Report: Walmart Lobbied Aggressively Against Anti-Bribery Laws They May Have Violated

As every action Walmart has taken over the last few years is being picked apart in the aftermath of the New York Times story that alleges they used bribes to expand in Mexico and then covered up those bribes, lots of little interesting side stories are popping up. For example, a new report says Walmart was involved in lobbying aggressively against the very anti-bribery laws they are being investigated for violating.

The Washington Post says Walmart “has participated in an aggressive and high-priced lobbying campaign to amend the long-standing U.S. anti-bribery law that the company might have violated.”

This battle was going down at a little-known but rich arm of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, and focused on how federal authorities enforce the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act. A top executive of Walmart has been on the board of directors at this particular arm for over 10 years.

Over the last two years, the push to change things had picked up, with the help of large companies and trade groups like the Retail Industry Leaders Association. And guess what? A top Walmart executive serves as the director there. Add in a few high-powered lobbyists, and you’ve got a game plan.

There’s no direct evidence that says Walmart was pushing to change how the law was enforced because of what was allegedly going down in Mexico, but the timing would seem to be a bit coincidental. Just some food for thought.

Wal-Mart took part in lobbying campaign to amend anti-bribery law [Washington Post]

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  1. Buckus says:

    It’s not what you know, it’s what you can prove…

  2. Blueskylaw says:

    You don’t get to be this big by playing by the rules (ask any top politician), just like Goldman Sachs, they have their tentacles into all aspects of the political and lawmaking process and I would actually be shocked if they didn’t hold top level executive meetings where nothing was recorded or written down that might later serve as evidence against them.

    • The Twilight Clone says:

      (with rising intonation as if asking a question)

      …evidence against them…?…that who would prosecute…?

      (considering your comment that they have their tentacles in all aspects of policy.)

      • Blueskylaw says:

        I have a friend who used to be a lobbyist for the meat
        industry and you should hear how policy is really made.

        Like I said, this stuff goes on until someone gets caught
        in a scandal, that’s when the evidence is usually produced.

  3. Coffee says:

    This isn’t surprising, and I’m not sure how outside the norm this kind thing is. Warran Buffet, for example, is pro progressive taxation, but that didn’t stop his company from lobbying to get tax breaks for corporate jets because it happens to do a lot of business in that sector. These companies will always lobby for laws that promote their own self-interest, and Walmart is no different.

  4. Gman says:

    Nope. Nobody knew what was going on in Mexico. Nobody. This is just a coincidence.

  5. Loias supports harsher punishments against corporations says:

    If money can’t solve the problem, just do it anyway. Money will solve the consequences.

  6. Cat says:

    “Food for Thought”

    Thanks for that. They took away our lunch break here.

  7. CommonSense(ಠ_ಠ) says:

    In mexico it is not called a “bribe”. It is called paying normal fees for the countries government, cartels, police, and politicians.
    What we consider a bribe in the US is not a “bribe” in another country.

    It is laughable that this is an issue as every US company in Mexico pays these “fees”. Every company in Mexico has to pay these “fees” no matter if what country they incorporate in.
    If you refuse to pay these “fees” in mexico you dont get to report people for forcing you to pay them, you just cannot do business in Mexico. It would be against treaties with Mexico for the US government to not allow US companies to do business in Mexico.

    • Marlin says:

      “Every company in Mexico has to pay these “fees”…”

      [Citation Needed]

      • Loias supports harsher punishments against corporations says:

        Most of his entire comment needs a citation.

        • CommonSense(‡≤†_‡≤†) says:

          I believe I cited it accordingly. I told you who my sources are with no real names or company names.
          People are not going to tie their real names to this when they still have careers ahead of them and may still end up working in Mexico.

          • Loias supports harsher punishments against corporations says:

            Hearing 2nd hand knowledge is, I suppose, a source of information.

            But it is not a valid one for purposes of finding factual information.

            • CommonSense(‡≤†_‡≤†) says:

              Yes it is because everything I wrote is a fact.
              You can verify it yourself if you ask anyone that has worked in Mexico for a US company.

      • CommonSense(‡≤†_‡≤†) says:

        Good luck finding it in writing anywhere.
        Ask any manager that has worked for a US company in Mexico.
        Hell just ask any employee that used to work in a company in Mexico.
        I work in Texas, I have cowokers who worked in management at US companies in Mexico for automotive industry. Also I have serveral employees that used to live in Mexico and work in US companies there.

