The Waltons Spread the Money Around

The New York Times has what looks like (it's hard to tell on the computer) yet another front-pager on Wal-Mart. It's about the Walton Family Foundation spreading its largesse to institutions whose members write lovesongs to Wal-Mart. Here's an example:
The American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research, for example, has received more than $100,000 from the foundation in the last three years, a fraction of the more than $24 million it raised in 2004 alone. Richard Vedder, a visiting scholar at the institute, wrote an opinion article for The Washington Times last month, extolling Wal-Mart’s benefits to the American economy. “There is enormous economic evidence that Wal-Mart has helped poor and middle-class consumers, in fact more than anyone else,” Mr. Vedder wrote in the article, which prominently identified his ties to institute. But neither Mr. Vedder nor the newspaper mentioned American Enterprise Institute’s financial links to the Waltons. Mr. Vedder, a professor at Ohio University, said he might have disclosed the relationship had the American Enterprise Institute told him of it. “I always assumed that A.E.I. had no relationship or a modest, distant relationship with the company,” said Mr. Vedder, who has written a forthcoming book about the company. The book, he said in an interview yesterday, would eventually contain a disclosure about the Walton donations to the institute.
Gee, I wonder if that book would have contained that disclosure if the Times didn't call you? On one level, I'm actually sympathetic to the position of this guy at NRO's The Corner who calls this a "phony controversy." Being conservative can be a very well-paying job. Alert the media. However, you have to remember that the whole Wal-Mart/Edelman line against unions and their allies is that they are "Paid Critics." Take an iota of union money and everything you write or say is allegedly suspect. I suspect the shoe doesn't feel so good when it's on the other foot.

4 Responses to “The Waltons Spread the Money Around”

  1. Jonathan Rees says:

    Hey all,

    It seems Jeff and I were working on the same story at the same time. Normally, I’d take mine down (particularly as it’s hard to compete with the Nudge Nudge” sketch), but as we both seem to be taking this in different directions I’m going to leave this up as posted if it’s alright with everybody.

  2. Jeff Hess says:

    Shalom Jonathan,

    Great minds do think alike and there’s plenty of meat in this story for everyone. Hey, maybe Robert, Peter and Perry will take a turn at it as well.

    B’shalom,

    Jeff

  3. silence says:

    FWIW, this wasn’t front-page in the print edition; it was at the front of the business section.

  4. Kelli says:

    Hopefully with the Walton’s, you know the saying the bigger they are the harder they fall. One day the company will blow up in their faces because of the greed they accumulate.  The poor hourly employees who can’t make ends meet to support their families, that is who the Walton’s should be helping out, or at least raise pay rates for employees. The walton’s are like a big government trying to keep the little guy little.

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