US defends Walmart lobbying

In this November 23, 2012 photo a protester, carrying an American flag with corporate logos, takes part in a demonstration against Walmart in Florida.  

Amid controversy over reports that Walmart spent nearly Rs. 125 crore for lobbying with legislators to get access to the Indian market, the U.S. has said the global retail giant did not violate any American law as far as the matter is concerned.

“On the U.S. side, I don’t have any reason to believe that we have a violation of U.S. law here. With regard to the Indian side, I’ll refer you to them,” State Department spokesperson Victoria Nuland said on Monday, categorically dismissing allegations by Indian opposition parties in this regard.

Ms. Nuland was responding to questions on charges by opposition parties in India that Walmart spent huge sums in four years in lobbying before the U.S. Congress, including on those related to enhanced market access for investment in India.

“We’ve seen these press reports. With regard to lobbying in the U.S., I think you know that the Lobby Disclosure Act of 1995 and the Honest Leadership and Open Government Act of 2007 requires lobbyists for any company or organisation to disclose its activities in a periodic report to the Congress,” she said.

“So the report which some of these allegations have cited is a regularly required report for the U.S. government as part of our open government transparency in governance requirements,” Ms. Nuland said.

Meanwhile, Walmart has also denied of being involved in any wrongdoing.

“These allegations are entirely false. In accordance with U.S. law, American companies are required to disclose issues and expenditures associated with lobbying on a quarterly basis. The expenditures are a compilation of expenses associated with U.S. federal lobbying contacts and include staffing cost, association dues and payments made to consultants, all in the U.S.,” a company spokesperson said in a statement.

The spokesperson said the company had “held discussions” with U.S officials about a range of “trade and investment issues” that impact its businesses in the U.S. and worldwide, and disclosed this in accordance with the law.

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Printable version | Apr 12, 2021 8:06:56 AM |

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