Thursday, May 10, 2012

Questions for UA Law's graduation speaker

Posted By on Thu, May 10, 2012 at 6:41 AM

Noted coming event: The University of Arkansas at Fayetteville Law School will have graduation May 19. Speaker is a UA grad, Jeffrey Gearhart, brother of UA Chancellor David Gearhart. He's also general counsel of Walmart.

Timing could have been slightly better. Walmart lawyers have been keeping low public profiles generally since news broke of bribes paid to help Walmart dominate the retail market in Mexico and evidence that the company moved to cover up the scandal. On the other hand, there could scarcely by a friendlier place for a Walmart exec than a college that is heavily subsidized by Walton gifts and home to several academic efforts that reflect the family's agenda.

As notes, Gearhart was brought into the company by another UA grad, Thomas Mars, in 2003. That put him on board throughout the developing Mexican issue. Gearhart also has been active in corporate legal efforts to water down penalties in federal law aimed at discouraging U.S. bribery in foreign countries.

If Q&A sessions were held for graduation speakers, the first two questions are suggested by's reporting: What did Gearhart know and when did he know it?

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