Amid controversy over reports that Walmart spent nearly Rs 125 crore for lobbying with lawmakers to get access to the Indian market, the US has said the global retail giant did not violate any American law as far as the matter is concerned.

“On the US side, I don’t have any reason to believe that we have a violation of US law here. With regard to the Indian side, I’ll refer you to them,” State Department spokesperson Victoria Nuland had said yesterday, categorically dismissing allegations by the Indian Opposition parties in this regard.

Nuland was responding to questions on charges by the Opposition parties in India that Walmart spent a huge sum in four years in lobbying before the US Congress, including on those related to enhanced market access for investment in India.

“We’ve seen these press reports. With regard to lobbying in the US, I think you know that the Lobby Disclosure Act of 1995 and the Honest Leadership and Open Government Act of 2007 require lobbyists for any company or organisation to disclose its activities in a periodic report to Congress,” she said.

“So the report, which some of these allegations have cited, is a regularly required report for the US Government as part of our open government transparency in governance requirements,” Nuland said.

Meanwhile, Walmart has also denied of being involved in any wrongdoing.

“These allegations are entirely false. In accordance with US law, American companies are required to disclose the issues and expenditures associated with lobbying on a quarterly basis.

The expenditures are a compilation of expenses associated with US federal lobbying contacts and include staffing cost, association dues and payments made to consultants, all in the US,” a company spokesperson said in a statement.

The spokesperson said the company had “held discussions” with US officials about a range of “trade and investment issues” that impact its businesses in the US and worldwide, and disclosed this in accordance with the law.

(This article was published on December 11, 2012)
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