How does a firm’s political activity affect your willingness to shop at its stores?

Target, Best Buy and other businesses have sparked controversy by donating to a group that supports Tom Emmer for governor. Today’s Question: How does a firm’s political activity affect your willingness to shop at its stores?

  • John Rigby

    In an economy where every family’s dollar really counts, I shop at most stores because of their price, selection and convenience. A company is allowed to have a political idealogy the same as I have a right to mine. I don’t know if a server in a restaurant is republican or democrat, but they still serve me my food and I don’t ask the question. I shop at a store because I need to make a purchase, what they do with my money after I leave the store is thier business.

  • Al

    I think a smart retailer would be better off not supporting politcal candidates.

    While I’m not rich, I do have the ability to make choices on where to spend my money. If I know that a corporation has supported a candidate or issue that I am strongly opposed to, I will avoid them and let them know why. Large corporations can throw their money around to get what they want. I can throw my money elsewhere too. It’s not the same scale, but it is my little way to show my disgust.

  • Joe

    I hope disclosure of contributions continues and I hope corporations see it impact their bottom line then decide it’s better to not make contributions and alienate much of their customer base. For me I have been thinking about grocery shopping at the somewhat farther away co-op and I guess this is just the little push I needed to do so.

  • Patrice Callahan

    I vote with my dollars. All of my purchases take into consideration the bigger economic picture. I support local businesses and US manufactured products – even though they cost more — whenever possible. I have frequently shopped at Target, our Minnesota Corporation. However, I have noticed changes in the layout of the store since the new CEO took over and it is starting to look and feel like WalMart. I support the CEO’s political right to donate money to organizations out of his own paycheck ( which I contribute to indirectly through my purchases) however, direct corporate political contributions are and should be illegal. I will not shop at Target if they make political contributions.

  • Paul Bruesch

    I think it’s very dangerous for a corporation to contribute to radical campaigns like those supporting Emmer. I first got wind of this from my cousin in Colorado. Colorado. I live in Minnesota, but word got to me from Colorado before it got to me from Minnesota, my home as well as Target’s home.

    I’m not fond (to put it mildly) of BIG to begin with. For a BIG company like Target to promote Emmer’s vile campaign turns my stomach and I will further curtail my already curtailed spending at Target.

  • Joanna OConnell

    I do have choices as to where I spend my dollars, and I have always choosen not to spend my at organizations or corporations that donate to candidates whose policies will do direct harm to me, my family, the environment, or my community. In the specific case of corporations supporting Tom Emmer, they have lost my business, and that of my friends. Emmer has directly expressed prejudice and harmful policies towards me, my loved ones, and the values that are important to me. I do not want a single penny of mine to reward any corporation that tries to get him elected.

    To the extent possible, I try to support local businesses whose money goes back into my community:for example, local groceries or coops, local banks; local stores that sell products such as electronic goods, etc; businesses with sustainable practices and policies,employers whose policies towards employees are fair and humane. Interestingly enough, I do not find that I spend more this way; I spend more thoughtfully and live a frugal life without shopping big box megacorporations.

  • Steve

    I believe this strikes at a trend in American politics – the single issue voter. While Target can’t vote, it can spend considerable money on a single issue. Taxes are clearly an important issue to Target, but certain low tax candidates may hold other views, as in the case of Tom Emmer, that many find wrong. Unfortunately, when you vote on a single issue you get the whole candidate – the good, the bad and the ugly – and we all have to live with the results of those choices.

    As to willingness to shop there, yes it does make an impact. Is Target (or other companies) promoting the type of world I want to live in? They are using money I gave them to promote their interests. Do they align with mine? We have to ask ourselves those questions and make wise decisions.

  • Liz

    I and a number of my friends and colleagues have stopped shopping at Target in response to that store’s support of Emmer. I believe, because of the recent Supreme Court ruling that ostensibly allows corporations to contribute enormous amounts of money to campaigns, that citizens must assert their power in this way. It is one way we can attempt to balance that power.

  • Clark

    I will shop more at Target and encourage family and friends to do likewise. These far left socialist democrats are fine when their unions and churches push extreme political views but when a corporation sends money to republican candidates its suddenly evil. Nothing but sore losers who are only happy when their extreme political views are the only views.

    Since I am a republican and high income, the good news for Target and other corporations is I and other high income voters will continue to shop at your stores.

  • Amy

    It certainly could. I was really irritated when the story about Target was first released, but when I read that the money donated to that political group was all employee contributions, I stopped caring.

  • Sue

    This question points out a serious flaw in the US election system, that being “whoever has the most money wins”. Yes, individuals may choose which businesses to support when they are shopping. Yes, corporate donations to political campaigns are common and encouraged under the law. Yes, businesses alienate their patrons whenever they decide to support one or another candidate. Yes, the United States legally treats corporations as “persons”. Anyone who connects the dots knows this to be true. That is why a complete overhaul of our election system is necessary. Corporate money needs to be completely eliminated from politics. That is the only way to even the playing field and clean up the mess our political system is in. One political party is doing just that. The Green Party (gp.org or mngreens.org) does not accept corporate donations. Greens believe that corporations should not be running America, that our duly elected representatives should. Greens understand that corporate contributions are like an addiction and right now both major parties are addicted to corporate contributions! Although the two major parties may believe it’s not in the complete public interest, they can’t stop accepting the money. They can’t operate without it and they feel they can’t win without it. Until this type of issue is resolved, there will be more backlash to businesses showing support to candidates and political parties. Both major parties should work to eliminate corporate contributions. Be part of the political change we need in America, encourage your candidate not to accept corporate donations, vote Green whenever possible and consider running yourself.

