The Green Zone
Labor Groups File Complaint Against Wal-Mart
By Matthew Mosk
The political action committee run by Wal-Mart has split its $1 million in donations roughly evenly between Democrats and Republicans during this year's campaign cycle, a marked shift from four years ago when more than $3 of every $4 dollars the PAC gave went to Republicans.
But claims that the massive retailer is using more discrete methods to champion Republican candidates this year have led to a complaint with the Federal Election Commission.
WakeUpWalMart.com, American Rights at Work, Change to Win, and the AFL-CIO jointly filed a complaint with the FEC this morning alleging that Wal-Mart engaged in unlawful federal election activity by using mandatory meetings to discuss political issues and candidates.
"Wal-Mart may be the world's largest retailer, and America's number one private employer, but it is not above the law," said Meghan Scott, spokesperson for WakeUpWalMart.com. "Wal-Mart has intimidated its workers and attempted to scare them into voting against a particular party and candidate, and from what workers tell us, these meetings haven't stopped. This behavior proves that Wal-Mart is willing to go to any lengths to put profits ahead of its workers."
Scott said in a prepared release that the meetings, which were first reported by the Wall Street Journal, left many Wal-Mart workers feeling bullied and intimidated.
Wal-Mart officials did not immediately return a call to its corporate offices seeking comment. Wal-Mart spokesman David Tovar told the Journal that the company's policies are clear and that if anyone representing the company told associates how to vote, they were "wrong and acting without approval."
"We welcome the FEC looking into this, because we are confident they will find what we have known all along, that we did nothing wrong," Mr. Tovar said.
Posted at 12:30 PM ET on Aug 14, 2008
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