Supreme Court opens the flood gates to even more Walton money in politics

Share Button

Yesterday, the U.S. Supreme Court struck down certain limits on individuals’ federal campaign contributions, with a ruling on McCutcheon v. FEC. The Supreme Court declared unconstitutional the cap on the aggregate amount that an individual can give directly to candidates for federal office, federal political action committees, and federal party committees.

The McCutcheon decision opens the door to dramatically increased federal election spending by wealthy, politically-motivated donors like the Waltons. A report from Demos and U.S. PIRG found that without an individual limit on campaign spending, more than $1 billion in additional campaign contributions from a small segment of elite donors is likely to come in through the 2020 election cycle.

With some of the deepest pockets in America, members of the Walton family have brushed up against the individual aggregate limit year after year. And the Waltons’ political priorities are well-documented. Their contributions further a personal, ideological agenda that is anti-woman, anti-environment, anti-minimum wage, and pro-gun.

Individual Walton federal contributions by year

2012

2010

2008

Individual aggregate limit

$117,000

$115,500

$108,200

Jim Walton

$112,000

$114,900

$107,300

Lynne Walton

$105,800

$111,500

$107,100

Alice Walton

$78,300

$93,900

$104,900


Analysis of data from
FEC.gov and Open Secrets

Already, a small group of donors has major influence on the political process. The Sunlight Foundation reports, “More than a quarter of the nearly $6 billion in contributions from identifiable sources in the last campaign cycle came from just 31,385 individuals, a number equal to one ten-thousandth of the U.S. population…the 1% of the 1%.” In 2012, no member of the House or Senate won election without help from this group. And this small group includes some familiar names: Alice, Christy, Jim, Lynne, Rob, Tillie, and Sam R. Walton are all part of this 1% of 1%.

Federal law had set caps on the total amount individuals could contribute to all candidates as well as the total amount that individuals could give to PACs and parties. For the 2011-2012 election cycle, the caps were $46,200 to all candidates and $70,800 to all PACs and parties, which added up to an aggregate limit of $117,000, more than twice the annual income of the average American household. Without those limits, extremely wealthy donors like the Waltons will be able to spend upwards of $3.5 million every election cycle—not including super PAC contributions!—to influence the democratic process.

In 2012, over half of the contributions from Jim Walton and his wife Lynne went to two Republican committees: the National Republican Senatorial Committee ($30,800 apiece, the 2012 maximum contribution to party a committee) and the National Republican Congressional Committee ($30,400 each). Without an aggregate limit on individual contributions, the Waltons could hypothetically write many more $30,000+ checks to other national party committees in the current cycle. They’ve already gotten started: in March 2013, Jim and Lynne each wrote $30,800 checks to the National Republican Senatorial Committee and the National Republican Congressional Committee. At $123,200, Jim and Lynne Walton have given more money to the Republican party this cycle than Charles and David Koch.

Is Walmart “neutral” on the minimum wage in its lobbying meetings too?

Share Button

Walmart spokesperson David Tovar told Bloomberg this week that Walmart was “looking at” its position on the proposed federal minimum wage hike. A different company spokesperson quickly corrected the story, telling Reuters that Walmart’s position hadn’t changed at all and that the company remains “neutral” on the issue. Of course, two of the major business groups connected to Walmart—the National Retail Federation and the Chamber of Commerce—have voiced strong opposition to the measure, but Walmart maintains that it’s neutral, and Walmart and the Waltons’ history of political giving shows a preference for politicians who vote against raising the minimum wage.

Over at the Washington Post’s Wonkblog today, Lydia DePillis adds some interesting insight into Walmart’s activities on the issue, noting that the company reported lobbying on the minimum wage proposal in the fourth quarter of 2013 (reports for the start of 2014 haven’t been filed yet):

And yet, lobbying disclosure reports suggest that [Walmart] might have made up its mind as recently as the end of last year: Its $1,950,000 bill for in-house government relations in the fourth quarter includes a line about “Discussions regarding minimum wage and the Fair Minimum Wage Act (S. 460),” which would raise the wage to $10.10 over two years. That appears to be the first time the company has lobbied on the issue in several years — earlier reports don’t have a field for issues lobbied — and forms for the 10 outside firms it employed during the quarter don’t mention it.

Maybe Walmart does have a stance on raising the minimum wage after all.

The State Representative from…Walmart?

