Target CEO just sorry he got caught; opposition spreads

Print thumbed its nose at Target CEO Gregg Steinhafel’s mince-mouthed apology for its donation to pro-Tom Emmer group MN Forward and upped the rhetoric against Target today. Ilyse Hogue, the group’s Director of Political Advocacy and Communications, said its members “will continue to escalate our fight against Target until they stop trying to subvert the will of the people.” 

“Steinhafel’s apology amounts to nothing more than saying ‘I’m sorry I got caught, I’ll be more careful next time.’ This is completely unacceptable when hundreds of thousands of Americans have said clearly they don’t want there to be a next time-Target should not be trying to buy elections at all.”

Hogue says 260,000 people have so far pledged to boycott the store in response to Target’s donations to an independent expenditure group supporting Republican gubernatorial candidate Emmer, who’s been linked to anti-gay groups and legislation.

While the Human Rights Campaign earlier called for Target to make equal donations to gay rights organizations, appears to be pushing Target to withdraw completely from the electoral process, something that Common Cause Minnesota has also requested of the company, urging it to enroll in Common Cause’s clean elections pledge.

Opposition to the company’s meddling in elections seems to be spreading, with immigrant advocates taking to the streets in Minneapolis last night to protest the company’s contributions to Emmer, who they said also takes toxic stances against immigrants, including support of English-only laws.

It also appears that Target’s HR interns can’t keep up with the flood of negative comments posted on Facebook. As of this morning, here’s how the page appeared:

Target’s Facebook page dominated by debate over political contributions.



Despite backlash against Target, MN Forward continues to rake in corporate donations

by Patrick Caldwell

After providing an outside political organization with $150,000 to run ads for Republican gubernatorial candidate Tom Emmer, the Target Corporation has come to symbolize the dangers posed by the Citizens United Supreme Court ruling. The corporation’s CEO issued an apology letter after LGBT and immigration advocates protested the donation. National organizations such as have turned against the company and the controversy was highlighted on MSNBC. For the company that was often know to progressives as the labor and LGBT friendly alternative to Wal-Mart, it has been a rough two weeks.

Despite the heat — and calls of boycott — Target has faced, campaign finance disclosures reveal that other Minnesota corporations have continued to give funds to MN Forward, the independent expenditure committee that ran the pro-Emmer ad. Since the last filing period in the middle of July, six corporations or trade associations have contributed $345,000 to MN Forward. The group of donors cover a wide array of industries and include well known local institutions such as Red Wing Shoes and Holiday, a local gas station chain. (Neither company returned phone calls for comment this afternoon.)

These donations may or may not be directly related to Emmer. MN Forward released a new list of endorsements Thursday that included a mix of Democrats and Republicans, though the Emmer commercial is still the only ad the organization has produced. With these latest donations, MN Forward has raised over $1.1 million. Previous corporate donors included Best Buy and beauty salon business Regis Corporation.

The new donations since the last filing period:

Holiday Companies: $25,000

Cold Spring Granite Company: $35,000

Red Wing Shoe Company, Inc.: $50,000

Pentair: $125,000

Federated Insurance: $100,000

Insurance Federation of MN: $10,000