Wal-Mart Accused of Using Charity to Sway Potential Cities
A group of community and labor organizations is accusing Wal-Mart of inappropriately using the nonprofit Wal-Mart Foundation to help reduce local opposition to its expansion efforts in some urban areas like Washington, Boston, Los Angeles and New York.
The group argued in a complaint with the Internal Revenue Service dated Monday that the Wal-Mart Foundation violated terms of its tax-exempt status by targeting millions of dollars in donations that would directly benefit the retailer.
The Wal-Mart Foundation’s contributions in some cities rose steadily as Wal-Mart tried to curry local support and gain access in those markets, according to the complaint. The foundation donated just over $200,000 to organizations in Los Angeles in 2008 and 2009, the complaint said, but raised that amount to $1.4 million in 2011, just as plans to open a store were getting underway. In 2013, the year that store opened, donations dropped to about $230,000.