Labor

Clinton Offshore Fundraising Effort Being Co-Hosted by Walmart Lobbyist

Clinton has tried to distance herself from the company since leaving its board.

Hillary Clinton's campaign is holding fundraisers in Mexico this Wednesday, just one day after the New Hampshire primary. Clinton is not attending the events, and offshore fundraising efforts aren't rare for presidential candidates, but the players involved have direct connections to Walmart, where Clinton served as board member from 1986-1992.

The events are being hosted by Clinton campaign treasurer Jose Villarreal, who has maintained close connections to Walmart and the Walton family for years. As the Huffington Post's Samantha Lachman detailed in 2015, "Villarreal has spent decades on the boards of companies dominated by the Waltons, who remain a target of choice for the progressives whom Clinton's 2016 campaign is trying to win over. He was the lead director at Walmart; a board member at First Solar, an energy company where the Waltons are the largest investors; and a board member at Teach for America, the KIPP Foundation and Leadership for Educational Equality, to which the Waltons also have strong ties."

One of the listed co-hosts is Ivan Zapien, who has been a Walmart lobbyist since 2009. Zapien moved to Mexico with the company last year. Before leaving, Zapien wrote a letter to the staff, "In my new job, I will lead federal and state government relations, sustainability, communications and the Walmart foundation in Mexico."

Clinton has tried to distance herself from her time on Walmart's board, as its history of anti-union activity is well-documented. In a blockbuster story from last fall, Bloomberg revealed that the company had spied on its workforce with help from Lockheed Martin and the FBI.

Michael Arria is an associate editor at AlterNet and AlterNet's labor editorFollow @MichaelArria on Twitter.

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