Wal-Mart's Rising Political Payouts

The No. 1 retailer has ramped up political contributionsespecially at state and local levels

California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger has legions of close friends, collected over decades as a Hollywood box office draw and rising political star. Yet few may consider him as dear as Wal-Mart Stores (WMT), which gave the Republican governor $22,300 on May 15, and earlier contributed $200,000 for initiatives Schwarzenegger had supported. In addition, the company has given $300,000 to the state GOP and additional funds to local politicians, making California the biggest recipient of Wal-Mart's political largesse.

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