In the bull’s-eye, Part 2: Despite Target apology, San Francisco stores stand on shaky political ground

In the bull's-eye, Part 2: Despite Target apology, San Francisco stores stand on shaky political ground
REUTERS/Fred Prouser

Second of two articles

First came a six-figure contribution to an independent-expenditure political fund known as MN Forward. That fund then paid for a TV commercial backing a gubernatorial candidate whose legislative votes consistently opposed gay rights matters in the Minnesota House of Representatives.

That all was embarrassing and damaging enough for Target Corp.

But the timing of it all really couldn’t have been worse for Target, and its potential impact on the company’s business plans for the lucrative San Francisco market remains politically uncertain.

Within the same 24-hour period in late July, when news first broke in Minnesota that Target was backing a group that was funding Republican-endorsed Tom Emmer, the retailer was proudly announcing plans to open two new, core-city stores in, of all places, San Francisco, the epicenter of gay and lesbian rights.

The national reaction over the past two weeks, fueled by the power of the Internet and customers’ feelings toward the Target brand, has been breathtaking, triggering an apology Thursday from Target CEO and Chairman Gregg Steinhafel, and pledges to re-evaluate how political contributions are made and to promote a dialogue around diversity and inclusion.

Gregg Steinhafel
Gregg Steinhafel

But those are words, and Target, with about $65 billion in annual sales, is about business. Now, because of a small-potatoes $150,000 campaign contribution, the giant retailer’s proposals to expand into San Francisco are at risk.

Now, the fate of the stores “is to be determined,” San Francisco Board of Supervisors member and mayoral candidate Bevan Dufty told MinnPost in an interview. “There was a lot of sentiment for people who wanted the stores to open, and this [Emmer connection] clouds that. It’s not only the cash. It’s the ham-handed way the company tried to explain it away: ‘We supported this person based on their position on economic issues.’ Well, that’s just not satisfactory.”

Clearly, Steinhafel’s apology isn’t the end of the controversy. Not by far. It seems to be the first small step in attempting to right an internal corporate decision-making process, not only at Target, but at other large companies.

All corporations now have wider latitude to give to political campaigns, following the U.S. Supreme Court’s “Citizens United” decision earlier this year.

But Steinhafel’s predicament has liberal groups and campaign finance observers wondering if companies will not only be more cautious in their political giving, but more savvy and stealthy in attempting to hide the paths of their contributions. Minnesota’s disclosure laws, tightened up after the U.S. Supreme Court ruling in January, are among the most transparent in the nation.

Still, there may be ways for donors to dodge the watchful eye of journalists and activists.

The Target board
No one knows if or when Target’s entire board of directors was involved in approving Steinhafel’s decision to contribute to MN Forward or, for that matter, the role of boards of any of the other respected Minnesota companies that have given a total of more than $1 million so far to MN Forward.

A Target spokeswoman declined to comment on the board’s role, referring MinnPost to a couple of statements issued about the Emmer controversy, neither of which addressed the board’s role.

Legally speaking, in most cases a CEO need not bring in his board on such decisions, according to corporate governance expert Ian Maitland of the University of Minnesota’s Carlson School of Management.

“I think there is no law that would require it,” Maitland said. “That sort of power is often delegated to the CEO or a group of managers … Typically, these things may be delegated fairly far down … That doesn’t mean it’s good management practice.”

Three colleagues of Maitland’s at the Carlson School conducted a study, “Corporate Political Contributions: Investment or Agency?” (PDF) that challenges the wisdom of corporate contributions and the real rate of return on political giving. It also suggests corporate contributions may be a reflection of corporate leaders’ personal politics.

As they wrote, “[W]hile companies do not have political preferences, their managers do.”