Share Button

City officials in Green Bay, WI, are fighting a proposed Walmart in the city’s historic Broadway district, but one state lawmaker has voiced a different opinion. State Representative John Klenke has said this week that he will ask the state’s Building Commission to reconsider $2 million set aside for the expansion of the city’s convention center if the city blocks the Walmart opening.

Alice WaltonRep. Klenke, a Republican representing parts of Green Bay and surrounding areas in the state house, has some powerful friends. As Fox 11 notes, Klenke has received campaign contributions from several members of Walmart’s Walton family. According to data from the Wisconsin Democracy Campaign, Alice, Christy, Jim, and Lynne Walton have each made contributions to Klenke since 2010. In fact, the Waltons are no stranger to Wisconsin state legislative races. Despite the fact that none of them live in Wisconsin, six Waltons were among the top fifteen political donors in Wisconsin state legislative races from 2009-2010, the cycle that brought Republicans to power in the state.

Green Bay’s Mayor Jim Schmitt and members of the public are opposed to Walmart opening in the city’s historic Broadway district. Yet Klenke, who was reportedly previously in favor of the state funding for Green Bay’s convention center expansion, told Fox 11 this week, “If you’re not going to help yourself then why should we help you?” It’s a surprising exertion of government control from a legislator associated with the Tea Party.

It looks like the Waltons’ political contributions continue to pay off.

Walmart lobbied to avoid increased safety in Bangladesh

Share Button

Politico broke the news earlier this week that Walmart hired lobbyists to fight a provision of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) that would have cost the company business. Walmart has refused to sign the binding Bangladesh Accord on Fire and Building Safety, in favor of a voluntary alliance it formed with Gap and other retailers. From Politico:

Retail giant Wal-Mart hired Porter Gordon Silver Communications to work on successfully stripping a provision of the National Defense Authorization Act in December, according to public disclosures released Tuesday. Several members of Congress had championed a worker-safety provision in the annual defense spending bill that would have given procurement priority to companies that signed onto a legally binding Bangladesh workers’ safety agreement called the Bangladesh Accord on Fire and Building Safety. Retailers like Wal-Mart and Gap have declined to sign on, and Wal-Mart unveiled its own nonbinding safety plan in May of last year for workers at its Bangladeshi factories. In practice, the provision would have cost Wal-Mart and other retailers not part of the accord a good deal of money — as their products would have suffered at retail stores on military bases as a result of procurement priority given to Accord members.

The Huffington Post describes the intentions behind the NDAA’s ethical sourcing provision:

In the eyes of its crafters, the amendment had a simple underlying message: Markets sanctioned and supported by the U.S. government should be shut off from sweatshop labor…

If passed, the amendment on military exchanges would have been an embarrassment to the alliance, since Congress would have essentially endorsed the accord as a stronger approach to improving safety in Bangladesh. It also would have pressured companies whose clothes are sold in the exchanges to consider joining the accord or face losing business. Alliance leaders asked senators to either insert language putting them on equal footing with the accord or to strip out the accord altogether.

Between December 2012 and May 2013, nearly 1,200 Bangladeshi garment workers were killed in preventable factory fires and building collapses while producing goods mostly for U.S. and European markets. Walmart has responded to the tragedies by refusing to sign the broadly supported Bangladesh Safety Accord and instead proposed its own alternative. In contrast with the accord, Walmart’s plan is a voluntary arrangement without any meaningful enforcement mechanisms, developed without consultation with workers.

In the case of the NDAA, Walmart’s lobbyists were able to help the company again avoid being held accountable for increased safety in the Bangladeshi factories producing goods for the company.

Nine Ways Walmart’s Ruling Family Is Funding a Far-Right Agenda

Share Button

The list Buzzfeed doesn’t want you to see
We originally posted this story on Buzzfeed, but without notifying us they took it down yesterday, claiming it was a “personal attack.” We don’t think that sharing factual information about the Waltons’ agenda is a personal attack – it’s just the truth that people deserve to know.

 

A brief guide to the political activities of the Walton family, the majority owners of Walmart. After all, they have enough money to fill a large backyard pool with solid gold.

They’re ruining public schools.

Since 2005, the family has dropped over $1 billion[1] to destroy public schools and treat K-12 education like venture capitalism. They’ve given to myriad voucher, charter school, and corporate education reform advocacy organizations, including the Milton Friedman Foundation for Educational Choice;  union-buster Stand for Children; and Michelle Rhee’s pro-privatization, pro-high stakes testing organization, Students First. Basically, they’ve appointed themselves to make decisions about education because they are rich as hell. Never mind that their pro-privatization approach doesn’t work, and never mind that ending poverty—like maybe among Walmart’s 1.4 million low-wage workers?—would do more than anything else to make kids’ lives and school outcomes better. Plus? Several groups they’ve doled out money to are plagued with scandal.

