Los Angeles Mayoral Candidates Pledge to Reject Walmart Campaign Money
Posted on June 30, 2012 by jway
On Thursday, three prominent mayoral candidates in Los Angeles announced that they would not accept campaign contributions from Walmart.
Los Angeles City Controller Wendy Gruel, and City Councilmembers Eric Garcetti and Jan Perry made the pledge after mounting calls from LA residents, community groups, labor leaders and elected officials challenged candidates seeking the city’s highest administrative office to give back Walmart money and to refuse future contributions.
Roughly two weeks ago, Congressperson Judy Chu (D-El Monte) called on elected officials in Los Angeles to return and reject Walmart money, which echoed earlier calls made by Maria Elena Durazo, executive secretary-treasurer of the Los Angeles County Federation of Labor.
Garcetti, Gruel and Perry’s decision to reject Walmart dollars is part of a growing phenomenon. Political leaders increasingly seek to disassociate themselves from the company. In September 2010, State Senate democrats in New York returned $15,000 in Walmart campaign contributions. And in May of this year, the Democratic National Convention returned $50,000 worth of gift cards donated by Walmart.
These developments are particularly relevant as Walmart struggles to overcome negative public perception in the wake of the Walmart alleged bribery and cover-up scandal. This case has drawn attention to the company’s pattern of “legal bribery” – that is, the millions of dollars Walmart pours into city, state and federal elections, PACs and conservative think tanks each election cycle.
According to data compiled by the Center for Responsive politics, Walmart and the Walton Family (heirs to Walmart founder Sam Walton’s fortune) contributed more than $11 million dollars to congressional and presidential candidates and PACs in the 2010 cycle alone. And in 2011, Walmart spent $7.6 million lobbying the federal government. Perhaps predictably, most of the firms and lobbyists were devoted to the issue of taxation.
The decision by Los Angeles candidates to reject Walmart’s influence came just two days before what is likely to be the largest Walmart protest in U.S. history. The “march against low wage jobs” will be held today, Saturday, June 30, in Los Angeles Historic Park. 10,000 marchers will attend the rally, set to take place on the corners of Caesar Chavez Boulevard and Broadway.
This post was written by Kurt Scott.