Gregg Steinhafel and his wife, Denise, have given thousands of dollars over the past few election cycles exclusively to Republican candidates and to conservative-leaning political action funds. Since 2002, Gregg Steinhafel has given $37,700 to the Republican Party, according to data at Open Secrets. The Steinhafels each contributed $2,000 to Emmer’s campaign, records show, and have contributed more than $7,000 since 2007 to Rep. Michele Bachmann’s campaigns.

Of course, this is something they are free to do as private citizens, and no one begrudges them that.

But, according to the Carlson School study, 86 percent of the publicly traded firms in the United States make no political contributions. Steinhafel and his board now know why.

If other members of the Target board were involved, they have been lying low. If they weren’t involved, they are now, thanks to activists like Aaron Baldwin in San Francisco.

Target stores
Which takes us back to the really bad timing.

On July 21, just one day after the MN Forward contribution and Emmer ad story began stirring, Target executives announced their plans, amid some hoopla, to open two in-city stores there.

Before long, gay activists, such as Baldwin, and their supporters nationwide latched onto the contradiction of a company like Target — long affiliated with community efforts and long proud of its relationship with the gay and lesbian community — backing Emmer.

Baldwin also discovered that Target contributed $3,250 two years ago to support an anti-gay marriage initiative in California; the company contributed a lesser $750 to oppose the ballot measure known as Proposition 8.

In San Francisco, thousands of potential Target customers are gay or lesbian or transgender.

It just so happens that two of Target’s board members are John Stumpf, a native Minnesotan and CEO and board chairman of Wells Fargo, and Wells Fargo Chairman Emeritus Richard Kovacevich. Wells Fargo & Co. is San Francisco-based but maintains a large presence in the Twin Cities.

Baldwin began to connect the dots. He has met with officials of the San Francisco Human Rights Commission and he has plans to reach out to Stumpf and Kovacevich, too. After all, many of Wells Fargo’s customers and employees in San Francisco are members of the GLBT community, too. Baldwin wants such powerful Target board members to encourage Steinhafel to, perhaps, contribute to the other side.

As he pointed out, DFL candidate Mark Dayton is the great-grandson of the founder of Dayton’s department stores, out of which Target was born.

“How about that for family values?” Baldwin asked. Steinhafel “blew up his company’s reputation with a community that is quickly approaching almost $2 trillion in purchasing power,” he added. “If I were a Target Board member, I would investigate for any possible inappropriate and unauthorized use of corporate funds … and see if there are grounds for termination [of Steinhafel].”

As Baldwin has begun to reach out to the Wells Fargo-Target connection, Dufty and David Campos, another member of the San Francisco Board of Supervisors, were contacted by Target regional representatives in the Bay Area. Dufty and Campos are the two gay members of the board. An emergency meeting was held Wednesday night.

In the meeting, the supervisors “expressed very strongly” their dismay with the Target backing of Emmer. Dufty said he told the Target representatives, “You can’t, on the one hand, espouse principles that speak to respecting diversity and respecting people in this community and then fund candidates who with every walking breath and moment work to make us second-class citizens.”

Perhaps it’s a coincidence, but within hours of that meeting in California with two key politicians who may have a role down the line in approving aspects of those new Target stores, Steinhafel issued his apology to Target employees in Minnesota.

Lessons?
Marc Elias, the Democratic Party lawyer who represented Al Franken in the 2008 Senate recount and who is among the nation’s campaign finance experts, said, “Companies need to be aware that when they give money to independent expenditure groups, in most instances, they’re not going to control the message those groups give out.”

Marc Elias
MinnPost photo by Jay Weiner
Marc Elias

Obviously, when Target gave its donation to MN Forward and allowed the fund’s leaders to craft a TV ad for Emmer, Target lost control.

To wit, as reported in MinnPost earlier, Randi Reitan’s YouTube video has received more than 200,000 hits. And there are all the Facebook pages: “Boycott Target Until They Cease Funding Anti-Gay Politics,” and “Protest Target’s Support of Extremist Tom Emmer” and “National Day of Protest Against Target.” There are numerous Twitter accounts devoted to the cause — and recent chatter on the web among blogging mothers about a back-to-school boycott of Target.

