Walmart-backed State Senator spouts off against marriage equality ruling

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Arkansas State Senator Jason Rapert (R-Conway) spouted off against marriage equality last week – and simultaneously demonstrated his ignorance of the U.S. Constitution.  And it turns out that Walmart has contributed to Sen. Rapert’s re-election campaign

Walmart-backed State Senator tweets his opposition to marriage equality

Walmart-backed State Senator tweets his opposition to marriage equality

After Pulaski County, Arkansas Judge Chris Piazza struck down Arkansas’s gay marriage ban, Sen. Rapert tweeted:

“So one judge decides the majority vote of Arkansans means nothing? Precedent says Holy Matrimony is between one man & one woman.”

Sen. Rapert – known locally for his extreme anti-gay and anti-choice positions, and for his opposition to climate change legislation (all documented here by The Nation’s Lee Fang) – became nationally infamous last February, when The Nation posted a video of his racially-tinged rant against President Obama at a public event in 2011.

We pointed out at the time that Walmart heir and director Jim Walton and his wife had contributed $3,000 to Rapert since December 2010.

Today, we took another look at Rapert’s campaign finance disclosure reports and – lo and behold –we came across a $2,000 contribution from Walmart’s political action committee in July 2013.

A July 13, 2013 campaign finance disclosure report reveals a $2,000 Walmart contribution to Rapert

A July 13, 2013 campaign finance disclosure report reveals a $2,000 Walmart contribution to Rapert

It’s striking that Walmart’s contribution went to support Rapert in the upcoming May 20, 2014 Republican primary (as it turns out, he’s running unopposed).

It’s not like Walmart’s support can be attributed to the company’s opposition to some ultra-liberal challenger. Rather, Walmart seems to have gone out of its way to put its stamp of approval on Rapert.

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

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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

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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

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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.

While Walmart Gun Sales Rise…

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Walmart and Walton Family Big Funders of NRA-Endorsed Candidates

A number of tragic incidents in 2012 brought gun control and the forces shaping American public policy on the issue—like the National Rifle Association and the American Legislative Exchange Council—into the spotlight. But while Walmart’s role as the nation’s largest seller of guns and ammunition has been widely reported, their role in supporting a pro-gun political agenda has not been widely understood.

Between the 2010 and 2012 federal election cycles, Walmart’s PAC gave just over $1 million to candidates endorsed by the NRA, based on our analysis of data from the Center for Responsive Politics and NRA Political Victory Fund grades and endorsements. 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, 87% of the Waltons’ 2010-2012 cycle contributions went to candidates with scores between A+ and A-.

Beyond their direct support for NRA-endorsed candidates, Walmart and the Walton family have also helped support a pro-gun agenda through their participation in the right-wing American Legislative Exchange Council. ALEC, a membership organization made up primarily of companies and conservative state legislators, produces right-wing model legislation that is then introduced in state legislatures nationwide.

ALEC’s pro-gun efforts have included opposing bans on semi-automatic weapons and opposing waiting periods for background checks. ALEC also helped propagate the notorious “Stand Your Ground” law linked to the killing of Trayvon Martin in Florida last February. The “Stand Your Ground” law, which initially shielded Martin’s shooter from arrest in weeks following the killing, came out of an ALEC working committee co-chaired by a Walmart executive in 2005.

Last year, amid public pressure, Walmart withdrew from ALEC. The Walton Family Foundation appears to still be a member of ALEC though, despite the fact that civil rights leaders and others have called on them to withdraw from the organization too.

As the country’s biggest seller of firearms and ammunition, Walmart has relied on gun sales to improve its dismal performance. In 2011, Walmart reportedly began stocking more guns to boost its flagging same store sales. Last month, Walmart pulled the type of assault rifle used in the Connecticut shootings from its website in the days following the attack, but it was available in about 1,700 stores nationally. The move belies Walmart and the Walton family’s support of pro-gun politicians and the company’s reliance on gun sales.

