Two House Democrats are again urging Wal-Mart Stores Inc. officials to answer questions about reported bribery in Mexico after obtaining hundreds of company documents supporting the allegations.
A letter from Reps. Elijah E. Cummings (Md.) and Henry A. Waxman (Calif.) also urges Wal-Mart CEO Michael T. Duke to allow former general counsel Maritza Munich to speak with staff of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform and the Committee on Energy and Commerce.
The lawmakers did not say how they obtained the documents, which they said corroborate a New York Times expose of the retailers reportedly corrupt dealings in Mexico and Wal-Mart’s attempts to cover them up.
According to the documents, Munich had reviewed a company draft report on possible improper payments in Mexico and said in an internal email that “the needed follow-up investigation should extend beyond the specific transactions contained in this draft report to other potentially suspect transactions not yet identified.”
Munich resigned Feb. 1, 2006. Three months later, replacement Alberto Mora decided to end the investigation without action, according to emails cited in the letter.
Munich said she wanted to speak with Wal-Mart representatives before speaking to Waxman and Cummings, according to the letter.
The congressmen previously asked to meet Wal-Mart executives in an April 23 letter to Duke after the New York Times published an investigation into $24 million in alleged bribes paid to Mexican officials, possibly violating the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act.
“Since then, we have obtained hundreds of internal documents relating to the Wal-Mart bribery allegations,” the May 17 letter says. “These documents appear to confirm the accuracy of the New York Times report and raise additional questions about your company’s conduct.”
According to the Times, Munich had pressed Wal-Mart’s board to adopt a strict anticorruption policy and was concerned about the independence of the company’s internal investigation.
Cummings and Waxman had set a deadline of April 27 to meet with executives and say that a tentative general briefing on Wal-Mart’s compliance program going forward will not answer questions about past actions.
“We are currently working to schedule an additional briefing session,” said David Tovar, Wal-Mart’s vice president of corporate communications. “We understand their interest in this issue and will continue to work with them to provide whatever appropriate information we can consistent with the ongoing investigation.”
Cummings is the ranking member of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform. Waxman is the ranking member of the House Committee on Energy and Commerce.
Update: This story was updated to include comment from Wal-Mart.