Walmart Fought to Scale Back Anti-Bribery Law

Firm lobbied for changes to Foreign Corrupt Practices Act
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 25, 2012 6:42 AM CDT
Updated Apr 25, 2012 7:18 AM CDT
A woman walks past a Wal-Mart sign in Mexico City.   (Getty Images)

(Newser) – Walmart took part in an aggressive lobbying campaign to roll back the very same anti-bribery law it may be prosecuted under for alleged greasing palms in Mexico, the Washington Post finds. The Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, which bans American companies from bribing foreign officials, has been in place since 1977 and the Obama administration has stepped up enforcement. Walmart joined a campaign to clarify the law and change how it is enforced—which critics call an attempt to instead gut the law.

In a speech last month, Hillary Clinton said the administration has no intention of watering down the law. "We are unequivocally opposed to weakening the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act,” she said. “We don’t need to lower our standards. We need to work with other countries to raise theirs. I actually think a race to the bottom would probably disadvantage us." Analysts say that political support for changing the FCPA was already weak and the high-profile Walmart case has probably set back any move to reform it for years, the Wall Street Journal notes.

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