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Target revises policy on political donations, but little has changed

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Target has revised its policy on political contributions, following a furor that arose last year when it was revealed the retailer had donated money to a political action group that supported an anti-gay candidate for for Minnesota governor.

In July 2010, The Minneapolis-based retail chain gave $150,000 to the Republican-friendly fund “Minnesota Forward,” a political action group that campaigned on behalf of gubernatorial candidate Tom Emmer, a staunch opponent of same-sex marriage, who, in 2007, authored a constitutional amendment to prohibit same-sex marriage and civil unions.

News of the donation drew protests by the LGBT community, Target became the target of nationwide boycotts, and the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) stripped the retailer of its perfect score on its annual Corporate Equality Index, and dropped it from its annual buyers guide.

Target now says it has conducted a thorough review of its policies regarding political actions and contributions, and that a committee of senior executives will review a political contribution before it’s made.

The Minnesota Independent reports:

On Thursday, Target announced a new set of policies around corporate political contributions.

Now, before general corporate funds can be used for political donations, they’ll have to go through a policy committee comprised of senior Target executives that’s “responsible for balancing our business interests with any other considerations that may be important to our team members, guests or other stakeholders,” according to the new policies posted on the Target website.

The policy committee will be in charge of those decisions regardless of whether the contribution is to an independent group such as MN Forward or to a political action committee.

The change doesn’t necessarily mend any fences with local LGBT advocates.

In December, a report by The Awl revealed that Target continued donating to anti-gay politicians even after CEO Gregg Steinhafel reaffirmed the company’s long-standing support for gay rights and committed to reforming the review process for future political donations.

The broad language of the new policy – “the use of general corporate funds for political contributions is permitted if the Policy Committee determines that would be an appropriate means of advancing issues that are important to our business” — simply means that Target will continue donating money to candidates who are friendly to the company’s corporate interests, regardless of their position on LGBT equality.

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Filed under: National Headlines

11 more reader comments:

  1. I used to buy from them after I read their poster about giving 10% to local charities. I should have known better: just another greedy corporation.

    Posted on Saturday, February 19, 2011 at 6:04pm
  2. And, i’ll continue NOT to spend my coins at Target.

    Posted on Saturday, February 19, 2011 at 6:05pm
  3. I support Target! Just because they donated to someone who supported anti-gay rights doesn’t mean that Target is anti-gay. They need support from multiple people of different beliefs. And Maggie, 10% is very generous from a corporation like Target so let’s lay off. I don’t want to seem ignorant, but Target is a well respected company. <3 BORN THIS WAY! <3

    Posted on Saturday, February 19, 2011 at 6:09pm
  4. Actually Zach, it isn’t as great as they make 10% sound as they are not giving that 10% to gay causes only, most locally owned business donate far more to the glbt communtiy in almost any major city than has a Target.

    Posted on Saturday, February 19, 2011 at 6:13pm
  5. @Zach -while I appreciate your comment, thank you, when I did more research, I was uncomfortable with the number of right-wing organizations Target donates to. I have very little money to spend – the least I can do is try to buy from more open-minded businesses.

    Posted on Saturday, February 19, 2011 at 6:17pm
  6. Well yea, locally owned businesses. Target is a little bit different. My argument is that not everyone has to focus on the LGBT community. There are other charities out there too. I’m 100% for equality. I’m gay, but I feel that Target has the obligation to donate to as many charities as it can.

    Posted on Saturday, February 19, 2011 at 6:20pm
  7. @Zach – I wish you were right, but people like you & I don’t pick their charities: their corporate honchos do.

    Posted on Saturday, February 19, 2011 at 6:35pm
  8. And now yet another BIG BOX store is about to invade Canada.I for one do not shop at any of these type of stores.Their Human Rights(concerning staff) are terrible and they have taken away many manufacturing jobs and have put of of commission many small businesses.The bottom line isn’t the only thing that matters people!!

    Posted on Saturday, February 19, 2011 at 6:38pm
  9. Target is a corporation. There going to do what is eat for shareholders and that means what is good for the bottom line. You vote with your wallet. If you don’t like what they are doing don’t patronize the business.

    Posted on Saturday, February 19, 2011 at 10:39pm
  10. I love Target and can’t wait for it to come to Canada !!!

    Posted on Sunday, February 20, 2011 at 10:55am
  11. suprise suprise

    Posted on Tuesday, February 22, 2011 at 3:26pm