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Wal-Mart Gets Into the Election Game

By Kevin Robinson in News on Oct 27, 2010 2:00PM

Photo by cayusa.
Thanks to the magic of pop-up ads, Chicagoist discovered Wal-Mart's foray into electoral politics this morning. Walmart Community Votes "is dedicated to providing you with the resources, tools, and information to help you make that decision - in a non-partisan and objective format," by connecting users with information on where and how to vote, as well as links to who the elected officials in a given area are, and who the candidates in a given race are. The site isn't very profound as far as content goes - they've only offered printed responses to a questionnaire sent to the two major-party candidates in Illinois. What's more, it appears that only Mark Kirk filled out the questionnaire.

Having only Mark Kirk's responses listed shouldn't in itself be news; candidates often ignore requests for responses from political interest groups. But as Allison Kilkenny at Huffington Post points out, it appears that no Democrats answered the questionnaire. Again, it could be that Democrats have made a concerted and organized decision to reject Wal-Mart's entry into this year's midterm elections. But given the slanted nature of the questions ("Are you opposed to legislation that would take away an employee's right to a secret ballot election on deciding whether to join a labor union?" and "Will you vote to increase the global competitiveness of U.S. goods manufacturers, service providers and farmers by supporting reciprocal trade agreements?") and Wal-Mart's history of playing fast and loose with political activism, the utter dearth of Democratic responses on the site raises questions about the fairness of how the questionnaires were solicited.

We've asked the Giannoulias campaign, as well as Green Party candidate LeAlan Jones's campaign if the candidate had the opportunity to respond, and if he refused, why. We'll publish Giannoulias's and Jones's response if we hear back.