 

They love haters.

Why

The Waltons use their billions to fund haters like Jason Rapert – the Arkansas legislator who opposes gay adoption, wants to mandate vaginal probes for women seeking an abortion, and still suggests that President Obama was born in Kenya. Rapert’s no anomaly. From 1990 to 2012, 84% of Walton family spending on Congressional races went to candidates with a ZERO (out of 100) rating on women’s issues from the American Association of University Women.

In 2012, Jim Walton contributed $500 to the re-election campaign of Loy Mauch, an Arkansas state legislator who has called the Confederate flag a “symbol of Jesus Christ” and acknowledged membership in the “neo-confederate” secessionist group known as League of the South. It wasn’t until Mauch’s views and Walton’s contribution made headlines that Jim Walton asked that the contribution be returned.

 

They helped create the shutdown.

Since the 2004 election cycle, Walmart has given over $1.5 million to the Republican State Leadership Committee, the group that helped the GOP secure control over the redistricting process before the 2012 elections. That year, Republicans took 54% of House seats despite winning only 45% of the popular vote, enabling them to grind the government to a halt, even without the support of most Americans.

 

They contributed to the rise of Scott Walker and his cronies in Wisconsin.

From 2009-2010, the election cycle that brought Republicans to power in Wisconsin, Alice Walton was the top individual donor to Wisconsin legislators according to WisconsinWatch.org. Alice and five other Waltons were among the top fifteen political donors in Wisconsin legislative races during that election cycle. Since 2010, the Waltons have given $55,000 to Scott Walker, according to Wisconsin Democracy Campaign. The legislative victories they contributed to, combined with the family foundation’s multi-million dollar efforts to fund experiments in school choice in the state, serve as a multi-pronged approach to further their conservative agenda.

 

They tried to prevent gay families from adopting.

478

Walmart heir and board member Jim Walton gave $75,000 to Arkansas’s Family Council Action Committee in 2008. At the time, the group was backing a ballot initiative that would prevent gay and lesbian families from serving as adoptive or foster families. Jim Walton’s contribution was equal to 55% of the group’s political spending that year. The measure passed, but the Arkansas Supreme Court struck it down last year.

 

They push their right-wing vision through ALEC.

(With apologies to Alec Baldwin) The American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) is infamous for promoting legislation that advances a conservative ideological agenda and benefits its members at the expense of everyone else. The organization developed and promoted anti-union legislation in Wisconsin and Ohio, as well as Arizona’s anti-immigrant SB 1070. It has also been an ardent supporter of the privatization of education, voter-ID laws–which distort our democracy by making it harder for low-income people and people of color to vote–and is becoming increasingly known for having developed the “Stand Your Ground” law that became notorious following the killing of Trayvon Martin. Walmart and the Walton Family Foundation were listed side by side as chairman-level sponsors of the conservative group’s annual meeting in August 2011. Following public pressure last spring, Walmart withdrew from the controversial organization, but the Walton Family Foundation has yet to publicly sever ties with ALEC.

 

They spend their money on the NRA’s top politicians.

Walmart is nation’s largest seller of guns and ammunition. Between the 2010 and 2012 federal election cycles, Walmart’s PAC gave nearly $1 million to candidates endorsed by the NRA. The Waltons gave another half a million to NRA-endorsed federal politicians over that time period, including super PAC funds. In fact, among politicians with 2012 grades from the NRA, 84% of the Waltons’ 2010-2012 cycle contributions went to candidates with scores between A+ and A-.

 

They make super contributions to super PACs.

Mitt-Romney-Laughing

The Waltons gave almost $900,000 to super PACs in the 2012 cycle. Of that, $400,000 went to Restore Our Future, the super PAC associated with Mitt Romney. As of last June, there were only 356 donors—including Jim and Alice Walton—who had given over $100,000 to super PACs…because most of us don’t have that kind of money to spend on our personal agendas.

 

They lobbied to avoid paying their fair share.

715

During George W. Bush’s presidency, the Waltons and a host of other wealthy families worked to repeal the estate tax and save a ton on taxes. They hired a lobbyist and contributed heavily to politicians who were on their side, in order to save a fortune from beyond the grave. As a recent feature in Bloomberg confirmed, the Waltons continue to use creative mechanisms to skip out on their bill from American taxpayers.


