Paul Ryan working out…how to save the Waltons millions

On Saturday, presumptive Republican Presidential nominee Mitt Romney announced that Rep. Paul Ryan of Wisconsin would be his running mate. The Waltons’ support of Mitt Romney has been well noted, and it turns out the Waltons and Walmart have also shown an interest in Paul Ryan.

Ryan, a seven-term Congressman from Wisconsin’s first district, has made a name for himself in recent years with his budget proposal—the Roadmap for America’s Future—which would dramatically lower taxes on the rich and cut federal government spending on programs for low income families like food stamps, housing assistance, and Medicaid. But before all that, Walmart’s PAC made its first contribution to Paul Ryan in his initial campaign for Congress in 1998. And Walmart’s PAC has contributed to Ryan in every election since 2002. In all, Walmart’s PAC has given the presumptive Republican Vice Presidential nominee a total of $26,500 in his campaigns for Congress. And that doesn’t include the $7,000 Walmart has given Ryan’s leadership PAC, Prosperity PAC, over the years.

Walmart PAC contributions to Rep. Paul Ryan

Election Year

Contribution

1998

$1,500

2002

$5,000

2004

$5,000

2006

$3,000

2008

$3,000

2010

$6,000

2012

$3,000

TOTAL

$26,500

Source: Analysis of data from Open Secrets

The Waltons, who own half of Walmart, have likewise shown an interest in Ryan. Ryan’s campaign received $2,000 from Arkansans Jim and Lynne Walton during the 2010 cycle. The Waltons certainly stand to gain under Ryan’s budget proposal—it eliminates taxes on interest, capital gains, and dividends. The Waltons’ dividends from their stake in Walmart this year alone amount to an estimated $2.7 billion. Under Ryan’s budget, they’d avoid about $406 million in taxes right there.

These contributions to Ryan fit into a larger pattern of Walmart and the Waltons giving big to Republicans. From the 2000 election cycle through June 30, 2012, the Waltons and the Walmart PAC have spent over $15 million in federal elections. More than $11.3 million—seventy-five percent—has gone to GOP candidates and committees.

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