That’s why Common Cause, the good government group that works for fair elections, has called on Target and all other companies to pledge not to make contributions from general funds to political campaigns.

“Target shareholders should demand that political expenditures not be made without the explicit approval of shareholders,” said Mike Dean, executive director of Common Cause Minnesota. “This approval process will ensure that political donations are made in the best interest of the corporation and not individual managers.”

Last week, New York-based Goldman Sachs took such a pledge.

It would seem as if the Target controversy would bring a chilling effect to corporate contributions, and to MN Forward, in particular. But Executive Director Brian McClung said contributions to MN Forward have kept rolling in since the start of the Target kerfuffle. Federated Insurance, Pentair, Holiday, Cold Spring Granite and Red Wing Shoes have contributed a total of more than $300,000 to MN Forward in the past 10 days.

Brian McClung
Brian McClung

Said McClung: “They understand our mission. They support what MN Forward is doing, and they’re not going to be intimidated by these activists … No one is going to agree with any candidate 100 percent of the time, but you can support that candidate when you look at his record on issues that matter to the business community.”

Still, with all the scrutiny, there’s concern on the left that corporations will attempt to “launder” their contributions through smaller, less-examined organizations, such as trade associations or the non-political funding wing of the Chamber of Commerce.

Instead of, say, giving $100,000 to MN Forward, Company XYZ could give $10,000 to 10 smaller political committees, which could then move the money to MN Forward. Or give the money to the Chamber’s education fund, and the Chamber — with disclosure — could move that into its political action fund and then to MN Forward.

Such movement of money would be more difficult to trace. And such swapping would, in fact, be hard to do under the Minnesota legislation passed last May, but Rep. Ryan Winkler, DFL-Golden Valley, who sponsored the House version, said: “I think [the laundering] could be done, but you’d have to be really determined to do it.”

Rep. Ryan Winkler
Rep. Ryan Winkler

The Minnesota disclosure law was supported in a bipartisan fashion. The Minnesota Chamber and Business Partnership, parents of MN Forward, backed the disclosure bill, which was passed unanimously by both the House and Senate and quickly signed by Gov. Tim Pawlenty.

But for Minnesota’s strong disclosure rules, no one might know of who’s giving to whom or what. As Elias told MinnPost: “What’s interesting about Minnesota is that we actually know that Target and other companies gave to [MN Forward.]” In many states, such transparency is still not required.

Lawsuit challenges rules
Not surprisingly, some conservative groups are seeking to overturn the Minnesota campaign finance rule as it applies to independent expenditure funds and the related disclosure rules. In a federal law suit filed in Minneapolis, Minnesota Concerned Citizens for Life, an anti-abortion group; the Taxpayers League, an anti-tax group; and a private travel agency are suing the state, contending the Minnesota law is unconstitutional because it requires corporations to contribute their independent expenditure money to independent expenditure committees — such as MN Forward or WIN Minnesota — that must disclose regularly who is giving and how much.

The MCCL and the others want to be able to make independent expenditures directly to campaigns without moving them through such “IE” committees and the disclosure process.

“Political funds have burdensome and onerous registration, reporting, and recordkeeping requirements,” the lawsuit says.

Indiana lawyer Joseph LaRue, working for the plaintiffs, told MinnPost in an email, his clients’ “goal is not to avoid reporting, but to get to do what the Constitution says they should be allowed to do,” and that is, in their view, have corporations and other organizations spend money directly on candidates campaigns. If the federal court allows that, then a new state law with different disclosure rules would have to be developed, LaRue wrote. But, the fact is the Minnesota Legislature is now out of session, and if the current law were struck down, disclosure wouldn’t be possible before Nov. 2 and Election Day.

LaRue is an associate in the law firm Bopp, Coleson and Bostrom, which is led by James Bopp, a longtime national advocate for aggressively fighting campaign finance rules. Bopp’s firm has instigated lawsuits across the nation, including “Citizens United.”

