WASHINGTON, DC, April 26 — With allegations of bribery and a cover-up swirling around Walmart as it nears its 50th anniversary, Respect DC coalition members visited the JW Marriott Hotel, where they urged Marriott President and CEO Arne Sorenson to use his position as a member of Walmart’s Board of Directors and its Audit Committee to demand the resignations of Walmart CEO Mike Duke and Board Chairman Rob Walton.

The Coalition also visited DC Council members and the Mayor to ask for a local investigation into potential issues with Walmart in the District.

“We must demand moral, ethical, lawful and accountable behavior by corporations seeking to do business in the District of Columbia, and especially by the world’s largest retailer,” said Rev. Edwin Jones, pastor of the Living Faith Baptist Church. “Walmart did not meet these standards in the way it reportedly entered Mexico and that raises serious questions about what it’s doing to enter DC, especially with the ethical cloud that hangs over Mayor Gray and the City Council.

“The solution is simple,” Rev. Jones said. “No construction without a full investigation, no approvals without accountability, and no openings without transparency.

“Walmart cannot be trusted,” Rev. Jones charged, that’s why we must shine the public spotlight on the political donations made by Walmart, their developers and assorted front groups, and on the company’s so-called ‘charitable donations’ to public officials, agencies and local organizations.

“Similarly, Arne Sorenson must accept his responsibilities as a member of Walmart’s Board of Directors and Audit Committee,” Rev. Jones said. “He must demand the resignations of Duke and Walton and call for an independent investigation — or he will be complicit in Walmart’s alleged crimes.

“Walmart must change its corporate culture and its actions,” Rev. Jones said, “and we will not let up until it becomes a responsible and ethical corporate citizen.”

Group of Respect DC coalition members outside Marriott in DC. Photo by Karlyn Williams.