Hiding Wal-Mart's Warts

"Wal-Mart's very success may be working against it," reports the Washington Post. "[T]he public tends to mistrust institutions that get too mighty." The world's largest retailer, with 4,300 stores and 1.3 million employees, Wal-Mart's woes include a lawsuit for Americans with Disabilities Act violations, federal raids netting some 200 illegal immigrant workers, and charges that employees are encouraged to rely on taxpayer-funded programs for health care. Wal-Mart's response? Run feel good TV ads and increase political donations to become the second-biggest donor in the 2004 election cycle, overwhelmingly to Republicans. "Our critics make an awful lot of noise, and we need to ensure that our side of the issues is heard as well," explained Wal-Mart spokesperson Mona Williams.