A hearing in the case is set for Aug. 20 in federal court in Minneapolis, another front in the local and national campaign finance war. That courthouse is about eight blocks away from Target headquarters, where today a demonstration was set by Moveon.org. to hand over petitions with 260,000 signatures of claimed Target shoppers gathered via an Internet campaign.

Whether this influx of money from corporations and unions, from motivated CEOs or rich Democrats to liberal groups is “good for democracy” seems a bit academic right now. It’s the law of the land, and corporations will run with it. As Ken Martin of the left-leaning Alliance for a Better Minnesota put it, “We’re not going to unilaterally disarm.”

Most likely about $15 million to $20 million of independent expenditures will pour into the Minnesota gubernatorial and legislative races between now and November. Meanwhile, the approval process for two new Target stores in San Francisco has just begun.

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Comments (26)

  1. Submitted by Tony George on 08/06/2010 - 10:59 am.

    Somehow I don’t think Greg Steinhafel and Target are a good fit.

  2. Submitted by Brian Simon on 08/06/2010 - 11:20 am.

    There may yet be another chapter or two to be written in this story. Bob Collins over at MPR links to a story that reports other alleged donations to ‘efforts’ opposing same-sex marriage:

    Bob wrote:
    “Today, The Awl reports that Target and its execs donated money to efforts to ban same-sex marriage. Back to you, Target.”

    mpr link:
    http://minnesota.publicradio.org/collections/special/columns/news_cut/archive/2010/08/five_by_8_-_8610.shtml

    awl link:
    http://www.theawl.com/2010/08/real-america-target-doesnt-support-gay-equality-because-it-never-did

  3. Submitted by NIcole Masika on 08/06/2010 - 12:19 pm.

    an apology is not enough for me, giving an equal amount to Dayton would do it, then I will start shopping at Target again

  4. Anonymous Submitted by Anonymous on 08/06/2010 - 01:57 pm.

    It’s difficult to avoid aiding and abetting the Republican agenda if you frequent most Big Businesses. Corporate interests and that party align perfectly.

  5. Submitted by Tony George on 08/06/2010 - 02:35 pm.

    Huffington Post has an article how Target and many of its executive staff have long suported anti-gay politicians. It seems terribly hypocritical of Target to support all these anti-gay politicians and still want the gay business. Maybe it is time to end the hypocrisy. Target needs to decide if it is an ultra-right wing political organization supporting anti-gay politiciains like Tom Emmer or a retailer. We must not let Target get away with having it both ways this time. Target is damaged merchandise now, and if anti-gay Emmer becomes governor, Minnesota politics is severely tainted and rotten. Target must renounce Emmer immediately if it wants to start to undo the long-term damage.

  6. Submitted by Steve Rose on 08/06/2010 - 03:16 pm.

    Marcia (#4):

    Some big news about a big business bigger than Target, BP: A Center for Responsive Politics report shows that BP and its employees gave more than $3.5 million to federal candidates over the past 20 years, with the single largest recipient of their money being President Barack Obama.

  7. Submitted by chris hatch on 08/06/2010 - 05:55 pm.

    @tony

    Target didn’t donate to Tom Emmer. They donated to a PAC that was created to push business interests.

    Whether they should be allowed to be involved in politics at all (which I don’t think they should), was unfortunately decided by a set of activist judges on the Supreme Court.

    as for the other donations you mentioned, none of those were with Target money. They were all individual political donations from Target’s leadership.

    Now as an employee of Target, I am not thrilled to work for people with those views, but such is life.

  8. Submitted by Hiram Foster on 08/06/2010 - 08:48 pm.

    Let’s not be naive here. Target knew where the money was going, and to give them credit, they haven’t pretended that they didn’t. MN forward is affront for the Emmer campaign. It’s as simple as that.