  • Jonathan

    Target has every right to make political contributions, but they deserve to either benefit or suffer as a result. My initial reaction is that I will no longer shop there due to the recent flap — and I’ve stuck to that stance so far — but as others have noted, they can right their ship by entering the political fray on other issues. It’s fine to look out for their bottom line, but not at the cost of gay rights, immigration rights, and other morally important issues. So if they want my business back, then take a progressive stance on gay marriage and the Arizona immigration debacle. Otherwise, I can only figure they tacitly endorse all of Emmers’ positions, regardless of what they say to the contrary to placate DFLers within their ranks and their customer base. In that case, I would fully support their willingess to be an independent-minded corporation.

  • Two Harborite

    Wal-Mart – Bad. Target – Bad. Where exactly am I suppose to shop? We don’t earn enough to afford the crunchy stores.

  • Paul Kovacovic

    I do not want do business with corporations that contribute to politicians. It’s not even the corporation’s money! It’s the SHAREHOLDER’S money. And if you have investments that use Target or Best Buy stock, it’s YOUR money. A corporation should not be able to spend your money to influence political outcomes and social issues.

  • Bryan

    I was upset by the news about Target and I decided to return my last purchase from the store. I do not plan to shop there again until Target withdraws funding or contributes a similar amount of money to an organization I agree with.

    Overall, I really do not agree with the recent Supreme Count decision allowing corporations to have unlimited spending for political means. Let’s be realistic and recognize that corporations can’t think like individual people. On a political level, most corporations are only concerns with profits. And not concerned about people, health, or the natural world.

  • Logan Aimone

    One donation isn’t enough to make me stop shopping at Target. It should also be noted that Target didn’t donate directly to Tom Emmer’s campaign but to an organization that says it supports candidates of any party with common goals.

    I haven’t shopped at Walmart in a decade because of the corporation’s anti-union tactics and support of charter schools over public schools. As a former public school teacher, I didn’t want to spend my money there at all. It helped that I had other options.

  • Patrick

    I find it offensive that Target would donate to an avowedly anti-gay rights candidate and then send a letter to its employees that diversity and equality remain some of its top values. Companies like Target can’t expect its employees and customers to let it have things both ways. A company needs to choose a business ethic, whether that be simply making profits or standing for something more, and stick with it. Target has clearly chosen the former, and until it changes its approach, its claims to support its GLBT employees ring hollow. I won’t be shopping there until I feel they’ve proven otherwise.

  • I have been paying attention for years to how businesses I support function in the communities that fund them. Avoiding big box and national chain stores as much as possible has become my lifestyle — they rarely contribute in a positive way to the health of the world — but I had made an occasional exception for Target and a few others. Now it looks like Target has voluntarily checked itself off my list entirely. I think the recent Supreme Court decision to allow corporations to fund political campaigns as if they were individuals is going to turn around to bit these companies in the backside. I just hope legislation will pass that will make it mandatory for all companies to disclose their donations so we know what they stand for.

  • If I disagree, I’ll avoid the firm if possible, but generally it’s a moot question since corporate interests try to exert their influence secretly. Note how republicans blocked disclosure from campaign finance legislation yesterday.

  • Best Buy and Target have lost my family and my business’s retail dollar for their support of Tom “I won’t cut your wages” Emmer! Shame on them!

  • Susan Marschalk

    Target and Walmart are basically the same store and typically sell items at lower prices. Most people cannot afford to participate in boycotting a big box business based on an activity they perceive as unethical. I oppose everything that Tom Emmer stands for – I believe he is an ideologue, does not support the well being of children and will lower the quality of life for Minnesotans even further than Pawlenty. However, the real issue is that businesses now have the ability to act as an individual. They should not be allowed to support political campaigns. Whether Target and Best Buy supports a democrat, an independent or a republican many of us are outraged by the Supreme Court decision. They do not represent the voice of the people who vote. All of us should stand together on this issue, not engage in useless arguments.

  • jamex

    Frothing, spittle-flecked wingnuts on both the left and the right notwithstanding, I’m not inclined to significantly alter my spending habits based on a piece of news such as this.

    Target contributes to Republicans and Democrats across the political spectrum – typically more to Republicans, but not always.

    Target also contributed money to Keith Ellison’s campaign. Does that make you, Clark, less inclined to spend your money there? I mean, he’s not even an American, since he’s a far left socialist Muslim and wouldn’t swear his oath of office on a Bible!!!!!! (Hint: That was sarcasm.)

    How about you, Joanna? Wouldn’t you like to support a company that contributes funds to someone who supports values that are important to you?

    Making a decision to boycott a company based on a single piece of information is pointless. A company is more than its political contributions. Target is a corporate behemoth, and I would prefer to support smaller and local businesses when possible. But Target also makes contributions to the community at large – about 3 million dollars a week, by their own account.

    If I tried to trace the path of every dollar I spend, I would find that at some point it helps someone that I find distasteful. Every dollar I spend on gasoline or coal-powered electricity supports the carbon-based energy industry. But it also supports a local franchise and pays the wages of the guy behind the counter so that he can feed his family. And when his wife shops at the local grocery store, she’s putting that money – *my* money – in the hands of dozens of different companies. And from there….

    I’ve got better things to do with my time.

