Friday, August 20, 2010

Target in Bullseye Over Right-Wing Political Donation

by Pa rock
Citizen Journalist

It been mere months since the Supreme Court of the United States opened the flood gates for corporations to pour unlimited amounts of cash into the political process through its controversial Citizen's United decision.  President Obama and others argued at the time that it was a bad decision that would give vast amounts of political power to corporations.  And even though Justice Alito mumbled at the State of the Union speech that the President was wrong in his conclusion, he most assuredly was not.

Late last month the corporate offices of Target showed just how badly corporations can behave in the political process when they donated $150,000 in c ash to MN Forward, a political action group whose main function is to pay for political ads for Tom Emmer, a reactionary Republican candidate for governor of Minnesota who is an outspoken opponent of gay rights.

Target, President Obama, Justice Alito, and the rest of us learned a couple of things after knowledge of this political donation became public.  First, the public can - and in this case, did - weigh-in on Target's decision to help fund Emmer's campaign.  There were petitions (I signed several over the Internet), news stories, and protests in front of Target stores.  The second thing the giant corporation learned was that all of this public anger puts fear in their stockholders, especially the big stockholders such as management firms, unions, and pension funds.

 Three management firms have sponsored a corporate resolution demanding that Target revamp its donation process to avoid the chance of additional incidents of public outrage.  Those three firms, - Calvert Asset Management, Trillium Asset Management and Walden - together hold $57.5 million of Target stock.   The New York state pension fund and some  union investment managers are considering signing onto the resolution, which calls on Target's independent directors to review the criteria and risks in making donations to organizations active in political campaigns.

I am (or was) a dedicated Target shopper who enjoys the fact that the national chain store offers a better quality and variety of merchandize than everyone's bane - Wal-Mart.   But I won't go back in a Target store as long as they continue to support right-wing bozos.   I refuse to enable their public treachery!

So the public has some say after all.   That's good news for the little people, but not to worry - the Supreme Court is probably searching for ways to limit public input into corporate affairs as we speak!


Xobekim said...

In the current election cycle Target Corp. has given a total of $50,500 to House Democrats and $36,500 to House Republicans.

That does not express a true partisan preference, Senate Republicans got more than Senate Democrats. Target Corp gave the upper chamber GOP $72,000 while their Democratic counterparts received $34,000.

Jim Matheson [D-Ut.] led the House with $11,000 and Eric Cantor [R-Va.] came in second with $10,000.

Republican Congressman Roy Blunt, running for the Senate in Missouri tied for first with Utah Republican Senator Robert F. Bennett for senatorial candidates, each taking $10,000.

Arkansas' Democratic Senator Blanch Lincoln came next with $8,000.

Pa Rock's Ramble said...

Thanks for that information, Mike. It is interesting that Target seems to "target" conservative slugs for their donations - people like Roy Blunt and Blanch Lincoln. It is also interesting that the one outrageous donation to the homophobe in the Minnesota governor's race was almost equal to the entire amount that the corporation gave to House and Senate candidates. Mr. Emmer must have truly stuck a chord with their corporate philosophy.

Pa Rock's Ramble said...
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