  9. Submitted by Bernice Vetsch on 08/07/2010 - 01:35 am.

    I find it odd that businesspeople, those masters of rationality, regularly support candidates for public office — such as Pawlenty and Emmer — who are anti-tax, anti-government types who starve the physical and intellectual/educational infrastructure upon which employers depend for well educated and trained employees, roads and bridges and railways.

    Kind of like the “What’s the Matter With Kansas” folks who were led to believe that what was bad for them actually was good for them (up is down, et cetera) and voted for right-wing politicians.

  10. Submitted by Bernice Vetsch on 08/07/2010 - 01:52 am.

    Those wishing to join Public Citizen protests against the Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision allowing corporations to anonymously spend unlimited amounts of money on ads attacking or supporting candidates can find two opportunities on Wednesday, August 11:

    11:30 am, Boyd Park, Selby & Virginia, St. Paul

    1:00 pm, Outside Al Franken’s office, 60 E.
    Plato Boulevard, St Paul

  11. Submitted by Hiram Foster on 08/07/2010 - 07:03 am.

    “Target didn’t donate to Tom Emmer. They donated to a PAC that was created to push business interests.”

    To it’s credit, not even Target pretending that this is the case. They knew that MN Forward was set up to channel money to Tom Emmer, and that’s what they did.

    The Supreme Court decided Target could use their shareholders’ money to back political candidates, but that in no way suggests that it should. What happened to Target when it linked itself to Tom Emmer, the damage this self inflicted wound caused to their brand, clearly demonstrates the dangers of corporate interference in partisan politics.

  12. Submitted by Paul Udstrand on 08/07/2010 - 08:04 am.

    #7 //Target didn’t donate to Tom Emmer. They donated to a PAC that was created to push business interests.

    Chris, technically this is true, but there are two things to keep in mind. First, MN Forward is supporting and endorsing Emmer, therefore donating is donating to the other and Target execs know that. Second, I think it’s time we stop pretending Republicans are economic geniuses. What’s so great about the Republican party’s economics? Aside from cutting taxes what exactly is Emmer’s economic plan? The reality is that these business groups are simply not non-partisan, they are thinly disguised republican organizations even if they do donate to the occasional Democrat.

    This was certainly legal, but it’s a legal absurdity. The problem with corporate, and I’m sorry to say union campaign donations as well, is that they’re not donating their own money, and they’re not required to get consent. The idea that corporations are entitled to same rights as individuals has always been a daft holdover from the Gilded Age.

  13. Submitted by Hiram Foster on 08/07/2010 - 08:36 am.

    I do think the Target executives who made the decision to link their company’s fortunes to Tom Emmer suffered from political and economic naivete combined with arrogance. A knowledge of politics wasn’t what got them where they are today, and many managers confuse business with economics. When McClung came to their offices with his salesmen’s patter about what he could do for them in the grand and mysterious world of politics, they quite simply fell for it. Even now, in their arrogance, Target executives are clinging to the notion that their mistake was in backing a candidate who was anti-gay, when their real error was getting involved in partisan politics at all.

  14. Submitted by Dennis Tester on 08/07/2010 - 08:49 am.

    All you outraged lefties would have some credibility if you demanded that the unions, especially the publicly-funded ones, stopped supporting politicians and buying elections.

    A private corporation that donates to a political candidate at least doesn’t have to explain why public money paid to public employees and paid as union dues to organized labor, should be able to buy office holders who then approve of the salaries and benefits of those same public employees.

  15. Submitted by Hiram Foster on 08/07/2010 - 09:16 am.

    Three victims here are the DFL legislators who MN Forward is cynically using for political cover. They are now placed in the awkward position of explaining that they are not anti-gay and do not support the shareholder financing of partisan political campaigns, things they really should not have to do.

  16. Submitted by Hiram Foster on 08/07/2010 - 02:41 pm.

    “All you outraged lefties would have some credibility if you demanded that the unions, especially the publicly-funded ones, stopped supporting politicians and buying elections.”

