Several late-filing super PACs revealed their donors this week. Among them was the small but controversial Secure Arizona PAC out of Kansas City, MO. Secure Arizona has received contributions from four individuals this election cycle, totaling $145,000. One of those four donors is none other than Walmart board chair Rob Walton, who gave $10,000 to the super PAC on June 30, 2012. While Rob’s siblings have gotten into the super PAC game already this cycle, the contribution to Secure Arizona represents Rob Walton’s first such involvement.
What does Secure Arizona stand for? So far, the super PAC has spent $17,500 on television ads opposing Rep. Jeff Flake (R-AZ), who is running in the Republican primary for an Arizona Senate seat. The New Republic explains, “The ad, which makes the flimsy accusation that Flake voted against the conservative-beloved Keystone XL pipeline, is airing just a handful of times.”
The Keystone Pipeline is an odd cause for Rob Walton to take up, given the Waltons’ public image as supporters of conservation and sustainability. Rob Walton has prominent ties to environmental organizations. He is the chair of Conservation International’s Executive Committee, and he is a major donor and co-chair of the Board of Trustees for Sustainability at the Arizona State University Global Institute of Sustainability.
It’s important to take note when members of the 1%–like the Walton family—throw their fortunes into political races. For all that pundits have expected since the advent of super PACs, one thing has proven true: only a very small portion of the population makes big election contributions. According to the Atlantic, “.01 percent [of Americans] give more than $10,000 in any election cycle. And .000063 percent — 196 Americans — have given more than 80 percent of the super-PAC money spent in the presidential elections so far.” With one donation on one day, Rob Walton has taken a giant step toward joining both of those groups.