Walmart’s Political Contributions Made PublicBy: Shawn Hess - May 4, 2012
It’s no surprise that Walmart has been accused of bribing public officials, but some people are taking action to prevent it here in the United States. Bill de Blasio, a New York City advocate, launched a new website on Friday that will keep track of Walmart’s campaign contributions.
The site, fittingly called, “6 degrees of Walmartt’, was created to bring public awareness of their so called, secret political spending”. In late March, members of the Coalition for Accountability in Political Spending (CAPS) rallied outside the Securities and Exchange Commission and eventually secured a meeting with officials to discuss a petition filed several months before to force Walmart to disclose all political spending.
Bill de Blasio, a founding member of CAPS commented:
“The S.E.C. can actually do something about the fact that money is hijacking our political process. It can force publicly traded corporations to disclose their political spending—but has so far refused to use that power,”
“We can’t wait months and years for action. We’ll keep coming back to the S.E.C.’s doorstep and ratcheting up pressure until the S.E.C. does its job.”
“It’s been seven months since the S.E.C. was petitioned for a rule change to require disclosure of corporate political spending, yet no action has been taken,” said Kate CoyneMcCoy, President of the Coalition for Accountability in Political Spending. “Shareholders are deeply invested in this issue—it’s time for the S.E.C. to stop ignoring those voices.”
De Blasio reports that the new site is only partially about keeping Walmart’s political bribery in check, but it is also about changing insular companies that refuse to change their ways. He believes the site can help communities that don’t want Walmart moving in, help resist their efforts.
De Blasio comments:
“Another part is empowering communities around the country hoping to keep Walmart out. You have city council boards everywhere who have decisions about whether to open a door to Walmart. Campaigns in each city have resonance and support each other.”
It sounds like a step in the right direction. The public is entitled to know how public corporations are spending their money. It’s is bad enough that large retailers are making it harder to compete in todays economy, they shouldn’t have a competitive advantage over politicians as well.