By John Fritze, The Baltimore Sun
3:10 PM EDT, April 23, 2012
Rep. Elijah E. Cummings, the top Democrat on the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, on Monday requested a meeting with Wal-Mart officials in response to allegations that the retailer covered up a bribery scheme to expand its business in Mexico.
In a letter to Wal-Mart CEO Michael Duke, the Baltimore Democrat says he is opening an investigation into allegations raised in a story over the weekend by The New York Times and asked the company to schedule a meeting with lawmakers to discuss the issue by Friday.
The story "raises serious questions about potential violations of United States law, including the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act," the letter reads. "It also raises significant questions about the actions of top company officials in the United States who reportedly tried to disregard substantial evidence of abuse."
The letter was also signed by California Rep. Henry Waxman, the top-ranking Democrat of the House Energy and Commerce Committee.
The Times article notes that a former executive alerted company officials in 2005 to widespread bribery of Mexican officials. The article suggests that when confronted with evidence of corruption, Wal-Mart leaders "focused more on damage control than on rooting out wrongdoing."
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