Target Feels the Backlash and Deserves It

Good old Target is feeling the backlash for their $150,000 corporate donation to MN Forward for ads to be run by anti-gay GOP gubernatorial candidate Tom Emmer.  The anger at the corporation has led President Gregg Steinhafel (brother of WI-based Steinhafel’s Furniture President Gary Steinhafel) to issue an apology to employees (full text here) for the process that they undertook in giving the donation and vowing to support the rights of their gay and lesbian “guests” and employees.  It turns out that the senior executives of the corporation have been major donors to a broad range of anti-gay GOP politicians not only in MN, but outside the state. The biggest revelation of the senior management team’s bigotry is the revelation that Target employees  gave $3,250 to, a coalition that vowed to protect heterosexual marriage by supporting Proposition 8, at the expense of gay and lesbian relationships.

This damaging corporate revelation is coming at the same time that Target has announced plans to enter the San Francisco marketplace and has a new “urban” store under development at Madison’s Hilldale.

I for one am disappointed to see this history of right wing contributions from the senior management team and their support of anti-equality marriage groups.

For further background on the story see this insightful analysis by Jay Weiner at the Minnesota Post about Target’s damage control efforts and the impact of Citizen’s United on corporate donations.


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3 thoughts on “Target Feels the Backlash and Deserves It

  1. I don’t have a problem with their personal contributions…although I hold exactly the opposite point of view…I don’t think I have a right to tell them how to spend their money. And I don’t want them telling me how to spend mine.

    But I do find the corporate contribution a big issue! I can’t imagine why a public corporation would want to discriminate against many of their associates and their customers. It’s not good for their employees, customers, community, or their stockholders.

  2. Hi Ed,
    Thanks for commenting. Individuals are welcome to donate as they wish, but if their customers find out about the negative direction that their personal contributions are taking, these same customers have the right to nix further shopping at their stores given that a portion of their hard earned shopping dollars are going to politicians or initiatives that are designed to attack equal rights.

    Another good example of where a corporate executive made a poor choice in his political donations was hotel magnate Doug Manchester who donated $125,000 to Yes on 8 the law banning gay marriage that was just struck down. Advocates for equality with the exception of the right wing GOProud, have made a difference and continue to call for boycotts of his San Diego-based hotels. He shouldn’t see any gay marriages planning their receptions there given his belief system.

    I agree with you about the corporate donations. They should stay away from these types of donations because they are going to backfire on them as was situation in this case.

  3. Agree with both of you. This is why we need all contributions to be public and available, because we deserve to know where these people are putting their money toward. Target has clearly been hurt by this move in both PR and probably in sales, and I think a lot more corporations may find it’s not such a good bet to throw cash at candidates instead of their businesses.

    Of course, you could just outlaw corporate contributions and take that option away. But I guess that’s too easy (especially when those corporations can buy off judges that rule these bribes “free speech”.)

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