While Walmart uses guns to boost its sales and the Waltons make billions off of Walmart, they continue working behind the scenes through political giving and the Walton Family Foundation’s membership in ALEC to undermine public safety.

 

Some figures updated 4//18/13 to reflect additional information on 2012 election contributions.

Top 12 Walmart 1% Moments of 2012

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This year, thousands of activists stood up to the Walmart 1% across the country. It was a busy year for the one percent—and for the rest of us. There was the news of alleged bribery and corruption in Mexico, Walmart leaving ALEC under pressure from the public (here’s hoping the Walton Family Foundation follows their lead next year), forced labor at Walmart suppliers, warehouse worker strikes, and a Black Friday to remember when Walmart associates went on strike over the company’s retaliation and attempts to silence those who spoke out for improvements on the job.

Click through to take a look at some of what we accomplished, and come back in the new year, because 2013 is going to be even bigger! [Read more...]

Walmart and the Walton Family: Making Your Workplace Less Safe

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This week, contracted warehouse workers at warehouses that supply Walmart stores in California will complete a 50-mile, 6-day pilgrimage across Southern California.    The pilgrimage is designed to bring increased attention to the poor working conditions for these workers.    Chief among their concerns are the dangerous working conditions they face on a daily basis.[1]

Earlier this year, warehouse workers filed a complaint with the state of California Division of Occupational Safety and Health (Cal/OSHA) detailing more than a dozen serious violations.  Cal/OSHA is the state agency responsible for protecting workers from safety hazards.[2]

In the complaint, workers describe a workplace rife with unsafe conditions including limited or no access to clean water, high temperatures, broken equipment, and unreasonable and unsafe quotas.  Workers report being blocked inside the trailers they are loading for up to 30 minutes with no exit.

Unfortunately, this isn’t an isolated incident.    Walmart also has a troubling history of health and safety problems at stores.    In addition, Walmart and the Walton family (owners of Walmart) have been linked to efforts to undermine health and safety policy or to stop efforts to strengthen protections.

Walmart and the Walton Family have consistently been involved in efforts, over the past decade, to either undermine or prevent the strengthening of workplace health and safety laws.      They have pursued this agenda both by participating in organizations seeking to undermine these laws and by disproportionately funding elected officials who vote against strong worker safety policy.

Disproportionately Funding Politicians Who Vote Against Worker Safety

One of the most recent, important pieces of proposed Congressional legislation to address workplace safety was the Miner Safety and Health Act of 2010.     The bill was considered by the House Workforce and Education and Safety Committee and went to a vote in the House in December 2010, where it fell short of the two-thirds majority needed to pass, 214-193.[3]  From the 2002 cycle through June 2012, the members of Congress who voted against the bill received $2.5 million from the Walmart PAC.   The members who voted against the bill received twice as much from the Walmart PAC as those who voted for the bill.[4]    For the Walton Family, the contrast was even more stark.    The Waltons gave 34 times as much to House members who voted no as they gave to those who voted in favor of the bill.[5]

Walmart and the Walton Family Attempt to Undermine Health and Safety Laws, through membership in US Chamber of Commerce, the Retail Industry Leaders Association (RILA) and the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC)

The Chamber of Commerce has been active in supporting bills to weaken OSHA regulations,[6] and opposing attempts to strengthen OSHA. In 2004 and 2005 there were four OSHA reform bills that passed the House of Representatives.[7] While these bills claimed to assist small businesses in protecting workplace safety, in reality, they proposed exemptions from deadlines for employers to contest citations and attempted to shift the financial burden of appeals and litigation away from employers and on to taxpayers.

In the Congressional report on the bill, the Minority Views[8] included the observation:

What is at stake is not merely whether an employer will pay a monetary fine, but whether workers will have a safe and healthy workplace or be subject to injury, illness, and death. This legislation should be rejected.