[1] Based on: 1) Reports of grant funding in 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, and 2012 on the Walton Family Foundation website (and archived versions of the website from the Internet Archive, http://www.archive.org), and 2) A review of donations to candidates for school board positions, education PACs, and charter school ballot initiatives, obtained from campaign finance databases in the following states: California, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Michigan, Missouri, New Jersey, Virginia, Washington, and Wisconsin.

How Walmart helped lay the groundwork for the government shutdown

Share Button

As the government shutdown drags on, many pundits have drawn attention to how gerrymandering has helped give the American people a handful of right-wing Republicans willing to shut down the government as part of their ideological crusade against Obamacare. What has not been widely understood is how Walmart, the nation’s largest retailer, is also a top funder of an effort to turn state legislatures red and control the redistricting process.   Perhaps Republican operative and former Bush advisor Karl Rove put it best when he wrote, “He who controls redistricting can control Congress” in a 2010 Wall Street Journal editorial. And with the millions Walmart gives to the Republican State Leadership Committee, the Republican Party’s top influencer of redistricting, Walmart and the Waltons have played a disturbingly significant role.

Shutdowns

The House has seen an increase in “safe” Republican seats since the last shutdown in 1995. Politico describes the difference: “79 of the 236 House Republicans serving during the last shutdown resided in districts that Clinton won in 1992. Today, just 17 of the 232 House Republicans are in districts that Obama won in 2012.”

The result: primaries pose a bigger risk to most Republicans than the general election, and Republicans are engaging in a race to the extreme right. This theory is borne out by Think Progress’ tally of House Republicans who are willing to resolve the crisis and back a continuing resolution like the one passed by the house. As of last Tuesday, there were only 14 such House Republicans, and in their districts Obama averaged 48.8% of the vote in 2012.

Walmart’s role

Walmart is a top donor to the RSLCThis is where Walmart comes in. The 2010 Republican takeover of state legislatures was led by the Republican State Leadership Committee (RSLC), a so-called dark money group that can take in unlimited corporate contributions and obscures that money’s origins as it is redistributed to influence state races. A Pro Publica report explains that when it was formed in 2002, the RSLC “was primarily a vehicle for donors like health care and tobacco companies to influence state legislatures, key battlegrounds for regulations that affect corporate America.” But in 2010, the group got a new chairman and a new focus: to influence redistricting.

To control redistricting before the 2012 elections, Republicans would first have to win as many state legislatures as they could in 2010. That year Rove wrote in the Wall Street Journal, “Nationally, the GOP’s effort will be spearheaded by the Republican State Leadership Committee (RSLC). Funded by 80,000 donors, it spent more than $20 million in the last election cycle on legislative races and for attorney general, lieutenant governor and secretary of state campaigns.”

The RSLC may have thousands of donors, but Walmart is consistently among the top 20. Since the 2004 election cycle, Walmart has given the Republican State Leadership Committee over $1.5 million, according to data compiled by Open Secrets. In the ongoing election cycle, Walmart is currently the group’s top donor.

Walmart’s record donating to right-wing causes

All of this is in keeping with Walmart and the Walton family’s (which controls Walmart) long history of backing Republicans and right wing-causes, especially at the state level. Since the 2004 cycle, Walmart has spent over $12.7 million in state-level races (not counting its contributions to the RSLC), according to Follow the Money. Nearly 80% of that money went to Republican candidates and party committees. The Waltons, meanwhile, give almost exclusively to Republicans, and in 2010 they helped finance the Republican takeover in a big way. Despite not being from there, six Waltons were among the top fifteen political donors in Wisconsin legislative races during that election cycle. In fact, Alice Walton was the top individual donor to Wisconsin legislators during the 2010 cycle.

It worked

The 2010 GOP strategy worked. Walmart joined forces with the US Chamber of Commerce (which Walmart also funds), tobacco companies, pharmaceutical companies, and others to fund the RSLC and help Republicans win 675 legislative seats and gain control of 12 more legislatures, including places like North Carolina, where it had been over a century since the GOP last controlled the state. Ultimately, Pro Publica explains, “the GOP oversaw redrawing of lines for four times as many congressional districts as Democrats.” So even after Democratic candidates for Congress won 1.1 million more votes than Republicans, the GOP was able to maintain its control of the House.

For $1.5 million over the past decade, Walmart was able to help the Republican State Leadership Committee secure control over the Congressional redistricting process. This in turn gave the Republicans 54% of House seats despite winning only 45% of the popular vote and ample opportunity to grind the government to a halt, even without the support of most Americans.

