Nine Ways Walmart’s Ruling Family Is Funding a Far-Right Agenda

The list Buzzfeed doesn’t want you to see
We originally posted this story on Buzzfeed, but without notifying us they took it down yesterday, claiming it was a “personal attack.” We don’t think that sharing factual information about the Waltons’ agenda is a personal attack – it’s just the truth that people deserve to know.

 

A brief guide to the political activities of the Walton family, the majority owners of Walmart. After all, they have enough money to fill a large backyard pool with solid gold.

They’re ruining public schools.

Since 2005, the family has dropped over $1 billion[1] to destroy public schools and treat K-12 education like venture capitalism. They’ve given to myriad voucher, charter school, and corporate education reform advocacy organizations, including the Milton Friedman Foundation for Educational Choice;  union-buster Stand for Children; and Michelle Rhee’s pro-privatization, pro-high stakes testing organization, Students First. Basically, they’ve appointed themselves to make decisions about education because they are rich as hell. Never mind that their pro-privatization approach doesn’t work, and never mind that ending poverty—like maybe among Walmart’s 1.4 million low-wage workers?—would do more than anything else to make kids’ lives and school outcomes better. Plus? Several groups they’ve doled out money to are plagued with scandal.

 

They love haters.

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The Waltons use their billions to fund haters like Jason Rapert – the Arkansas legislator who opposes gay adoption, wants to mandate vaginal probes for women seeking an abortion, and still suggests that President Obama was born in Kenya. Rapert’s no anomaly. From 1990 to 2012, 84% of Walton family spending on Congressional races went to candidates with a ZERO (out of 100) rating on women’s issues from the American Association of University Women.

In 2012, Jim Walton contributed $500 to the re-election campaign of Loy Mauch, an Arkansas state legislator who has called the Confederate flag a “symbol of Jesus Christ” and acknowledged membership in the “neo-confederate” secessionist group known as League of the South. It wasn’t until Mauch’s views and Walton’s contribution made headlines that Jim Walton asked that the contribution be returned.

 

They helped create the shutdown.

Since the 2004 election cycle, Walmart has given over $1.5 million to the Republican State Leadership Committee, the group that helped the GOP secure control over the redistricting process before the 2012 elections. That year, Republicans took 54% of House seats despite winning only 45% of the popular vote, enabling them to grind the government to a halt, even without the support of most Americans.

 

They contributed to the rise of Scott Walker and his cronies in Wisconsin.

From 2009-2010, the election cycle that brought Republicans to power in Wisconsin, Alice Walton was the top individual donor to Wisconsin legislators according to WisconsinWatch.org. Alice and five other Waltons were among the top fifteen political donors in Wisconsin legislative races during that election cycle. Since 2010, the Waltons have given $55,000 to Scott Walker, according to Wisconsin Democracy Campaign. The legislative victories they contributed to, combined with the family foundation’s multi-million dollar efforts to fund experiments in school choice in the state, serve as a multi-pronged approach to further their conservative agenda.

 

They tried to prevent gay families from adopting.

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Walmart heir and board member Jim Walton gave $75,000 to Arkansas’s Family Council Action Committee in 2008. At the time, the group was backing a ballot initiative that would prevent gay and lesbian families from serving as adoptive or foster families. Jim Walton’s contribution was equal to 55% of the group’s political spending that year. The measure passed, but the Arkansas Supreme Court struck it down last year.

 

They push their right-wing vision through ALEC.

(With apologies to Alec Baldwin) The American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) is infamous for promoting legislation that advances a conservative ideological agenda and benefits its members at the expense of everyone else. The organization developed and promoted anti-union legislation in Wisconsin and Ohio, as well as Arizona’s anti-immigrant SB 1070. It has also been an ardent supporter of the privatization of education, voter-ID laws–which distort our democracy by making it harder for low-income people and people of color to vote–and is becoming increasingly known for having developed the “Stand Your Ground” law that became notorious following the killing of Trayvon Martin. Walmart and the Walton Family Foundation were listed side by side as chairman-level sponsors of the conservative group’s annual meeting in August 2011. Following public pressure last spring, Walmart withdrew from the controversial organization, but the Walton Family Foundation has yet to publicly sever ties with ALEC.

 

They spend their money on the NRA’s top politicians.

Walmart is nation’s largest seller of guns and ammunition. Between the 2010 and 2012 federal election cycles, Walmart’s PAC gave nearly $1 million to candidates endorsed by the NRA. The Waltons gave another half a million to NRA-endorsed federal politicians over that time period, including super PAC funds. In fact, among politicians with 2012 grades from the NRA, 84% of the Waltons’ 2010-2012 cycle contributions went to candidates with scores between A+ and A-.

 

They make super contributions to super PACs.

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The Waltons gave almost $900,000 to super PACs in the 2012 cycle. Of that, $400,000 went to Restore Our Future, the super PAC associated with Mitt Romney. As of last June, there were only 356 donors—including Jim and Alice Walton—who had given over $100,000 to super PACs…because most of us don’t have that kind of money to spend on our personal agendas.

 

They lobbied to avoid paying their fair share.

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During George W. Bush’s presidency, the Waltons and a host of other wealthy families worked to repeal the estate tax and save a ton on taxes. They hired a lobbyist and contributed heavily to politicians who were on their side, in order to save a fortune from beyond the grave. As a recent feature in Bloomberg confirmed, the Waltons continue to use creative mechanisms to skip out on their bill from American taxpayers.


[1] Based on: 1) Reports of grant funding in 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, and 2012 on the Walton Family Foundation website (and archived versions of the website from the Internet Archive, http://www.archive.org), and 2) A review of donations to candidates for school board positions, education PACs, and charter school ballot initiatives, obtained from campaign finance databases in the following states: California, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Michigan, Missouri, New Jersey, Virginia, Washington, and Wisconsin.

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