Three weeks ago, Politico reported on the gift cards:
Mega retailer Wal-Mart is giving the host committee for the Democratic National Convention $50,000 in gift cards, a host committee official confirmed to POLITICO.
The official explained that the gift cards are considered an in-kind contribution, so they do not violate the strict Democratic National Committee rules which bar corporate cash donations.
“Charlotte in 2012 has received gift cards from Wal-Mart as in-kind contributions,” a host committee official said. “Per the master contract with the DNCC, Charlotte in 2012 may only accept in-kinds that offer budget relief, and this gift is intended to be used exclusively for office supplies required by the contract.”
The official noted that Wal-Mart does not set up “in-kind accounts” for office supplies which is why they issued gift cards.
DNC Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz announced in September that none of the $37 million Charlotte organizers must raise would come from lobbyists, corporations or political action committees. The rules allow in-kind contributions for things such as telecommunications equipment and vehicles.
It is unclear why the DNC decided to return the gift cards. It is possible that news of the Wal-Mart bribery scandal in Mexico was a factor.