Wal-Mart creates front groups such as Working Families for Wal-Mart and also hires hidden public relations operatives to create the appearance of grassroots support. Kevin Robinson of Chicagoist.com, a Web site about Chicago, reports that in Chicago, support for Wal-mart
"... is being manufactured by the Chicagoland Chamber of Commerce, a local PR powerhouse, and by Wal-Mart itself. A few weeks ago, a series of posts that I wrote attracted the attention not only of our regular readership, but also people that don’t normally visit our site on a regular basis. One reader in particular, going by the login 'Chatham,' took issue with the subject matter of the posts, but also with the arguments that Wal-Mart opponents have made. ... I checked out the URL that was associated with Chatham’s comments (OurcommunityOurChoice.com) and discovered it's a website promoting the opening of a Wal-Mart in Chatham ... . Then I looked up the IP address and found the comments were made from an IP address associated with Serafin and Associates ... the Chicago-based consulting firm that Wal-Mart has retained to manage its public relations campaign in Chicago. That includes push polling done last summer in Chicago. ... Michael Mini, the Government Relations Director at the Chicagoland Chamber of Commerce ... told me that Wal-Mart is indeed a member of the Chicagoland Chamber of Commerce ... I asked him if he was familiar with Serafin and Associates. 'Yes, we have worked with them in our strategy sessions. We’ve worked with [Thomas] Serafin and his team.' When I told him that our site had gotten comments from the email address that led me to him and asked if he knew that it was being used to comment on blogs, he said 'no, not that I’m aware of.' Are you surprised that an IP address from Serafin was being used that way? 'No, not in particular.' Why not? 'I really can’t comment without looking into it further.' ... While Wal-Mart certainly has the right make its case to Chicago, the way they’ve gone about this -- creating a fake community group that purports to represent a community's residents and interests - is sneaky and underhanded."