  • richard

    Once again a mega corporation decides that it only wants to deal with politicians it can buy off. They tell us that they are contributing to a non partisan organization that only happens to support Republicans. The CEO is contributing to the Far Right’s current Poster Girl Michelle Bachman. Now if they feel the need to contribute to the party responsible for destroying 8 million US jobs and bankrupting the US economy that is their choice. Not to mention supporting an extremist anti – American conservative ideology. But to lie about it and say they are non partisan is a slap in the face to the customers who are regular Americans struggling to get by. They may not be too happy knowing that Target lies to them and will not own up to supporting this far right wing ideology that is bringing down their standard of living.

    So yes it definitely will make me look for an alternative. It caused me to stop shopping at Walmart completely.

  • Steve Goecke

    Corporations should not be allowed to contribute money to political organizations. Period. I will not shop at Target or Best Buy anymore. Our democracy should not be linked to capitalism. We should have publicly financed elections. What’s next? In-store marketing campaigns linked to specific candidates like Tom Emmer. Perhaps Target will give a dollar to Tom Emmer’s campaign for every package of Twinkies you buy! Will the checkout person ask if you’d like to make a direct contribution to Tom Emmer with your purchase? Paper, plastic, or Tom Emmer? Maybe Best Buy should show clips from Tom Emmer’s political speeches on all their HD television displays.

  • Duane

    Before we go overboard demonizing Target and other corporate contributors, lets look at the damage that the SEIU and the Teachers Union are doing to our education system and the pension obligations of the city and public employees. Private corporations have done a much better job of controlling costs than has been done in the public sector. If we are going to rein in the escalating national debt, we need to do a more responsible job in performance and value given and less demanding of personal reward being done by these public employee union.

  • What’s even more odd is that generally speaking, educated and middle- or high-income folks are not homophobes and at the same time, do not shop at Wal-Mart but had no problem working with Target. So now they’ll also be crossing Target off of their list. Why would Target want to alienate part of their base?

    Support Tom “I won’t cut your wages” Emmer? What were they thinking?

  • Ann

    I do pay attention to corporate policies when I shop/invest. I have never set foot in a Wal-Mart because of their labor policies, I was proud of Target. Now what’s the difference? Corporations should not contribute to political campaigns. I won’t be shopping at Target, Best Buy, Cambria . . .

  • Renee

    Now that corporations are making more political contributions, it dramatically affects where I choose to spend my money. If I contribute to the profit margin of a company then that company contributes funds to further a political agenda, I am in effect supporting that political agenda. Corporations need to understand that it’s fine if they want to further a political agenda that benefits the business environment, however if the candidates are supporting an agenda that is adverse to my community or to the constituents of that area, there are going to be consequences. I think they made a very bad decision to contribute such a large amount of money to an organization that is so strongly socially conservative. I think they have the right to encourage a healthy business environment, but that’s what the Chamber of Commerce is for. If Target is going to further the political careers of the likes of Emmer, Bachman of Palin, then Target needs to be prepared for the consequences. Because that is no longer about supporting a pro-business political agenda, but supporting an anti-equal rights agenda. I take it as a negative sign that Target would contribute $150,000 to further a socially conservative political agenda and $0 to a progressive political agenda.

  • Chris

    Maybe this will get people to shop at local stores for once. I don’t care how Bob the hardward store owner votes, and I don’t care about the $50 he gives to campaigns. It is a big deal where Large (faceless) companies put their money, because they will swing elections. Big companies aren’t people, and they don’t have the same interests in mind when they spend money on campaigns.

  • Michelle

    I believe completely in walking the walk and not just talking the talk. I absolutely take into account where my hard-earned money is going; and if by me purchasing items at Target is helping a cause I do not believe in, I will cease to give my money to them. Yes, it may cost more money to buy things from local shops, but money isn’t everything. That’s right, it’s time capitalism had a taste of its own medicine. I have a choice of where I want to spend my money; it certainly doesn’t have to be Target, Best Buy, or Wal-Mart.

  • Susan Dean

    I will not being shopping at Target during the election. I am appalled at their support of Emmer and don’t wish to contribute to his cause. Susan

  • EAL

    Several years back then Senator Mondale mocked then President Reagan for his hardline strategy in negotiating with the former Soviet Union. Minnesota then was the only state in the union to support Presidential candidate Mondale. In the final analysis, As former Soviet President Gorbachev stated, President Reagan drove the stake in the heart that broke the U.S.S.R. All this to say that I doubt if those who are not happy with financial support for Tom Emmer would not be happy if the money went to the DFL in support of their political agenda. Single issue people are…shallow.

  • Steve

    A company political activity is not going to affect my shopping habits-i am a maniac for value and have extreme shopping habits. What the views company has, is not of paramount importance to me- i look at the store itself and the product and i try to be an educated consumer before patronizing a business!

  • Karen Monson

    There are shareholders and employees who do not support this candidate or party-it is not right that the leaders of these corporations, representing their employees and shareholders, using the money earned or invested by these people, turn around invest in political candidates of either side. It is unethical. As far as Target especially, and Best Buy, Polaris etc, I am so disappointed in their short- sightedness and inability to see the negative impact these conservative policies have had on their bottom lines – that they would continue to support them and the inequality, anti-community policies of these dandidates is troubling. I will not shop at these stores any longer and will encourage my friends and family to do the same.

  • Jim G

    Target’s, Best Buy’s and Cambria’s decision to support Republican candidates hit me in my emotional gut. This will affect my future expenditures. That’s why Mitch McConnell, R.-Ky., and Senate Republicans are planning to filibuster against disclosure of the identities of corporate donors. Corporations have be given super-human status by this Supreme Court decision. They have almost unlimited resources to affect elections, they don’t die a natural death, and they are not held accountable, by anyone. The unethical behavior of Wall Street firms and executives is an perfect example of what to expect down this road of corporate fascism.

