Wal-Mart Bought That

Center for American Progress to be feted by corporate lobbyists, anti-union powerhouse

John Podesta

All week in Charlotte, as the Democratic National Convention unfolds at the Time Warner Cable Arena, the major donors to the left’s secretly funded outside groups will be hosting parties to solicit new supporters for their undisclosed networks.

Among the most notable of these gatherings will be a party thrown by Wal-Mart for the Center for American Progress (CAP), the liberal think-tank that has become an incubator for administration policy, including the green-energy loans that have been badly tarnished by allegations of cronyism and corruption.

The party, first reported by Politico, will reunite Center for American Progress chairman John Podesta with his brother Tony Podesta, whose Podesta Group lobby shop is cohosting the party, and which also has a lengthy roster of controversial corporate clients including bailed out Bank of America and GE, which paid no federal taxes in 2010. John Podesta helped found the lobbying group with his brother before starting the Center for American Progress with undisclosed funds.

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While CAP does not disclose its donors, Wal-Mart has disclosed giving between $500,000 and $1 million to the group over the last decade.

CAP pointedly has avoided criticism of Wal-Mart despite the company’s anti-union activism, focusing its attacks on companies such as Koch Industries, which has thousands of union employees but has refused to donate funds to the Center for American Progress.

The Charlotte party will offer a chance for Tony Podesta’s clients to network with Center for American Progress "policy experts," and for companies like Wal-Mart to stay in the good graces of an influential organization with close ties to the Obama administration.