Walmart Family Gives Big to Super PACs

Walmart Family Gives Big to Super PACs

The Walton Family, the richest family in the country and owners of nearly half of all Walmart stock, is joining their fellow 1%ers with some super-sized super PAC spending. In the last quarter of 2011, Jim, Alice and Christy Walton made four contributions totaling $350,000 to super PACs backing Republican presidential candidates Mitt Romney[1] and Jon Huntsman.[2] The contributions were made public in reports filed with the Federal Elections Commission (FEC) in late January and broke down like this:

Date

Contributor

Super PAC Recipient

Amount

10/7/2011

Alice Walton

Restore Our Future, Inc
(Pro-Romney)

$100,000

10/7/2011

Jim Walton

Restore Our Future, Inc
(Pro-Romney)

$100,000

10/21/2011

Jim Walton

Our Destiny PAC
(Pro-Huntsman)

$100,000

11/2/2011

Christy Walton

Our Destiny PAC
(Pro-Huntsman)

$50,000

 

We’ve heard a lot about the corporations-are-people-too Supreme Court ruling on Citizens United in 2010 and newly emerging super PACs. The Center for Responsive Politics explains that a super PAC is a “political group that can raise unlimited amounts of money from any source as long as the donors are disclosed and the money is only spent on independent expenditures.”[3]

Pre-Citizens United, the Waltons were subject to limits on their contributions, although the family still managed to spend nearly $4.6 million on federal elections between 1990 and 2010 [link to our page on this]. The family has given overwhelmingly to Republicans and, through their foundation, has funded right-wing organizations like the Heritage Foundation and the Cato Institute. The removal of effective campaign finance limits offers the Waltons another way to exert influence in our democracy.

And, with Mitt Romney looking more and more likely to be the Republican nominee for President, what does that mean for the Waltons? It certainly won’t hurt that they were early “investors” in Romney. The Waltons are worth more than $93 billion—it may be the understatement of 2012 to say that the Walton family has the ability to spend much, much more.

P.S. – I guess the Waltons didn’t realize that Walmart itself was running for the GOP nomination! Check it out at Candidate Walmart.

 


[1] http://query.nictusa.com/cgi-bin/dcdev/forms/C00490045/763780/sa/ALL

[2] http://query.nictusa.com/cgi-bin/dcdev/forms/C00501098/761989/sa/11AI

[3] http://www.opensecrets.org/news/2011/05/citizens-united-decision-profoundly-affects-political-landscape.html

What do you think?