New York Magazine has put together a nice roundup of bribes donations Walmart has made around the city, as it attempts to cobble support together for its push to have a Brooklyn location (presumably, the Gateway Shopping Center in East New York). The big-box retailer has faced no shortage of opposition from local pols, labor advocates and small business lobbyists – which it appears it’s attempting to fend off by purchasing some goodwill.
The magazine says Walmart has given $13 million in charitable giving in New York since 2007, including $4 million towards a pet project of City Council Speaker Christine Quinn, and $150,000 to one of Marty Markowitz’s summer concert series.
The donations are already having an effect. Markowitz, for example, went from stating “strong opposition” to a Brooklyn Walmart in 2009 – citing their “questionable labor practices” – to saying he is not opposed to a Walmart in 2011.
New York Magazine also lists donations of $812,500 for an experimental program serving at-risk middle schoolers; $382,879 for the Food Bank for New York City; and $100,000 for restoring 25 acres of tidal wetlands in Jamaica Bay.
There’s no doubt that any number of these programs need the funding and are to the public’s betterment. But, regardless of whether you’re for or against Walmart, is it right that they can sway political support by contributing to politicians’ pet programs?