  • laura

    i wouldn’t contribute my money to Emmer (since I don’t support him or agree with his agendas), hence i will not give my money to target. there are many other stores around that I can and will shop at. Target is the closest to my house, but i am more than willing to go elsewhere so that my paper towels, socks, etc do not support a candidate that in my opinion is not right for Minnesota.

  • Barry

    I would not boycott Target, but knowing their political leanings, I would tend to look elsewhere for goods normally purchased there.

  • Elsa

    I don’t think corporations should be donating money to political campaigns, or PACs like Minnesota Forward. Individual employees are welcome to support whoever they want to, but the firm itself should not be allowed to make political contributions. I’m glad this has been publicized. I will not shop at Target again until they change their policy. That makes my life more difficult (because Target is so convenient!), but it’s a sacrifice I feel I have to make so that I can help send a message to Target that this is inappropriate.

  • Krista

    This does bother me. I have shopped at both and I will not be shopping at either one at least until the election is over with. Which sucks for them because I have several weddings to attend that have registries at Target and that is where I always go. I wonder if a few of the couples will pull their list since they represent what Emmer and apparently Target appose(their response letter was weak). How sad and very Un-Minnesotan of Target and Best Buy.

  • Linda Barclay

    I am no longer a Target shopper. This issue is important enough to me that I am happy to adjust my shopping habits in order to offer my business to other concerns. Target has added to the divisiveness of politics in our country, when we need to try to heal the wounds instead of opening them further. I am sick to death of conservatives’ efforts to force their so-called moral views on the entire country. I don’t think it’s a retailer’s place to lean one way or the other, politically or morally. What really disgusts me is that Target has used money that I have already spent there to make this outrageous move! Now, the only way they can make amends would be to contribute an equal amount to a more moderate or left-leaning organization, try to balance the scale as it were. It would have been better in the beginning if they’d have donated to a non-partisan general election fund, if they wanted to be involved in politics at all. I’m cutting up my Target card and making my views known to the company’s leadership. I hope more people will do so.

  • CJ

    The fact of the matter is that in a capitalistic society, every purchase is a political act.

    Make your arguments about bargain shopping if you want (ever heard of the Sal Val?) but the fact remains that when you pay for products at a corporate store, you are supporting it and all it stands for. You may not want to be held accountable for that choice. You may want to rationalize it if that choice goes against your ethics. The fact remains:

    Every time you buy something in the United States, you might as well be standing in a ballot booth.

    If more consumers had full realization of their purchasing power, instead of believing they are helpless victims of big business (and the ignored hidden costs of corporate rock bottom prices), this country would be a very different place indeed.

  • Corinne Smith

    Over the history of our country, our political system has been significantly distorted by our financial system and interests. The government no longer operates based on the country’s founding principles or on what is best for its citizens or for our country as a whole. Corporate leaders and corporations have more money with which to influence the government than most of us will ever have. Politicians listen money more than to average citizens’ letters and concerns.

    Because dollars are now the controlling factor, the least I can do is shop, to the extent it is possible, with businesses and corporations that are either politically neutral or that support my political perspectives. If corporate leaders support candidates I do not, that is their right. If the corporations take strong political stands, that will influence my shopping.

    Target is now on hold with me.

  • Kat Conlin

    I’m very disappointed that Target has made a public stand for a right wing candidate. Target’s funding for the arts, education and social services is a huge asset to our community and dwarfs their involvement in politics. Because of this, I will continue to shop there, but I think Target’s corporate support of Tom Emmer will ultimately backfire.

  • Joel Clemmer

    There are two things wrong with the MN Forward phenomenon:

    1.) We are creeping toward the position that corporations have the same constitutional rights as citizens. This was not the intent of the Founders and is dangerous to the rights of individuals.

    2.) Companies like Target are making our participation in the commercial market into an act of political preference. This distorts both our political and our commercial lives and is ultimately harmful to both.

    Joel Clemmer

    St Paul

  • Paul Scott

    I can’t believe Target’s CEO is this out of touch with his shoppers and employees. I will shop elsewhere.

  • Bill

    Target senior management does not understand the value of a brand.

    Companies develop brand identities, and good ones develop brand personalities. A brand personality means you are willing to bring it into your home, be identified with the brand, and place trust in the brand. If you develop a brand personality, persons identify with you–you are a Target person, not a Walmart person.

    If you begin to equate brand identity with your identity, then WHY would a corporation EVER endorse a political candidate of any party.

    Ever had a relative or worker you avoid because of their political views.

    Yes.

    Target senior management does not understand the value of a brand, or the value of their brand. They should not be involving their brand in politics–either way–and if they do, they will lose business.

    So, you have to question the ability of senior management, and their cluelessness in understanding the concept of brand identity.

  • Steve the Cynic

    Target Corp. evolved out of the Dayton’s department store chain, which was more of an asset than a liability to the community. So far, Target has maintained a reputation for community-mindedness that reflected its origins. Now, however, it’s supporting a candidate who embraces individualistic, anti-communitarian values (Tom Emmer), who is coincidentally running against Mark Dayton for governor. There’s something vaguely Oedipal about this.

  • Marsha Conner

    I believe that the Supreme Court’s decision to allow corporations to give money to political candidates is wrong. Target’s decision to give to a political candidate is wrong. This is another great reason to pass election reform. Target is off my shopping list.

  • Shane

    I have always loved Target, but now I really love Target!

