Fashion industry officials are opening their wallets wide to back their favorite candidates and parties leading up to November congressional and state elections, after which stricter rules for campaign contributions could likely be in place.
Among retailers heavily into the business of 2002 campaign giving is retail giant Wal-Mart Stores, which is demonstrating how it also dominates general merchandise, department and apparel specialty stores in amassing a political war chest.
Halfway through the two-year congressional-election cycle, the Bentonville-Ark.-based chain’s political action committee collected $630,272 in donations from Wal-Mart store managers, executives and workers, as well as others outside the company. Of that amount, Wal-Mart gave $589,480 to mostly Republican candidates and activities, according to year-end 2001 Federal Election Commission reports.
At this pace, Wal-Mart by the fall will likely outpace its $694,032 in contributions made during the 1999-2000 election cycle, which in turn surpassed the $159,575 given by the company from 1997-1998. The increase in political spending reflects “a growing realization in the last few years that Wal-Mart needed to be more politically active” and help like-minded candidates get elected, a company spokesman said.
“There are a rising number of issues at the local, state and federal level that affect…