their real estate footprint into logistics and fulfillment centers as they try to blend in-store shopping with e-commerce offerings.

Why it matters: In addition to staying competitive in a buy-everything-online environment, the trend is pushing brands to locate stores closer to dense population centers to try to reach consumers where they are and better cover the last-mile delivery zone to doorsteps.

Updated 1 hour ago - Sports

The Olympic events to watch today

Katie Ledecky. Photo: Al Bello/Getty Images

5 events to watch today...
  • Baseball: USA plays Israel in the opening round at 6 a.m. ET on nbcolympics.com (Watch the replay at 10:30 a.m. ET on NBC Sports).
  • Women’s soccer: USA takes on the Netherlands in the quarterfinals at 7 a.m. ET on NBC Sports (watch the replay at 6 p.m. ET on NBC Sports).
  • 🏊 🚴 🏃‍♀️ Team triathlon: The mixed team relay Triathlon makes its Olympic debut at 6:30 p.m. ET on USA Network.
  • 🏊‍♀️ Swimming finals: Watch Katie Ledecky swim the women’s 800m freestyle final and Caeleb Dressel go for his third gold at this year’s Games in the men’s 50m freestyle. Plus live action from the mixed 4x100m medley relay. Coverage starts at 9:30 p.m. ET on NBC.
  • 🏃‍♀️ Track and field: Athletes compete in prelims and round 1 of several events, including the women’s 400m hurdles and men’s 100m.