    Is it any surprise that corporations are supporting “conservative” political candidates? Why would they support someone who wanted to tax and regulate them out of existance, like all democrats, or “progressives” as they are called now. Anyways it doesn’t even come close to the amount of money unions and trial lawyers throw at the left.

  • Steve the Cynic

    On the other hand, at least Target was open about contributing to Minnesota Forward. For the most part, I have no idea what the big corporations I buy goods and services from do behind the scenes. For instance, how can I know whether claims of environmental friendliness aren’t really just greenwash?

  • Sue de Nim

    I would respect a corporation that contributed equal amounts to each of the candidates, in the interest of fostering open political dialog.

  • Sally Pundt

    I have been a loyal Target customer, but I’m very disappointed that the corporation has chosen to make a political contribution that benefits a candidate with a divisive social agenda. I will not shop at Target because I don’t want my money going to support such a cause. I used to praise Target for its generous community support, but now their political contribution has me wondering about the sincerity of their public image. If corporations are going to try to influence elections, the voting public can counter with a vote against them at the cash register.

  • Linda

    The media (including MPR) has made this into a GLBT issue, and not the possibility that many people who are not GLBT strongly object to the fact that Target is supporting this right wing extremist. I sent Target an email explaining my objections to their donations, and their response was that Tom Emmer and his ilk are good for business. They are for jobs and economic growth. Does that mean that other candidates are against jobs and economic growth? I don’t think so!! Well, my reply is that if a candidate if BAD for your customers, how can that be good for business? Target does not seem to get this.

  • Sandra Larson

    Most large corporations already influence politics, pushing the country further Right by giving large sums of money to the Chambers of Commerce and a multitude of political lobbying efforts. Now we are confronted by the newest muscles they have been given by the US Supreme Court–the ability to give directly to candidates. This is another blow to our democracy.

    In terms of Target, this company has the most nontransparent charitable giving program in the Twin Cities, albeit they give to charities of their own choosing. It seems based on their huge emphasis on marketing instead of community benefit. This time they blew the marketing outright.

    I’d have to tar Best Buy too for giving to Emmer’s cause. I will try and avoid both Target and Best Buy and others who jump into direct political support, but it looks like we Davids are up against many powerful CEO Goliaths and that is disheartening–but what is new? All we can hope is that those of us who care about the democratic process will carry this battle to the election August 10th and beyond.

  • Monica Frytak

    I have always favored Minnesota companies when making purchases. With this highly public political activity, it will make me rethink this practice.

    How can alienating half of their employees and customers be good for the bottom line? This does not seem a good business decision.

    At least we have been made aware of this activity in Minnesota. Other states are not so lucky. We need public disclosure of all political contributions.

  • Mike Hicks

    While driving to work today I heard on MPR a comment by someone who claimed that the only people who are upset at Target are the angry “left wing” liberals, and only because they donated to a GOP political campaign. This, unfortunately, couldn’t be further from the truth. The issue is Tom Emmer’s publicly known negative opinions on homosexuality and citizens of the GLBT community, and the fact that Target is supporting his position by contributing to his campaign. Whether they are direct contributions or indirect contributions, the money gets to him regardless. So on one hand you have Target supporting events like the MN Aids Walk, TC Pride, and other various GLBT shared/owned organizations, but on the other hand Target supports a political figure that has extreme anti-gay views and an anti-gay agenda. This is where the largest bulk of the issue lies.

    I completely understand that any business would like to support a political figure who touts that he or she will create policy that will help businesses grow, or even flat out pay less taxes, or whatever, and being that Target is a business I understand why they would like to support this political figure with respect to his or her “business-friendly” policies. But what about the other policies that this politician would like to legislate? What if these policies will negatively affect the quality of life for some citizens? I’m a gay man, and I have many friends who are straight and support equal rights for the GLBT community on all levels. Some of these friends are very conservative from a political standpoint. But at what point can I start to expect my [conservative] friends to say, “You know what Mr./Ms. Conservative Politician: I like your jobs policy, I like your taxes policy, but I don’t like the fact that you want to continue to treat members of the GLBT community as 2nd or even 3rd class citizens just because of who they are. So, until you decide to treat them as equals you won’t have my vote.”? Why couldn’t Target do the same?…

  • Patricia

    Allowing corporations to contribute unlimited money to political campaigns drowns out the effectiveness of a middle class individual’s donation and diminishes the power of our vote. I have very strong political views and concerns, and any corporation contributing to certain candidates will lose my business. We have been witnessing the practices and response of big Oil in the Gulf regarding employee safety, environmental protection, acceptance of responsibility and pending restitution. Anyone remember how that worked out for Alaskans in Valdez years ago?

  • Dave

    When I vote for a political candidate, I usually have to choose the least-worst. Same goes for choosing which big corporation to do business with. Despite these political contributions, Best Buy and Target are still the least-worst when compared to the likes of Wal-Mart, sad to say.

  • Amanda

    A company’s business practices are more important to me than their political views (and both are subject to change!). I don’t want to live in a country with a single prevailing ideology. If I don’t like something, does that mean I’m the final authority on it? I hope not. I wish we spent more time listening to opposing views than complaining about them.

  • Elizabeth T

    The issue at the core of this: the unlimited money donations allowed corporations, which is due to an extremely conservative-biased Supreme Court deciding corporations are “people”. Target has the “right” to give its money to political campaigns/organizations because Our Legislature gave it that right. It’s not inherent; it’s based upon U.S. election law.

    If you like this … fine. If not, you’d better get the Legislature to change the laws. Boycotting Target won’t change anything.