        That is just he way it is and anyone that has ever lived, worked, or owned a business in Mexico knows this.
        You cant pretend this is not how it is if you want.

        • ARP says:

          The FCPA says otherwise. Doesn’t matter if that’s how business is informally done in other countries. If you’re a US based country, you can’t do it.

          • CommonSense(‡≤†_‡≤†) says:

            In Mexico that is not the informal way to do business that is the formal required way to do business in Mexico or you will be shut down.
            US law against what they consider a “bribe” then goes against treaties with Mexico like NAFTA allowing US companies to do business there.

            • StarKillerX says:

              And don’t forget that the US government itself, brides….. oops I mean awards aid, to various countries so they allow the US to do what it wants.

              How often have we heard of the US threatening to withhold $X billion in aid to Pakistan if they don’t allow the US to do y?

    • Alaric says:

      Even if every single company operating in Mexico had to pay bribes, it wouldn’t excuse Walmart’s alleged actions. If the conditions in a country are so bad that you cannot do business there without violating the FCPA then you, as an American company, cannot do business there.

  8. CommonSense(ಠ_ಠ) says:

    If the US wants to stop what they consider as “bribes” in Mexico they have to oust the government and force our laws on them.
    If they want to go after walmart they have to go after every US company operating in Mexico as they all HAVE to pay the fees/bribes to cartels, government, police, etc.
    They do this by paying cash to “repair” contractors. You would be suprised at how high the repair bills are for companies in mexico and how many times their machines seem to break down. Their fees/bribes are on their books as repair bills.
    If they dont pay this then cartels and even local police will blockaid their stores, rob their delivery trucks, threaten their employees and customers.

  9. crispyduck13 says:

    I’m shocked! Shocked I tell you!

  10. Harry Greek says:

    See, job creators ARE creating jobs:
    – law enforcement
    – investigators
    – OT for court clerks
    – reporters
    – food cart guy outside court house who sells 2 day old sandwiches at insane prices,… WHAT, $6.99 for an egg salad baguette sandwich?!

  11. Hartwig says:

    Is any of this shocking. Walmart for years has been forcing their stores into communities that don’t want them. I wouldn’t be surprised to hear there was bribery occurring in the US as well.

  12. megan9039 says:

    Does this really surprise anyone? My hubby worked for them until he filed a hostile work complaint. Then for some reason they said he performance started to go down. Guess what happened next – 45 days later he was terminated. – Coincidence? I think not.. We can’t prove anything either, but we know the truth. They suck the life out of you.

    • Loias supports harsher punishments against corporations says:

      Did you sue? Seems a pretty good case there.

      • StarKillerX says:

        Well there could be a good case to the issue that if you thought your work environment was hostile your performance would likely decrease no matter if the environment was hostile or not.

        If you hate your job and have no motivation to be there you can only give it your all for so long.

        Not saying it was, or wasn’t the case in this case above, simply that things aren’t often as clear cut as most people think.

  13. Bort says:

    the left hand may not have known what the right hand was doing, but it makes sense both were acting to the same goal due to the company’s apparent ethics

  14. IntheKnow says:

    Way of doing business in Mexico. So what. Non-story.

  15. Carlos Spicy Weiner says:

    We have the “government” money can buy, and corporations are always shopping. Lobbying should be a synonym for bribery

  16. suez says:

    So they’re basically bribing Congress in order to get out of bribing charges. You gotta love how this country works now. And by love I mean loathe.

    • StarKillerX says:

      If they were passing enough brides around in DC they wouldn’t have to worry about charges, but I think Washington is bent out of shape because they feel that money could have been better used contributing to their PACs or paying the politicians insane amounts for speaking at luncheons and dinners.

  17. oldwiz65 says:

    Looks like the didn’t pay enough to the legislature to block the laws. They should have spent more money on bribery then and now they’d be fine.

  18. EllenRose says:

    When in Rome, do as the Romans do. When in Mexico …

  19. coold8 says:

    I am having a lot of trouble understanding why bribing people in countries, where nothing will get done if no bribes are made is illegal in the first place. It is basically paying a tax.

  20. Promethean Sky says:

    Here’s what I don’t get. So many people have talked about how they don’t care what they did in Mexico, because it’s not illegal there. I see that point. But issuing a coverup sure as hell is illegal here.