    Unions don’t sell products to the public. I am not boycotting Target, but I feel less comfortable shopping there knowing they are supporting political causes and candidates with which I disagree. I don’t understand why Target has chosen to identify itself as a Republican company, knowing as they surely must have, that they would to some degree be alienating those who don’t share their political views.

    Target owes me no explanations concerning their political views, but then again, neither do I owe them my business.

  17. Submitted by Paul Udstrand on 08/07/2010 - 04:14 pm.

    //All you outraged lefties would have some credibility if you demanded that the unions, especially the publicly-funded ones, stopped supporting politicians and buying elections.

    I’m not exactly outraged, but I’m a lefty and I specifically stated in #12 that union and corporate contributions should be banned, but they’d have to be replaced by public funding, and equal access rules for TV and radio.

    Again, I don’t buy this argument that the execs are only thinking about economics when they support republicans, what’s so great about republican economics? I think these guys are just republicans. Furthermore, how can contribute to a party that’s spent the last 50 years campaigning almost exclusively on social wedge issues and pretend you were making an economic decision? Obviously people aren’t buying it.

    I predict that once the Democrats have a primary victor on Tuesday, Target make a contribution to the Dems on Wed and hope this all goes away.

  18. Submitted by chris hatch on 08/07/2010 - 05:38 pm.

    Hiram and Paul

    yes you may be right that it is just a technicality and that they knew the donation would go to Emmer (or anyone else the Republicans selected), but as Dennis points out, there is no outrage against Move On and the incredible amount of funding from one man or from unions getting involved.

    Why don’t we make a level playing field all around and only allow donations from individuals directly to candidates with a maximum amount? otherwise it is disingenuous to single out Target and MN Forward.

    And I do agree with both of you on Republican economic policy by the way, but we should also not kid ourselves that the Dems are any better.

    To me the largest issue with Target is how a company that has always been so incredibly careful with its brand made a decision to get involved directly into the political process so quickly. It does not instil much faith in me of the leadership of Steinhafel.

  19. Submitted by Paul Udstrand on 08/08/2010 - 07:52 am.

    //Dennis points out, there is no outrage against Move On and the incredible amount of funding from one man or from unions getting involved.

    I don’t why people keep saying this. Republicans have been complaining about union donations for decades and have made several attempts to outlaw them. Republicans have always been “outraged” by liberal organizations like Move-On. Beck, Rush, Coulter, and Hannity all routinely rage against Move-On etc. Basically the Republicans are just getting a taste of their own medicine here. I remind y’all every year the big flap about whether or not big retailers like Target say: “Merry Christmas” or “Happy Holidays”.

    //Why don’t we make a level playing field all around and only allow donations from individuals directly to candidates with a maximum amount?

    The only problem with that scheme is the incredible wealth disparity would distort the process. I think publicly funded elections with required access rules for the media is the only way to really level the playing field.

  20. Submitted by Hiram Foster on 08/08/2010 - 08:59 am.

    “Why don’t we make a level playing field all around and only allow donations from individuals directly to candidates with a maximum amount? otherwise it is disingenuous to single out Target and MN Forward.”

    The law of the land as pronounced by the Supreme Court doesn’t permit us to either level or unlevel the playing field.

    It isn’t completely fair that Target is getting singled out. The company is vulnerable because of it’s high profile, but also because of it’s carefully cultivated reputation as a company that serves the public interest. Identifying itself with one political party or candidate is simply inconsistent with that. But other companies have damaged themselves as well. KSTP, now known to be funding the Emmer campaign, has compromised the credibility of it’s news operations, perhaps permanently and irreparably.

    The Supreme Court thoughtlessly and gratuitously changed the legal rules with respect to the diversion of shareholder dollars to political candidates. But that doesn’t mean corporations shouldn’t pay a price for what many regard as the misuse of the assets entrusted to them. In Target’s case, at least, it’s quite clear that they will.