    Where does Target give its other millions of dollars that they pride themselves on donating to worthy causes? I would be interested in MPR doing a story on *that* … where else are my Target-customer-dollars going? And how much are they getting compared to this group? A person might be more likely to solicit/avoid the company if they knew where *else* money is going.

    Am I going to ask for a political position paper from the owner of every single store I use? I go to the ‘local’ grocery store for expensive non-organic milk when it’s the only thing I need because it’s within 4 blocks of my house & my kids’ cereal bowls are empty. I have no clue if the owner is GOP/DFL/ETC & don’t care.

    People go on and on and on about soliciting local businesses for no other reason than their location. Their track record for fair wages and benefits matter more to me than whether they’re giving money to a polarized political organization.

    and, ultimately … Sorry, Target diapers & wet-wipes are really the best on the market and cheapest. I’m not going to buy someone else’s, no matter who Target is giving their money to. Target is the only place which carries some items I choose not to do without, so I buy them there. I go there primarily for food (& diapers) … if not, I’d go to Cub Foods. Where do they give corporate money?

    **** If people are SO worked up about this, they need to DEMAND their legislators pass a bill requiring companies reveal their political donations. If you want a single-issue for election, this might be a better choice. This way you can actively give you money to companies which support your own ideals, regardless of left/right. Don’t like abortion? Don’t shop where the owner gives money to Planned Parenthood. Support LGBT rights? Don’t shop where they give money to anti-gay organizations. ****

  • Renee

    @ Mike Hicks: You hit it EXACTLY! If it were only about the contribution to MN Forward, that would one thing. (still not a good thing, but an isolated thing) My problem is, as you pointed out, the fact that the CEO is personally anti-gay rights. So there is ZERO way to accept the reasoning that the $150K went to MN Forward for pro-business reasons, not when it’s the CEO who made the decision to give that $150K. I have no doubt he would have given $150 directly to Emmer if he could have, but since he couldn’t, he worked the loophole of giving the money to MN Forward, knowing full well they will in turn spend it on Emmer’s ads. So in effect, he used corporate money to further his own anti-gay agenda.

  • Catherine

    I have chosen to get active about this issue about Target’s support of Tom Emmer and other controversial views and I’ve written to Target about it. Their bland response went right into the recycle bin. There are consequences to this activist Supreme Court decision furthering the support of corporations as having the same rights as “individuals”, and this individual is adding her small voice to protest large sums of corporate money supporting candidates, no matter what their political views, by staying out of Target, Best Buy, who else? It’s my visceral reaction to Tom Emmer’s straight idealogical stance that told me this matters. Thank you Target for becoming a lightening rod for this issue.

  • Tom Thompson

    I will be taking note of businesses that contribute to political campaigns. I expect that many will give to both sides. I also expect that most businesses will give to Republicans. Giving to Emmer will cause me to avoid Target and Best Buy. I already don’t shop at Walmart. What I have yet to hear is whether these contributions made by businesses are considered business expenses. Also, do businesses have to limit contributions according to election laws. I hope contributions don’t decrease business tax liability in any way and I believe it is only right that if they can contribute, which I don’t believe they should be able to, they have the same limits as individuals. I think the Supreme Court decision allowing businesses to contribute to political campaigns decrease the ability of our nation to operate as a democracy.

  • Corporations are “synthetic life forms” whose only ethic is to grow and defeat obstacles to their growth. No matter who is CEO or sits on the Board, that is their drive. Likewise, they understand no subtle reasoning or sophisticated ethics. Therefore, the only way the public can limit their predations is through boycotts and the like.

  • John Hatzung

    I’m not inclined to patronize businesses that use profits from my patronage to support political positions I consider bad for the community.

  • Matt

    I will continue to shop at Target because I like the stores and because it is a MN company that employs thousands of people in our state who pay taxes that support our quality of life. The donation is relatively small in the world of political spending, and very small compared to the millions of dollars Target contributes (every week!) to issues and organizations I do support.

  • Ron

    Yes.

  • Mert

    Target has been my first shopping choice for a long time. I’m having second thoughts about it’s political orientation, Supreme Court ruling notwithstanding.

  • John Helgerson

    To castigate or punish a corporation for exercising its constitutional right to participate in the democratic process is patently misguided, if not an outright contradiction of the American political system.

    Moreover, critics who see corruption in every corporate act are blinded by their own prejudice. Corporate executives are no more likely to reap a payoff from politicians than are farmers, consumers receiving government subsidies or main street businesses.

    The criteria for me to not do business with any company consists of illegal acts, dishonesty, immoral actions and other acts clearly against public policy.

  • Kirk

    I will no longer consider shopping at these businesses.

  • David Walsh

    Target should understand the power of perception better than anyone since brand is all about perception. In one fell swoop Target, Best Buy and others have colored their brand as “right wing” which will negatively influence not only my shopping behavior but that of millions of others.

  • Stephanie Molstre-Kotz

    I’ve already stopped shopping at Target. Perhaps that is a good thing since I now need to find smaller stores that carry the same thing. I will also bring this issue to the attention of others. It is rather sad, I really liked shopping at Target.

  • Michael Bowler

    I have been boycotting Target since their contributions to a PAC tipped the governor’s election 4 years ago to Governor Pawlenty. I do not believe that it is wise business policy to take money derived from their customers and direct it to a political candidate and to bypass shareholders at the same time.

    Fortunately, I have found an alternative store that has a policy that rules out contributions to political candidates.

    Certainly it is now within a firms rights to contribute to a political candidate but is it really beneficial for business? And it is important to acknowledge that it is also the right of the customer to organize and participate in a boycott.