RILA and US Chamber Oppose 2010 Effort to Strenghten Workplace Safety Laws

In 2010, both the Retail Industry Leaders Association (RILA)[9] and the US Chamber of Commerce (Walmart is a member of both organizations), actively opposed the effort to pass the Miner Safety and Health Act of 2010 which proposed to strengthen workplace and whistleblower protections and stiffen penalties under the Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA) and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA).[10] The bill was introduced in the aftermath of the Upper Big Branch coal mine tragedy where 29 of the 31 miners at the site were killed in an explosion. Walmart reported lobbying on the legislation as well.

ALEC and “Model Legislation” to Undermine Workplace Safety

Walmart and the Walton family have also been members of the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), which has also supported efforts to weaken workplace safety laws.     Although Walmart recently withdrew from ALEC in response to public pressure, the Walton Family Foundation apparently remains a member.   In 2000, the ALEC Board of Directors passed a resolution opposing OSHA’s proposed new ergonomics standards.[11]  In 2006, ALEC endorsed model legislation to make it harder for workers bringing a lawsuit regarding asbestos-related injuries to prevail.[12]  In 2009, ALEC endorsed model legislation that would make class action lawsuits more difficult.[13] [14]

Walmart Fails to Ensure Crowd Control During “Black Friday” Sale

Company Spends More than $2 Million to Fight $7,000 Fine by OSHA.   Fine upheld.

On “Black Friday, 2008”, a Walmart employee was trampled to death at a Walmart store.    The employee, who received no crowd control training, was asked to help control a crowd estimated at 2,000.[15]     Walmart was later cited by OSHA and assessed a fine of just $7,000.    Despite the small fine, Walmart mounted an aggressive defense and OSHA estimated that the company spent more than $2 million.   In 2011, an administrative law judge upheld the fine against the company, finding both that the crowds were a recognized hazard and that the company could have done more to protect employees and the public.[16]

2012: Walmart cited for “repeat and serious” health and safety violations[17]

In January and June, 2012, the Occupational Health and Safety Authority cited Walmart for “repeat and serious violations of workplace safety standards” at two Supercenters in Upstate New York.     Specifically, OSHA cited blocked exits and aisles, electrical hazards and improperly installed fire extinguishers.  In this case, OSHA had previously cited Wal-Mart for similar hazards at stores in Newington, Conn.; Chelmsford and West Boylston, Mass.; Centralia, Jerseyville and Joliet, Ill.; Coshocton, Ohio; Lewisville, Texas; Tulsa, Oklahoma; Fargo, North Dakota; Festus, Missouri; Plant City, Florida; and Mobile, Alabama.


[3] http://capwiz.com/c-span/issues/votes/?votenum=616&chamber=H&congress=1112

[4] Analysis of data from the Center for Responsive Politics.

[5] Analysis of data from the Center for Responsive Politics.

[6] http://www.uschamber.com/issues/labor/osha-reform

[7] http://thomas.loc.gov/cgi-bin/bdquery/z?d108:HR02728:@@@D&summ2=2&

[8] http://thomas.loc.gov/cgi-bin/cpquery/?&dbname=cp108&sid=cp108Be55C&refer=&r_n=hr487.108&item=&&&sel=TOC_32685&

[10] http://www.uschamber.com/issues/letters/2010/letteropposinghr5663

[11] http://www.alecexposed.org/w/images/6/6a/1F4-Proposed_Resolution_Opposing_OSHAs_Proposed_Ergonomics_Work_Restriction_Protection_Plan_Exposed.pdf

[15] Crush Point, by John Seabrook  The New Yorker, February 7, 2011

Open Letter to the Walton Family Foundation

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As civil rights leaders, we are writing to call on the Walton Family Foundation to follow in Walmart’s footsteps and end your ties with the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC). As you know, many other companies and organizations, including your own company Walmart, PepsiCo, Coca Cola, Kraft Food Inc., Blue Cross Blue Shield, Procter & Gamble, Amazon.com and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation have already cut ties with or distanced themselves from ALEC and their positions.

