Walmart: Never lobbied against bribe law

April 26, 2012 at 9:30 AM

WASHINGTON, April 25 (UPI) -- A Walmart official denied that the company participated in lobbying effort regarding the U.S. Foreign Corrupt Practices Act.

Walmart is part of the Institute for Legal Reform, a group sponsored by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce that took a stand regarding the act.

However, Walmart Vice President of Corporate Communications David Tovar issued a statement saying: "Walmart has never lobbied on FCPA. Simply because Walmart is a member of an organization does not mean we agree with every position they take."

A source familiar with the institute told The Washington Post Walmart was "not particularly active" in its operations.

The FCPA, passed in 1977 in the wake of the Watergate scandal, bars U.S. companies from using bribery overseas. The U.S. Justice Department is investigating allegations Walmart paid more than $24 million in Mexico to get construction permits for its stores.

Thomas D. Hyde, who resigned as Walmart's corporate secretary and chief ethics officer in 2010, sat on the institute's board from 2003-10. The New York Times, which broke the story of the alleged bribery, said Hyde was allegedly involved in shutting down an internal investigation into the bribery allegations.

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