  • Martha H

    It is clear that those who disagree with Target other corporations for making PAC contributions are anti-conservative, and one has to wonder if contributions to a PAC supporting a Democrat would draw the same reaction. Since this PAC is backed by the Chamber of Commerce comprised of literally thousands of businesses, these people will have to narrow their shopping choices to a very select few merchants. They need also get prepared for Conservatives to regain control of the Minnesota legislature, the U.S. Congress, and most likely the White House.

  • Tom

    1. I think that free speech is for individuals not for mega corporations.

    2. Corporations have an unfair advantage because they have all the money and influence so they diminish my citizenship by their size and relative power.

    3. By supporting Tom Emmer they think they are fostering conditions which will help their companies. While doing that they are fostering conditions which will diminish my way of life making them my political enemy.

    4. I will never shop in these stores again. Ever!!

  • TJ UpNorth

    The 5 U.S. Supreme Court Justices who voted to incorporate our political system have committed an outrageously destructive attack on American democracy. That decision must be overturned soon if democracy is to survive.

    As for Target, the company is apparently run by fools who think their customers are not paying attention.

    We are outta there and will be encouraging everyone we know to shop elsewhere too!

  • Susanne

    I emailed Target and Best Buy and told them I didn’t like having a proportion of the money I spend at their stores (and I am a good customer of both) go candidates with views so opposite my own. In addition I told them that I didn’t like corporate gifts in general (as opposed to personal gifts by employees), but that I would not be back at Target or Best Buy until I heard that they had made equal donations to the Democrat and Independence candidates. I also emailed my relatives from around the country and asked them to join me in this action.

  • John Thiel

    I haven’t shopped at Target since they threw in their lot with Pawlenty against Hatch by funding attack ads. This just reinforces my decision to never shop there again.

  • Judy Bromen

    I’ve been shopping at Target for many years to support a ‘Minnesota corporation”. However I have not been in Target since the announcement was made, and will not be back in the foreseeable future.

    Link

  • Mary

    I believe the Supreme Court’s decision needs to be over turned by legislation. A corporation is not an individual and shouldn’t have the same rights to influence elections as an individual person does. I do not give contributions to candidates I do not support. I will not give my hard earned money to corporations who support candidates I do not support, be them Republicans, Democrats, or Independants, or racoons. The power of the purse does speak, and it speaks loudly.

  • DH

    A company’s political activities do greatly affect my decision to shop there. I’m done with Target after this and I’m glad to see so many others are too. Disappointing behavior.

    I also am very disappointed in the Supreme Court ruling and hope it is soon overturned.

  • mary k

    I find Target’s choice of support for this political right wing agenda and candidate for governor unsavory and discouraging. I am a Target fan and generally respect its community values. Target grew up here. This state has been very good to it as a business.

    I will not shop Target because of the damage the right wing political agenda and style is doing to our democracy and our state. Their money is my money. I dont want my money spent destroying us.

  • Sue

    Political contributions made by corporations impact where I spend my money. I will not patronize Target or Best Buy until they decide to discontinue their practice of contributing to pac’s who support candidates who do not support the civil rights of all people, or do not support tough drunk driving legislation, or offer no specifics on where he or she would cut the budget to deal with the shortfall and apologize to their employees and customers for entering this political arena.

  • Amy

    I wish there was a way I could boycott unions who have, for decades, given vast sums of money to left wing organizations that I do not support. It’s particularly galling when their salaries are paid by my taxes.

  • Brian T.

    To me, the more than $150 Million Target contributes every year to charitable causes, community organizations of all kinds and schools, including schools throughout Minnesota, far, far outweighs a $150,000 PAC contribution — no matter who the PAC supports — and I will continue to shop at Target and the other businesses. I don’t hear any of the dissenters refusing Target’s contributions to their communities.

  • Nancy Stigaard

    I have never patronized Domino’s Pizza because of their political activities. Several years ago Target backed a pharmacist when s/he refused to fill a prescription for the morning after pill. I then moved my prescriptions away from Target and have not patronized them since. I do not smoke or drink and avoid Kraft and other brands owned by Winston-Salem. I am sure that not getting my money does little to their bottom lines but I will not add to their profits. I agree with a previous post when they said these companies have the money and power and they diminish my voice as a citizen. I was very disappointed when the Supreme Court said it infringes on their free speech.

  • Jamie

    Target lost my loyalty when I heard they had donated money to the group that was instrumental in defeating Mike Hatch 4 years ago (I also haven’t liked the shopper-unfriendly changes they’ve made in their stores in the last several years). Now that I know about Best Buy, I will stop shopping there, too. I already knew that KSTP’s owner was a right-winger — you can tell by their news broadcasts — so I haven’t watched them for a long time. I don’t want my hard-earned money filling the pockets of right-wingers, whether directly or indirectly (via PACs).

  • Maureen

    When I heard of Target’s contribution I went to their website to tell them that I will no longer shop there. There was no place to give them feedback. Thanks for allowing me that forum. I’ll shop at my corner drug and neighborhood hardware store even more. I plan to return a mouse I just bought at Best Buy. I already have used the computer I just bought there and so will not return it. I am shopping for a Blueray player and will not buy it from Best Buy. If they think Emmer is good for business, I’ll take mine elsewhere.

  • Mark Viste

    I’m not sure it will change my shopping habits. But I don’t think I’ll feel as comfortable in the stores any more. It’s hard to keep thinking of Target as a friendly place knowing they agree with Emmer, for instance, that ending the minimum wage would be good for business.

