Challenge Target and Best Buy Antidemocratic Donations

Back in January, the US Supreme Court dealt a serious blow to democracy by ruling that corporations have the same free-speech rights as individuals, thus allowing corporate interests to make almost totally unregulated donations to influence elections.

Taking advantage of this delightful expansion of corporate personhood, Target Corp., which is headquartered in Minneapolis, donated $150,000 to MN Forward, a group that purports to be about job creation, but is a Republican front group run by former staff of outgoing Republican Governor Tim Pawlenty and actively supporting Republican State Representative Tom Emmer as the GOP nominee to replace Pawlenty.

This has caused some problems for Target, which claims to be gay-friendly, since Emmer is, ahem, not gay-friendly.
Target Corp. on Tuesday defended the use of its new freedom to spend money on political campaigns as employees and gay organizations criticized a $150,000 donation that will help a Minnesota GOP gubernatorial candidate who opposes gay marriage.

Chief Executive Officer Gregg Steinhafel assured employees at the company's Minneapolis headquarters in an e-mail that the discount retailer's support of the gay community is "unwavering." He said employees, some gay, raised concerns that the money is helping state Rep. Tom Emmer, a fiery conservative who is his party's likely nominee for governor.

…He said the company doesn't have a social agenda or necessarily agree with all the positions of candidates it supports. "Let me be very clear," he said, "Target's support of the GLBT community is unwavering, and inclusiveness remains a core value of our company."
If that were true, the company wouldn't be donating egregious sums of money to a bigot. It's really that simple.
Monica Meyer, the interim head of the gay rights group OutFront Minnesota, said the gay community has long viewed Target as a supportive employer, and many are surprised by the large donation to the pro-Emmer group.

"A lot of people feel betrayed by this place where everybody goes to shop and you get to see them at Pride and you feel good that you're supporting a corporation that's giving back to the community," she said.
And it's not just LGBTQI groups who are pissed about the donation.
Several shoppers at the SuperTarget in the St. Paul suburb of Roseville — all of them self-identified as Democrats — weren't happy to hear about the chain's political involvement. Viki Karr, 50, said she would like to keep politics out of her shopping and would "definitely" not shop somewhere that supports the GOP.

Pat Mackey, 67, also of Richfield, said she was disappointed in Target.

"I think it is going to drown out the $25, $5 contributions of the average American, and we can't let that happen," she said.
Because the Supreme Court was all too eager to "let that happen," it now comes down to average people tracking corporate giving and making their voices heard in opposition to prevent that from happening.

Along with Target, Best Buy (who's really on my shit list this week), also made a significant donation to MN Forward of $100,000.

Contact Target: Phone: 612-304-6073 / Fax: 612-370-5502.

Contact Best Buy: Phone: 612-291-1000 / Fax: 612-292-4001.

[H/T to Shaker Tiffany.]

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