Edgard Garrido/Reuters - A shopper carts her purchases from a Wal-Mart store in Mexico City on Tuesday
Wal-Mart, the giant retailer now under fire over allegations of foreign bribery in Mexico, has participated in an aggressive and high-priced lobbying campaign to amend the long-standing U.S. anti-bribery law that the company might have violated.
The push to revisit how federal authorities enforce the statute has been centered at a little-known but well-funded arm of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce where a top executive of Wal-Mart has sat on the board of directors for nearly a decade.
The effort has intensified in the past two years, drawing on the backing of several large companies and trade groups such as the Retail Industry Leaders Association, where one of Wal-Martís top executives serves as a director. It also has involved high-powered lobbyists, including former attorney general Michael B. Mukasey.
The 1977 law, known as the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, prohibits U.S. companies from offering fees or gifts to foreign officials to advance corporate interests.