While Target’s senior executives, including CEO Gregg Steinhafel, have historically donated overwhelmingly to Republican candidates, the Minnesota Independent is reporting that a Political Action Committee run by Target that funneled employee contributions to candidates in federal elections donated roughly equal amounts to Democrats and Republicans since 2000. The Target Citizen’s Federal Forum Political Action Committee has distributed $1.4 million over the last 10 years, the Independent reports, including $400,000 this year. 57% of that $400,000 has gone to Republican candidates and PACs, but since 2000, the Target PAC has donated 67% of its money to Democratic politicians and causes.
MinnPost’s David Brauer reports that even Steinhafel has given to prominent DFLers in the past. Minneapolis Mayor RT Ryback told Minnesota Public Radio that, before the CEO donated to GOP candidate Tom Emmer, Steinhafel gave him the maximum personal donation of $2,000. Why? Brauer says the answer lies in Target’s status as Minneapolis’ biggest employer, and Ryback’s tax proposals made during his run for governor:
A few hours after my tweet, Rybak called. He said during his governor’s run, he told Steinhafel he would raise his income taxes – but not Target’s corporate taxes. That pledge won him the support of many business leaders (though it helps explain why many union types refused to support Rybak at this year’s endorsing convention).
Rybak also noted he supported and worked on Target’s downtown efforts before becoming mayor, but opposed the sheer magnitude of the subsidy.
Rybak said he didn’t support “in any way,” Target’s corporate donation to MnForward, but wanted to be sure the Steinhafel’s full record was known. He said the Target CEO didn’t ask him to call reporters; he had just heard erroneous statements that Steinhafel gave exclusively to the GOP. (By the way, I couldn’t find another donation to a Democrat in state or federal databases.)