Retail giant Wal-Mart Stores Inc. has made its lobbying efforts for 2014 public on its investor website. The company said it spent $2.3 million on lobbying efforts at the state level with the largest expenditures in California ($319,000) and Maryland ($274,000). At home, Wal-Mart spent just $3,691 last year lobbying at the statehouse in Little Rock.
Wal-Mart said it reports required lobbying information according to the various states in which it’s active. The summary report includes the total annual expenses the retailer has reported in the states. Wal-Mart said it will update the report quarterly. The next update is slated for February.
Institutional shareholder Zevin Asset Management applauded Wal-Mart for disclosing the state-by-state report, saying it’s the first large company to do so in the U.S. Zevin has previously asked Wal-Mart for greater transparency around lobbying payments in shareholder proposals.
“Lobbying disclosure at the state level is very opaque and spotty. Better disclosure is needed from companies so shareholders can understand how companies are participating in the political process,” said Sonia Kowal, president of Zevin Asset Management. “We are pleased that Walmart has taken this large step forward – we hope that other companies will soon follow suit”
That said, Zevin management indicated they will file an updated shareholder proposal asking for additional Wal-Mart transparency around federal lobbying and third party payments to trade associations which are shielded from public view and often dwarf the amount of spending at the state level.
Link here for the state report from Wal-Mart.