The history and values of Walmart and those of the Walton family are intertwined. We would expect that the wide divide between some of ALEC’s activities and Walmart’s purpose which prompted your company to ends its membership in ALEC would make the Walton Family reconsider its support of ALEC as well. We are disturbed that, despite your company’s image about support for Civil Rights, you are funding an organization that has helped to propel serious attacks on our communities. And, we were further troubled to learn that Walmart and the Walton family have given more than $1 million to politicians with close ties to ALEC and its agenda.

Among the elements of the ALEC agenda we are most angered by your support of the so-called “Stand Your Ground” laws. We were deeply troubled to learn that a Walmart executive co-chaired the ALEC task force that endorsed the Stand Your Ground law.

As the largest seller of guns and ammunition in the country, Walmart and your family may be blinded to the impact of guns and pro-gun laws on our nation and in our communities. The impact is very real.

We are also deeply concerned about ALEC’s role in promoting voter suppression laws. Supporters of discriminatory voter suppression laws claim they want to reduce voter fraud (individuals voting illegally, or voting twice). But such fraud almost never occurs, and never in amounts large enough to affect the result of elections.

Voter suppression laws prevent large numbers of eligible voters from casting a ballot, and could disenfranchise as many as 5 million people. And, it is clear that these laws have the effect of disproportionately disenfranchising the low-income voters, people of color, and the elderly. This runs counter to the Walton Family Foundation’s stated goal to increase opportunity and improve the lives of others.

In this moment when your company and your family are facing widespread criticism for apparent violations of the law and of unethical conduct, we sincerely hope that you’ll take this opportunity to reconsider your course.

We urge you to immediately follow in Walmart’s footsteps and sever ties with ALEC and to publicly voice your opposition to Stand Your Ground and voter suppression laws.

Sincerely,

Reverend Jesse Jackson
Founder & CEO Actor & Political Activist
Rainbow Push

Danny Glover
Actor & Political Activist

Dr. E. Faye Williams, Esq.
National Chair Executive
National Council of Black Women

Gary L. Flowers
Director & CEO
Black Leadership Forum, Inc.

Dr. Iva E. Carruthers
General Secretary
Samuel DeWitt Proctor Conference, INC.

Dr. Jeremiah Wright
Pastor Emeritus
Trinity United Church of Christ

Dr. Bernard Lafayette
Chairman of the Board
Southern Christian Leadership Conference

Bertha Lewis
President & CEO
The Black Institute

Melanie
President & CEO
National Coalition on Black Civic Participation

Campbell Patricia Ford
Founder & CEO
DeElla & Associates, LLC

Reverend Graylan Scott Hagler
Senior Pastor
Plymouth Congregational United Church

Gwen McKinney
CEO
McKinney & Associates PR

William “Bill” Lucy
Founder & President
Coalition of Black Trade Unionist

Dr. Earl Trent
Senior Pastor
Florida Avenue Baptist Church
Washington, DC

Bill Fletcher
Author & Executive
Black Commentator.Com

Dr. Alvin C. Hathaway, Sr.
Editor Senior Pastor
Union Baptist Church
Baltimore, Maryland

Rev. Arthur Waidmann
Retired Minister, United Church of Christ

Victory for the Growing Movement to Hold Walmart Accountable: Walmart Leaves ALEC

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Will The Walton Family Foundation Follow Suit?

In response to growing calls to sever ties with the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), Walmart announced today that they are leaving the controversial organization.      This is a significant victory for the an array of community organizations and leaders, as well as Walmart Associates – members of the Organization United for Respect at Walmart (OUR Walmart) – who had been campaigning in recent weeks and months for Walmart to join the ranks of companies distancing themselves from ALEC.

Recently, the Walmart 1 Percent and the Making Change at Walmart Campaign joined a powerful coalition of grassroots organizations, including Color of Change, Common Cause and the Center for Media and Democracy, to call on Walmart to leave ALEC.    Much of the attention focused on ALEC’s support for laws like the controversial “Stand Your Ground” laws, as well as laws which function to make it more difficult to vote – particularly for the poor, people of color, and the elderly.

