Wal-Mart for President?
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Just because Hillary Clinton is ignoring her Wal-Mart ties, that doesn't mean the rest of us should.
New footage from the Center for Public Integrity confirms what Hillary Clinton has conveniently omitted from her website and campaign speeches: she was on Wal-Mart's Board of Directors for six years, from 1986-1992.
It was during those six years that Clinton served with the notoriously anti-union Rose Law firm in Little Rock, defending Wal-Mart against workers who tried to unionize. It was also during those six years that Clinton served with fellow board member John Tate, whose favorite saying was: "Labor unions are nothing but blood-sucking parasites living off the productive labor of people who work for a living."
In this video, you can see Sam Walton, plain as the Wal-Mart logo's menacing yellow smile, as he presides over the grand re-opening of the company's original store in Rogers, Arkansas. Walton praises Clinton, "You're one of the finest lawyersâ€”legal personsâ€”that I've ever met or ever known. And without any question, youâ€™ve added more to our board than any person weâ€™ve ever had on that board.â€
Walton then proudly reminds us that both Hillary Clinton and her husband Bill (then governor of Arkansas) helped start the company's "Buy American" program. In case Clinton forgets to tell you, Wal-Mart touted Buy American with signs and advertisements claiming their clothes and other goods were "Made in the U.S.A."
Buy American was a horrendous lie. Not only did Wal-Mart continue to get clothes from Asian sweatshops, but they also became the nation's biggest importer of Chinese goods, forcing U.S. manufacturers out of business. Oh wait, maybe Buy American referred to clothing produced in New York's Chinatown, where in 1991 (during Clinton's Wal-Mart tenure), labor inspectors found 16- and 17-year-old illegal Chinese immigrants working without pay.
Now that this video is out, there's no way Clinton can deny being on Wal-Mart's payroll (the company gave her around $15,000 a year, $100,000 in Wal-Mart stock, and its lobbyists contributed tens of thousands to her presidential campaign). There's no way a champion of women's rights can deny being linked to a company that continues to defend itself against one major discriminatory suit after another. And there's no way a presidential candidate who is backed by a slew of unions can deny connections to anti-union fanatics like John "Blood-Sucking Parasites" Tate and a company that pays its employees salaries below the poverty line.
Unless of course Clinton omits it from her website, or the press inexplicably decides to leave it out of their otherwise exhaustive scrutiny of her career.
Back to the video... Sam Walton says, "But Hillary, I hope you can stay long enough to feast your eyes on this latest creation of Wal-Mart," to which Clinton jokes, "I want to shop, Sam!"
Clinton says this line from off-camera.
ZP Heller is the editorial director of Brave New Films. He has written for The American Prospect, AlterNet, The Philadelphia Inquirer, and The Huffington Post, covering everything from politics to pop culture.