June is not starting out well for Walmart. At the start of the month, Walmart 1 Percent, a project of union-backed Making Change at Walmart, released a report with a title that packs a punch: “The Phony Philanthropy of the Walmart Heirs: How the Richest Family in America Uses Their Private Foundation to Mislead the Public and Increase Their Wealth.”
The report is claiming that the second generation of the Walton family, which owns approximately 50% of Walmart, have given a drop in the bucket of their billions to the family’s foundation. The report explains that whereas Bill Gates and Warren Buffett have given 36.2% and 26.9% of their respective wealth, the Walmart heirs have given in total only 0.04% of their wealth. Forbes provides a good summary of the report here.
Then yesterday, the New York City Council sent a letter to Walmart demanding that it stop making millions of dollars worth of contributions to New York City charities. The New York Post reports that the letter called the donations “dangerous dollars” and warned Walmart that the letter constituted a cease and desist demand. The City Council believes that the donations are being used to drum up support for Walmart’s plan to open a store in New York City. So far that goal has been thwarted.
But then again, it’s hard to feel bad for Walmart.