  • Benjamin

    It is naive to expect any company to invest money pandering to every potential political view that customers may have. Just as most people who have commented have shown, people support the candidates they choose for selfish motives.

    It is important to remember that first and foremost, it is a business’ prerogative to continue to do business, in this case, to continue to remain competitive (expanding, lowering prices) and serve customers in a quality capacity. How can a business financially support other community and social causes without first ensuring they have the funds necessary? To extrapolate from this instance that Target is anti-gay, or pro-war, or another unrelated hot-button issue, is folly.

    Target was making no social statement, it donated to an independent, non-partisan group apparently on the issue of taxation and favorable business climate. Is it the fault of Target that there is no candidate who represents the interests of both the corporation as well as the entire population of Minnesota?

  • Al

    I see Tom Emmer is now saying the backlash against Target is getting too personal. Would leading the charge to keep a person from marrying the one they love be considered personal, Mr. Emmer?

    Maureen – The contact form you were looking for is

    http://www.target.com/gp/help/display-contact-us-form.html?displayLink=tci

    Also, Target received a 100% rating from the Human Rights Campaign as one of the Best Places to Work for LGBT Americans. You can e-mail cei@hrc.org and ask them to reconsider the 100% rating. There is a 15 point deduction for activities which undermine LGBT equality. I suspect they are already reviewing the rating, but a little encouragement couldn’t hurt.

  • Betty

    I will stop buying ANYTHING at Target!

    I consider my dollar is my vote. The ideologies that Mr. Emmer espouses do not reflect the values which most Minnesotans share. He is a mouthpiece for the wealthy, and he and most Republicans work only on their behalf. If Target is going to support him directly with money, then I won’t buy anything from Target again.

    In addition, I think corporate donations to any political campaign should be illegal. Corporations are not individual persons, and the law should not treat them as having the rights of citizens. Most Americans believe in this principle.

    I will work to get this principle back into law, and I will also work to change the Supreme Court balance back to a more moderate and progressive court, which is more reflective of the beliefs of the American public. The decision on corporate donations should make all voters realize how important all elections truly are.

  • Lois

    I always liked Target, but changes in the stores in the last couple of years don’t suit my needs, yet I’ve still gone there. I avoid Wal-Mart. Best Buy has clerks who are knowledgeable, so that is a plus. However, maybe the issue should be should we re-think SHOPPING LOCALLY so that the profits stay local and the pay goes to local people. And the local store owners, who probably make only enough profit to give small donations as individuals can do that, rather than spending out money where the corporations can give 6 figure donations, regardless of right or left policies.

  • brian f

    Wow. It’s kind of hilarious to watch people completely lose their sh*t over something without even having any of the facts straight. The sad thing is that they don’t even care if their knee-jerk reaction is idiotic, because now they’ve made their “rational” (?) and principled stand, and to hell with any new information. It would be nice to talk with each of the 80-90 commenters and ask them to answer a few basic questions regarding the actual facts of this situation. *sigh*

    On a completely unrelated note: I wonder why political discourse in our country is so full of stupid…

  • DNA

    I am officially boycotting Target.

  • DNA

    I boycott, especially if there’s a choice to have the product or service provided by someone else (especially thru barter)

    My new criteria includes if the candidate is willing to end the War on Drugs. Promote Hemp For Victory! – Public Safety Through Regulated Distribution, Not Ganster Distribution. Energy Independence – Through Biomass Gasification & Renewables.

    End Corporate Personhood – End Corporate Domination of Government. Soverign Inalienable Rights are the Domain of Natural Persons, Period!

    Single Payer Health Care – Cut Medical Costs in Half; End Pay or Die Mercenary Medicine.

    Guaranteed Right To Public Education – Education Free of Charge, Cradle to PostGraduate…

    you know, important stuff like that.

    I’m checking out http://www.votewright.org/votewright2/

  • Linda

    The president/ceo of target has an email address Gregg.Steinhafel@target.com

    It is my opinion that individuals should be able to contribute to whatever political party they choose, but businesses should stay out of politics.

  • Carolyn B

    I think it was a stupid business decsion

    on Targets part.

    It makes them controversial.

    It has changed how I feel about Target, and not in a positive way.

    Just because you can do something does not mean it is a good idea or helpful.

  • Corporations and PACs like MN Forward that do not understand the links between social responsibility and good business deserve to fail. If I was a Target or Best Buy stockholder, I’d be screaming for the resignation of the CEOs

  • Carl Cronk

    CAN YOU BELIEVE THE VENOM?

    As usual, the “lefties” are full of righteous indignation over, and all for censorship of all opinions other than their own.

    They want “business” and “corporations” gagged” and “hobbled” because they have “unfair advantages” over ‘the people’. Show me ANY business that EXTORTS money from their customers/members to be used for THEIR Political purposes like the Unions! Show me ANY company that gets away with the antics of the UAW, SEIU, NEA, etc. You NEVER hear stories of TARGET, GM, or anyone else bussing or flying people to rallies, — or multiple voting precincts.

    Companies invite their employees to participate —- Unions ORDER participation —- often at the level of thuggery.

    This is America (or at least it used to be). Come On! These flaming-liberal-politicians have destroyed this country in 18 months. Every company in America is at risk! And these Yahoos are livid because the “companies” (which are made up of people, too) want to support a politician that might enable them to survive our current insanity.

    Give me a break!

    I say, Unions, PACs, Companies, Corporations should ALL have to play by the same rules. And their BEHAVIOR (individual AND group) be governed by the same rules/laws — with consistent enforcement! That is America!