Despite withdrawing their support from ALEC for the time being, Walmart has still not taken a public position to oppose those laws.       It is also worth noting that the Walton Family Foundation (run by the family that controls Walmart), has been a supporter of ALEC.    The statement released by Walmart says nothing about whether the WFF is severing ties.

Of course, this move does not fundamentally change Walmart or the Walton family’s role in distorting our democracy.     In the last two decades, the Walton Family has spent more than $5 million in federal elections, while Walmart spent more than $4 million in the 2010 cycle alone.

But, nonetheless, we think it is important to take a moment and remind ourselves that Walmart, despite its enormous size and power, can respond to public pressure.

The Making Change at Walmart Campaign issued a statement today, which read, in part,

“Today is a victory for the growing coalition of community, civil rights and religious groups, workers and unions who are calling for Walmart to change the way it does business so we can rebuild an America that works for the middle class. The Making Change at Walmart campaign worked closely with Color of Change, Rev. Jesse Jackson, Common Cause, ALEC Exposed, the Center for Media and Democracy and the United Food and Commercial Workers Union to call for Walmart to leave ALEC. Our efforts have only begun to demand more accountability, from Walmart and the Walton Family, for the impact on our communities of their business and political practices.

We couldn’t agree more.      Now, on to the shareholder meeting!

 

Tell Walmart and the Walton Family: Drop ALEC!

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Activist and author Bill Fletcher hits the nail on the head in his article on The Root (also published here) this week: It’s time for Walmart and the Walton Family Foundation to join the growing list of companies and foundations—like Coca-Cola, Kraft, Pepsi, and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation—and cut ties with ALEC, the American Legislative Exchange Council.

A quick recap:

  • ALEC is infamous for promoting legislation that advances a conservative ideological agenda and benefits its members at the expense of everyone else. As we’ve written before, the organization developed and promoted anti-union legislation in Wisconsin and Ohio, as well as Arizona’s anti-immigrant SB 1070. It’s 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 death of Trayvon Martin.
  • Walmart and the Waltons use their wealth to buy influence in our democracy through undemocratic, secretive groups like ALEC. Walmart and the Walton Family Foundation were listed side by side as chairman-level sponsors of the conservative group’s annual meeting last August. A chairman sponsorship cost $50,000 in 2010. Walmart’s VP of Public Affairs, Maggie Sans, is the secretary of ALEC’s private enterprise board, and Walmart executive Janet Scott was the co-chair of ALEC’s Criminal Justice Task Force in 2005, when the task force approved the model language for “Stand Your Ground” laws.

 We also now know that Walmart and the Waltons have supported politicians with close ties to ALEC. A Walmart 1 Percent analysis of data from the Center for Responsive Politics and FollowTheMoney.org reveals that, since 1990, Walmart’s PAC and the Waltons have given more than $1 million to politicians who have been board members or state chairs of ALEC. From 2006-2010 alone, they gave more than $500,000 to the campaigns of ALEC alumni currently serving in Congress. Although these politicians comprised less than 2% of the candidates during that period, they have received almost 12% of Walmart and the Waltons’ total contributions in Congressional races during the last three cycles.

So why do the Waltons and Walmart support ALEC and ALEC allies? They might like ALEC’s politics, but they’d also reap financial benefits from excessively punitive ALEC-backed bills—like one that establishes additional regulations on swap meets and flea markets, making it harder for those small sellers to compete with retailers like Walmart, or another that would make it a felony to steal from three separate retailers, no matter how little the stolen merchandise might be worth, or yet another that creates harsher penalties for thieves who leave stores through the emergency exit door.

It’s time for Walmart and the Walton family to stop supporting ALEC and its anti-worker, anti-immigrant, anti-democratic platform.

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 publicly 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), Texas (read the order here), Colorado (read the order here) and Maryland (read the order here). Court enjoins non-Associate UFCW Intl. & OUR Walmart agents from engaging in certain activities inside California WMT stores. Read order.