updated 4/1/2007 6:40:44 PM ET 2007-04-01T22:40:44

Working Families for Wal-Mart — a national advocacy group funded primarily by Wal-Mart Stores Inc. to combat mounting criticism — is suspending its site called paidcritics.com.

The move was disclosed on the paidcritics.com site Friday.

Working Families for Wal-Mart launched the site in July 2006, linking WakeupWalMart.com and other critics to unions, liberal groups and Democrats. Union-backed WakeUpWalmart.com, one of the retailer’s most vociferous opponents, in turn started its own Web site called abunchofgreedyrightwingliarswhowork-forwalmart.com, which attacks the retailer’s public relations and lobbying figures.

On Friday, paidcritics.com posted the following statement: “Working Families for Wal-Mart is proud to have brought the Paid Critics motives to light. Those motives are now crystal clear, and their attacks are failing. So we have decided to move on and focus our time and energy on other Wal-Mart matters.”

The statement said the site will remain as an “online encyclopedia” and directed viewers to forwalmart.com or walmartfacts.com.

Kevin Sheridan, spokesman for Working Families for Wal-Mart Stores Inc., could not be immediately reached. Dave Tovar, a Wal-Mart spokesman, declined to comment.

But Chris Kofinis, a spokesman at WakeUpWalmart.com said the site’s closing is a reflection of what he believes is the company’s failed public relations moves. “Everything they’ve done they failed at. And clearly it is a waste of money. They would be better off putting that money to better health care and wages for its workers.”

The suspension of paidcritics.com appears to be the latest in a series of stumbles for Working Families For Wal-Mart. Last October, Ron Galloway, a filmmaker whose work praised Wal-Mart, quit the group over the pay caps adopted in August. At the time, Sheridan said that Galloway had left over environmental policy differences. In August, civil rights leader Andrew Young stepped down as chairman of the steering committee after making remarks that were seen as racially offensive.

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