Paul Holmes 25 Apr 2012 // 9:00PM GMT
A couple of days ago, I was inclined to cut Wal-Mart’s PR department some slack, because most of the folks leading the department were not around when the original decision to cover-up corruption in the company’s Mexican operations was made. It’s getting harder and harder to make excuses for those people though, in light of the most recent revelations. In the company’s response to the allegations, Wal-Mart issued a statement that began: “We take compliance with the US Foreign Corrupt Practices Act very seriously and are committed to having a strong and effective global anti-corruption program in every country in which we operate.” Later, in a revised statement, the company insisted that “"Walmart has been working diligently on US Foreign Corrupt Practices Act compliance.” It is now clear that neither statement was true—unless by taking compliance seriously you mean lobbying to undermine compliance laws. Because if this Washington Post story is accurate, Wal-Mart was doing the very opposite of “working diligently on… compliance.” It was in reality supporting an effort working diligently to eviscerate the very laws it was breaking. And not six years ago, but six months ago. Surely someone in Wal-Mart’s PR department had to know how completely dishonest those statements were.