Public Advocate and mayoral hopeful Bill de Blasio has gotten some headlines recently about his campaign against car companies that do business with Iran.
In March, he created the website IranWatchList.com, designed to target companies that work with Iran and in some cases allegedly sell directly to Iran’s military. We noted at the time that his involvement in the foreign policy matter was a likely appeal to Jewish voters as he preps for the 2013 mayoral race.
Well today, de Blasio is out with another website that it about another fairly not-local issue: Wal-Mart and its covert political spending.
This morning, the public advocate’s office announced the creation of the website 6DegreesofWalmart.com, which tracks Wal-Mart’s support of political causes through third-party trade organizations like the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the American Legislative Exchange Council. Wal-Mart, de Blasio’s press release says, uses loopholes created by a Supreme Court ruling that allows the company to avoid disclosing spending for controversial causes, such as “Stand Your Ground” laws. The site, he said, allows consumers to directly pressure Wal-Mart to back a shareholder resolution on transparency, which the company has opposed thus far.
The site provides information on the company’s record of spending related to the environment, immigration, workers’ rights, and several other areas.
The creation of the site comes on the heels of the New York Times exposing a massive bribery scandal last month in Wal-Mart’s company based in Mexico.
To be fair, it is somewhat of a local issue since Wal-Mart has long been campaigning to open an outlet in the city, and most of the Democratic folks hoping to replace Mayor Bloomberg — who said that government should basically stay out of Wal-Mart’s way — have spoken out very strongly against the corporation.
In the press release sent out today, de Blasio says: “When a company that bribes its way into communities and breaks federal laws won’t come clean about its political spending, it should set off alarms. Walmart has its fingerprints all over laws weakening gun control, environmental protections and worker rights,” adding, “It’s time to shine a spotlight on Walmart’s use of third party groups to mask its political agenda from shareholders and the public.”
We reached out to Wal-Mart today and will update if we hear back.
This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on May 4, 2012