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BENTONVILLE, Ark. -- The National Legal and Policy Center (NLPC) said yesterday that the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission told it that Wal-Mart here would have to submit an NLPC-sponsored proposal that discloses its charitable donations to shareholders at its annual meeting in June, according to a published report.
According to the Falls Church, Va.-based NLPC, a self-described conservative "ethics group," the resolution, which Wal-Mart had appealed to the SEC to exclude, asks the megaretailer to disclose its charitable giving.
Wal-Mart asked for the resolution to be excluded on the grounds that the company already discloses its charitable donations on its Web site. "We feel on that basis that we've already substantially disclosed our policies and procedures," Wal-Mart spokesman John Simley told Reuters.
"Sometimes David beats Goliath," said NLPC president Peter Flaherty in a statement. "Wal-Mart should not have opposed our resolution to begin with. If the company were truly proud of its charitable giving, it would have welcomed it. Perhaps Wal-Mart doesn't want to disclose that it is now bankrolling a host of controversial groups and causes," among them gay rights and environmental initiatives.
Wal-Mart has apologized for performing "threat assessments" on those shareholder groups submitting proposals ahead of its June shareholders meeting, including the NLPC. The group said it has rejected an apology from Wal-Mart, instead requesting copies of any and all materials that the company may have amassed.