Walmart’s Political Action Committee made a donation to Texas Governor Greg Abbott’s re-election campaign last month, as he prepared to fight a federal vaccine mandate for Covid-19, according to a new federal filing.
The donation came as the retail industry voiced concerns about mandate burdening operations as the holiday shopping season approaches and America faces a labor shortage.
The contribution also came after Abbott, a Republican who will be elected next year, signed a law effectively banning abortions after six weeks of pregnancy, as well as legislation that includes voting restrictions.
Arkansas-based Walmart made a $10,000 donation, dated September 29, through “PAC for Sustainable Government,” according to an FEC filing.
The retailer’s massive donation to Abbott was the largest contribution it made to any state or federal elected official that month. Walmart also contributed $5,000 to Texas Governor Dan Patrick, who is also a Republican.
Records show that Walmart has contributed to Abbott and Patrick’s campaigns in the past. The company also contributed to the Democrats.
“As a company that operates in all 50 states, it is essential for us to engage political leaders from both parties across a broad range of policy issues. Our company and PAC engage in a two-party fashion that relies on a range of issues that affect our partners, clients and shareholders,” a representative said. Walmart for CNBC.
“We have never been and will never be a contributor to a single issue, and we recognize that sometimes elected officials will support legislation that we do not support or condone with. However, it is important that we continue to engage in the political process and make known perspectives to policy makers and other stakeholders” .
President Joe Biden announced in September that his administration would implement a mandate for a Covid vaccine that would cover private companies with 100 or more workers. It will include about two-thirds of the workforce in the private sector. The administration is expected to publish the rules soon.
Abbott has led Republican efforts to fight the Covid vaccine mandate. Biden’s announcement in early September was criticized. The governor then signed an executive order this month banning such authorizations, including requirements for businesses in the Lone Star State.
Walmart has demanded that its employees and management-level employees be vaccinated against Covid by October 4. The mandate applies to all employees who work in her home office, as well as market employees, regional and department employees who work in several services. It does not apply to employees who work in one place, such as a store or warehouse.
National Retail Federation, from Of which Walmart is a member, management has pushed to give companies more time to comply with vaccine rules. The Retail Industry Leaders Association has called the standard a “tremendous task.”
Abbott has also faced criticism over two other bills. Prior to Walmart’s contribution, Abbott signed laws intended to restrict abortion and suffrage access.
The Texas abortion law, officially known as SB 8, allows private citizens to sue people who perform abortions in the state. It also gives ordinary citizens the opportunity to sue anyone who assists people receiving an abortion. Biden’s Justice Department sued the state of Texas over the law after the US Supreme Court allowed it to go into effect last month.
Other companies, including Texas-based AT&T, have faced criticism for their donation to state lawmakers who have supported voting and abortion laws. The American Super Democratic Bridge PAC and the Anti-Trump Super PAC Lincoln Project Among AT&T critics.
Walmart has previously come under scrutiny for its past donations to lawmakers who voted against ratifying the 2020 election after deadly riots on Capitol Hill on January 6.
The retail giant gave more than $200,000 to a group of Republican lawmakers who contested the election results, according to data compiled by CNN. The company later said that “Walmart’s Political Action Committee is indefinitely suspending contributions for members of Congress who voted against the legal endorsement of state Electoral College votes.”
The Associated Press reported that since the commitment, Walmart is among the group of PACs that have continued to award Republican-led House and Senate committees. These political organizations benefit from Republicans who either opposed or did not contest the results of the 2020 election.