When we want that 20-lb bag of tortilla chips, the six-pack of garden gnomes or an oil drum full of potato salad, there's only gonna be one place we go to from now on. Here's why.
Wal-Mart, the world's largest retailer and owner of Sam's Club warehouse stores, gives more money to Republican candidates than any other company. Its top three managers, including Chief Executive Officer H. Lee Scott, donated the individual maximum $2,000 to President George W. Bush, and Jay Allen, vice president for corporate affairs, raised at least $100,000 to re-elect the president, earning him the Bush campaign's designation of "Pioneer."
Wal-Mart -- two-thirds of whose 3,580 stores are in the "red states" that voted for Bush in 2000 -- is backing White House policies on everything from trade to limiting overtime pay.
Costco CEO Jim Sinegal, 68, is a Democrat who says Bush's $1.7 trillion in tax cuts unfairly benefit the wealthy. He opposed the Iraq war and supports Senator John Kerry of Massachusetts for president. And he's the only chief executive of a company in the Standard & Poor's 500 Index to donate money to independent political groups formed to oust Bush, Internal Revenue Service records show.
"Wal-Mart is extremely strong in Republican strongholds; they are a red-state retailer," said Amy Bonkoski, an investment adviser at Cleveland-based National City Corp.'s private-client group, which manages about $26 billion, including Wal-Mart and Costco shares. "Costco is stronger in Democratic states. Costco is a friend to labor. Unions hate Wal-Mart."