Bulls-eye remains directly on Target as controversy continues

Thu. August 12, 2010 7:21 PM by GoPride.com News Staff

HRC and Target in closed door meetings

San Francisco, CA - Despite an apology last week from Target for its $150,000 donation to fund anti-gay politics, the controversy has not gone away.

The Los Angeles Times reports the company is in closed-door discussions with Human Rights Campaign (HRC), the largest gay rights organization in the country. HRC is demanding that Target make an equivalent or greater donation to groups supporting gay rights candidates.

As leverage, HRC has reportedly threatened to come out against the construction of two new Target stores in San Francisco, a city where gay rights groups have strong political influence.

Gay allies in Chicago, including Mayor Richard M. Daley and Ald. Helen Shiller (46th), were instrumental in the development and subsequent opening of the Target location in Uptown last month.

Openly-gay state Rep. Greg Harris (D-Chicago) was at the opening on July 20. After Target's donation became public six days later, Harris told ChicagoPride.com, "Companies like Target need to understand that they can't have it both ways when it comes to issues of our basic rights, and that the facts will eventually come out. I hope that they will rethink this contribution and find a way to make it right."

The controversy began when Target gave $150,000 to a right-wing political action committee (PAC) known as Minnesota Forward, which in turn bought television ads for Minnesota Republican gubernatorial candidate Tom Emmer.

Emmer is seen as a social conservative and opposes same-sex marriage.

Target Chief Executive Gregg Steinhafel apologized to employees last week saying the company's intent was to "support economic growth and job creation."

MoveOn.org, a liberal advocacy group, says the apology is not enough and accuses Target of trying to buy the election.

Target's campaign donation is one of the first to gain national attention since a recent Supreme Court decision to allow corporations world-wide to limitless contributions to American election campaigns. 

Political analysts say Target's experience will most-likely cause corporations to think twice before contributing to political campaigns in the future.

Electronics-giant Best Buy has also been criticized for its $100,000 donation to Minnesota Forward and the Emmer campaign.

Emmer will face one of three Democrat gubernatorial candidates after the Aug. 10 primary. All three Democrats support legalizing same-sex marriage.