June 15, 2012
Stephanie Harnett, Wal-Mart's "reporter" spy

When Lobbying Firms Are Caught Using Dirty Tricks And Lies, They Always Throw Their Own Employees Under The Bus

Yesterday, Republic Report’s Zaid Jilani was the first to report that Wal-Mart’s public relations and lobbying firm in Los Angeles, Mercury Public Affairs, was caught sending an employee to an event posing as a student reporter. The Mercury staffer, Stephanie Harnett, told warehouse workers protesting Wal-Mart’s labor practices that she was “Zoe Mitchell,” a USC student. She appeared be gathering information from the workers that could be used against them in their struggle against Wal-Mart, which is notorious for its poor labor standards.

A disclosure filed with the city of Los Angeles ethics office shows that Wal-Mart paid Mercury $60,000 in …

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May 2, 2012

Did Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp Use The Chamber Of Commerce To Lobby Against The Foreign Corrupt Practices Act?

Rupert Murdoch is “not a fit person” to run an international company, according to a report by a British parliamentary committee looking into phone hacking and other alleged abuses at News Corp. Critics have targeted British politicians including Prime Minster David Cameron for their ties to News Corp and its executives.

But News Corp’s political and legal problems go beyond the Union Jack’s reach. Here, in the United States, Rupert Murdoch’s conglomerate owns Fox News and the Wall Street Journal and is a big player in the Washington influence business. The corporation’s political action committee and employees are big donors …

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April 30, 2012

Beyond Wal-Mart: Five Other Corporations That Bribed Officials Then Lobbied Against Anti-Bribery Laws

Imagine if the next time you were caught speeding, you decided to finance an elaborate lobbying operation to change the speed limit and weaken laws against driving too fast on public roads. You probably find that to be a silly hypothetical, but for some big corporations it’s standard operating procedure.

All eyes are on Wal-Mart after it was exposed that its Mexican subsidiary spent at least $24 million bribing Mexican officials while its parent company moved to cover it all up. Soon after this happened, powerful corporate front groups like the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the Retail Industry Leaders …

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April 23, 2012
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After Its Subsidiary Bribed Mexican Officials, Wal-Mart Lobbies To Weaken Anti-Bribery Laws

A blockbuster New York Times story published this weekend details how the Mexican subsidiary of retail giant Wal-Mart paid $24 million in bribes to Mexican officials — and subsequently top Wal-Mart officials allegedly decided to cover up these offenses.

The details of Wal-Mart’s complicity in bribery are shocking, but there is one important element that the Times did not report.

While Wal-Mart’s largest subsidiary spent millions of dollars systematically bribing Mexican officials, the company back home has been working, through big business groups like the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, to weaken the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA), which renders it illegal for corporations …

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