  21. Submitted by Tony George on 08/08/2010 - 03:46 pm.

    Let’s look at the facts. Target is financing Tom Emmer’s campaign for governor. Tom Emmer is supporting a Christian group’s efforts in Africa to get them to impose the death penalty on gays. Maybe Tom Emmer doesn’t believe that United States gays should get the death penalty, only African gays. Target supports Tom Emmer because they say he would be good for United States business.Wouldn’t it be nice if a major corporation like Target would not engage in vicious Tea Party politics? Maybe this boycott against Target will fail. That does not mean that I will be shopping at Target soon.

  22. Submitted by Hiram Foster on 08/08/2010 - 05:21 pm.

    Now that this story is close to being played out, this might be the time to step back and ask what Target shareholders got for the 150,000 of their dollars, Target managers paid to MN Forward on their behalf.

    Let’s see. In no particular, MN Forward’s Target subsidized campaign on behalf of Tom Emmer provoked a near revolt among Target employees. There were days of unfavorable news stories, both in the local paper, and in national publications like the Wall Street Journal. Target was attacked in a special segment on Olbermann’s show on MSNBC. Meanwhile, in cyberspace, has been subjected to merciless and continuing ridicule. Target’s CEO has been forced to issue a shamefaced apology for starting the whole mess. Questions have been raised about Target’s judgment in choosing to do business with MN Forward, a group of operators formerly seen as savvy, and now viewed as a collection of political dunderheads. And as byproduct, the mess embarrassed the Emmer campaign, rendering the whole thing counter productive.

    So, do you think Target shareholders got their money’s worth?

  23. Submitted by Steve Rose on 08/08/2010 - 10:15 pm.

    Hiram:

    Yes.

    MinnPost has been running this Target commercial for a week straight now, for free, including red and white photos of their logo, carts, and stores. Great exposure.

    Target stock closed the week up with respect to where it started on Monday. No complaints from this shareholder.

  24. Submitted by Hiram Foster on 08/09/2010 - 06:55 am.

    I think the amount of coverage is appropriate and I think Jay’s coverage here in MinnPost.com is excellent. I also think the local newspapers should get a lot of credit because they stuck with a negative story about an important advertiser. But the news will move on, and that’s something Target is counting on. It’s clear enough from their quasi-apology, they believe or are at least claiming that their mistake wasn’t in using shareholder dollars to subsidize a favorite political candidate, rather the error was in happening to pick one who was anti gay. What they are probably also thinking and not saying was that they did so in a way that resulted in public disclosure and scrutiny. I am sure next time they will be looking for ways to avoid that.

  25. Submitted by Tony George on 08/09/2010 - 10:35 am.

    I think we all knew that Hubbard Broadcasting was run by an ultra-rightwing guy. We didn’t know that RTarget was run by an ultra rightwing guy.

    “Let’s look at the facts. Target is financing Tom Emmer’s campaign for governor. Tom Emmer is supporting a Christian group’s efforts in Africa to get them to impose the death penalty on gays. Maybe Tom Emmer doesn’t believe that United States gays should get the death penalty, only African gays. Target supports Tom Emmer because they say he would be good for United States business.Wouldn’t it be nice if a major corporation like Target would not engage in vicious Tea Party politics? Maybe this boycott against Target will fail. That does not mean that I will be shopping at Target soon.”

  26. Submitted by Kevin Whalen on 08/09/2010 - 07:26 pm.

    Steinhafel’s claim that Target thought only of economic issues when it gave money to MN “Forward” is quite revealing. He sees the LGBT community in the same light as all Americans– like everyone else, they’re expected to boost Target’s profit margin without asking for increased tax revenues in return. Like every large corporation, Target wants to take and take without giving back to the community in any structural or meaningful way. This is another sad marker of the slow, painful death of progressivism in Minnesota and America. The social contract between business and citizen is long gone.

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