Political affiliations reveal another side of Yahoo! and CEO Marissa Mayer

Share Button

Yahoo ALEC Logo Graphic

Part 1 of a series: The American Legislative Exchange Council

The escalating controversy over Yahoo! CEO and Walmart director Marissa Mayer’s support for a Silicon Valley lobbying group prompted us to look more closely into her political activities. What we found was a little surprising, given Mayer’s reputation as a liberal and major Obama supporter.

It turns out that both Mayer and Yahoo! are affiliated with groups responsible for advancing policies that seem out of step with mainstream values. In this post, we look at the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), an organization that has been backed by Yahoo!, and which also enjoys close ties to the Walton family, majority owners of Walmart.

ALEC supports the Big Oil agenda (Source: ThinkProgress)

ALEC: A modern-day version of the smoke-filled room

ALEC is basically a modern-day version of the proverbial smoke-filled room; a place where corporate special interests can gather with sympathetic state legislators to hammer out and promote a self-serving legislative agenda. Greenpeace sums it up this way:

ALEC links state legislators with some of corporate America’s largest and most dubious players—Exxon, Koch, coal giant Peabody Energy, and Reynolds Tobacco for example—to create model state legislation. State legislators who pay a small fee to become ALEC members are granted access to a large pool of draft bills and resolutions created by representatives of the corporate giants who finance ALEC, some of which also help govern the organization.

Despite public outcry, Yahoo! seems to be sticking with ALEC

Although ALEC is highly secretive about its membership, a document unearthed by Common Cause shows that Yahoo! Director of State Government Affairs Bill Ashworth was a member of the ALEC Telecommunications and Information Technology Task Force as recently as August 2011. Over the last year, a number of corporations have responded to public outrage over ALEC’s record by publicly disaffiliating from the group. There is no indication that Yahoo! has done so.

We do know that Yahoo! is currently listed as a member of the eCommerce trade group NetChoice, and that NetChoice Executive Director Steve DelBianco has been active in ALEC for over a decade. In fact, DelBianco was recently named ALEC’s Private Sector Member of the Year.

Protesters call attention to ALEC’s role in promoting Stand Your Ground legislation. (Photo © PRWatch; Source: PolicyMic)

ALEC: Pursuing corporate-friendly legislation

ALEC’s scope of activity is enormous, as documented by the Center for Media and Democracy, but here are a few choice examples of ALEC’s legislative work (hat tip to Greenpeace):

Walmart is one of forty-nine corporations that have publicly disaffiliated from ALEC since the group became the target of widespread protests last year (the Walton family, which owns a majority of Walmart stock, has not renounced its ties to ALEC).  This is one area where Marissa Mayer might be well-advised to follow in Walmart’s footsteps.

 

Many Call for Walmart 1% to End Its Support of ALEC

Share Button

This week, the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) is holding its annual meeting in Chicago. Today, thousands gathered outside the meeting to show their opposition to ALEC’s right-wing “model legislation.” Some of those present chose to highlight the ongoing role of the Walmart 1% in ALEC.

ALEC has faced a growing drumbeat of concern from citizens troubled by the group’s corporate-sponsored politicians and legislation. Drug companies, tobacco companies, the Koch brothers, and more are associated with ALEC, which offers corporations the opportunity to modify and create legislation with state legislators behind closed doors.

Last spring, Walmart, Amazon, McDonald’s, the Gates Foundation, and many others left ALEC following intense public pressure. In 2011, the Walton Family Foundation and Walmart were listed side by side as chairman level sponsors of ALEC’s annual meeting. According to our analysis, since 1990, Walmart’s PAC and Walton family members have given more than $1 million to politicians who have been board members or state chairs of ALEC.

Unlike Walmart and some of the Waltons’ peers in the foundation world, the Walton Family Foundation has not responded to calls to sever its ties with ALEC. And two other members of the Walmart 1% are affiliated to corporations with ALEC ties.

  • Marissa Mayer, CEO of Yahoo!. Although ALEC is highly secretive about its membership, a document unearthed by Common Cause shows that Yahoo! Director of State Government Affairs Bill Ashworth was a member of the ALEC Telecommunications and Information Technology Task Force as recently as August 2011. Yahoo! is led by Walmart board member Marissa Mayer, who is facing increasing controversy over some of her other political activities.
  • Steven Reinemund, Exxon Mobil Board of Directors. Walmart director Steven Reinemund, Dean of Business at Wake Forest University, also serves on the ExxonMobil board. An Exxon Mobil executive currently sits on ALEC’s 14-member Private Enterprise Council.

