Wal-Mart faces a changed battlefield in Congress after years of favoring Republicans. But, Bloomberg reports, it has a strong ally in Sen. Blanche Lincoln and has also been passing money around in the Congressional Black Caucus to win supporters in its fight against organized labor.
In the Senate, Lincoln is considered Wal-Mart's strongest Democratic advocate. Over the last decade, she received almost $100,000 in campaign cash from Wal-Mart, its executives and the heirs of company founder Sam Walton, according to Federal Election Commission data. Lincoln has supported the company's efforts to suspend tariffs on imported goods sold at Wal-Mart's U.S. stores.
Wal-Mart is the ``largest employer in my home state,'' Lincoln said in a statement. ``I know they understand their responsibility as an industry leader to set a higher standard with regard to employee and customer benefits, corporate citizenship and community involvement.''
Wal-Mart's attempts to woo members of the Congressional Black Caucus include endowing a $1 million scholarship grant administered by the group. Last year, eight members of the caucus who received contributions from Wal-Mart voted against a measure that would have ended the Labor Department's policy of giving the company notice before starting any investigations of alleged wage-and-hour violations. The measure was defeated.