ALEC has become notorious for backing some of the most controversial state laws in recent years, especially ones that attack public education, the environment, and civil rights. ALEC championed the Stand Your Ground laws associated with the killing of Trayvon Martin. In fact, a Walmart executive co-chaired the ALEC task force that endorsed Stand Your Ground. The group is a leading champion of voter ID laws that serve to disenfranchise the poor, people of color, and the elderly in particular. ALEC-endorsed bills would use taxpayer dollars to subsidize private schools, evade protections in the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, and eliminate job protections for teachers. Recently, ALEC has also been found leading the push to weaken or repeal the minimum wage.

Walmart is on the wrong side of North Carolina’s Moral Mondays

Share Button

Today, and every Monday for the past twelve weeks, the North Carolina NAACP, religious leaders, and community members have gathered at the North Carolina State Capitol to rally against what NAACP leader Rev. William Barber described as “extremists attacking Democracy.” Since the end of April, thousands have participated in these Moral Monday protests and rallies against unjust legislation coming out of the state legislature. So far, 926 people have participated in civil disobedience and been arrested. Walmart, on the other hand, has given over $60,000 to the Republican Party and Republican legislators pushing these laws.

In 2010, Republicans took a majority in the North Carolina state legislature and two years later, Republican Pat McCrory was elected governor, giving the GOP control of the state for the first time in over a century. With that came a wave of conservative laws favoring corporations over people and shifting public resources away from the families that need them most. The News Observer identifies some of this year’s drastic new legislation:

The GOP supermajority charged ahead with a budget and new policies that make cuts to public education, shift tax dollars to private-school vouchers, cut unemployment and Medicaid benefits, reform tax laws to provide a flat tax rate bringing larger breaks to corporations and the state’s top earners, while also hiking taxes for some of more modest means.

Not to mention some of the most the stringent voter suppression laws in the country, which the state legislature passed just last week. The New York Times described this latest bill as combining “every idea for suppressing voter turnout that Republicans have advanced in other states.”

We’ve written before about Walmart and the Waltons’ support of the right-wing American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC). Walmart left ALEC under intense public pressure last spring, but the Waltons have failed to distance themselves from the group, even as Moral Mondays and other protests against ALEC’s terrible ideas have gained momentum.

Walmart and the Waltons have helped fund the conservative shift in state houses across the country in recent years. Several members of the Walton family were among the top donors in Wisconsin in 2010—the year that Scott Walker was elected governor—and now we’re finding out that Walmart contributed $60,500 to the Republican Party and GOP candidates in North Carolina in the past two election cycles. That amounts to nearly 80 percent of their total contributions in the state.

Walmart may be doing all it can to burnish its public image, but the truth is that the company has not chosen the moral side in North Carolina.

Latest notes on Walmart’s lobbying

Share Button

moneyWalmart and its lobbyists filed their second quarter lobbying reports this week, and at the same time the company is starting to see some of the fruits of its multi-pronged approach to buying support on Capitol Hill. In the second quarter of 2013, Walmart spent just shy of $2 million on its federal lobbying efforts, an increase from both the first quarter and the same time last year. The company has spent a total of $3.8 million on federal lobbying so far this year. Earlier this year, Making Change at Walmart released a report that summarized Walmart and the Walton family’s extensive political spending. The report found that the two have given a combined $17 million since the 2000 election cycle, with a disproportionate focus on conservative legislators.

In two interesting posts this week, the Huffington Post and Open Secrets chronicle some of Walmart’s top priorities and follow the trail of money along the way. [Read more...]

Legal Disclaimer: UFCW and OUR Walmart have the purpose of helping Wal-Mart employees as individuals or groups in their dealings with Wal-Mart over labor rights and standards and their efforts to have Wal-Mart publically commit to adhering to labor rights and standards. UFCW and OUR Walmart have no intent to have Walmart recognize or bargain with UFCW or OUR Walmart as the representative of Walmart employees. Judges have preliminarily enjoined non-Associates who are part of the UFCW International or OUR Walmart from entering Walmart property in Arkansas (read the order here), Florida (read the order here), and Maryland (read the order here). A California judge has enjoined non-associate agents of the UFCW and OUR Walmart from engaging in certain activities inside CA Walmart stores. Click here for a copy of the order.

© 2012 Making Change at Walmart