Best Buy joins Target: Adds $100K donation to MN fund that supports anti-gay politician [video]

Posted by JD Uy
July 27, 2010 11:10 PM |

''In the wake of the court decision, Minnesota business groups formed MN Forward, a political action committee headed by Brian McClung, a former spokesman for Gov. Tim Pawlenty. Target, Best Buy, Red Wing Shoe Co., Polaris and several other Minnesota-based companies have donated more than $1 million — Target topped the list at $150,000...

'''Best Buy's contribution to MN Forward provides support for candidates with policies that focus on issues encouraging job creation and economic growth... While the governor's race is receiving the most attention at this point and MN Forward has released a TV ad in support of Tom Emmer, the group is also going to be involved in state legislative races and will be supporting both Democrats and Republicans.'''

From an article, by the Pioneer Press, about donations made by some of America's most unavoidable "big box'' retail stores to a political fund that supports Tom Emmer. He is reportedly a Republican conservative who does not support gay rights, and he expressly says he is against gay and lesbian marriage equality. Emmer is running for governor of Minnesota. (Pioneer Press)

In January, the US Supreme Court split 5-4 on "Citizens United" -- a ruling that grants businesses the ability to contribute big dollars to political interests. Many observers of that case have forewarned of corruption and other consequences stemming from the "right-leaning" Court's landmark decision. They say that the Court has removed a long-held legal dividing wall between large corporations and their ability to influence political contests. Both Target and Best Buy are reported to be based in Minnesota. And, previous to this issue, both companies were highly regarded by HRC, the nation's largest gay rights organization.

A representative of the fund, called MN Forward, tells Pioneer Press that the organization's interest is "jobs and the economy," adding that they are "not involved in social issues." Indeed, in the commercial (below), Emmer is portrayed as being pro-job creation and, superfluously, he is framed as a proud father of seven. In contrast, what the ad does not mention is that Emmer is also proud of his restrictive positions against both gay marriage and women's rights to reproductive choice. And, perhaps not unrelated to the larger issue, Emmer has said that Minnesota's richests citizens need to be given significant tax cuts to keep them in the state.

''A lot of people feel betrayed by this place where everybody goes to shop and you get to see them at Pride and you feel good that you're supporting a corporation that's giving back to the community.''

Monica Meyer of OutFront Minnesota, a gay rights group that is angry at a hefty donation made by Target Corp. Gay groups believe that the $150,000 of cash and consulting is likely being used for ads to promote a Republican candidate, Tom Emmer, who is opposed to gay rights. (AP)

''Target should recognize that its support of Representative Emmer's campaign supports his toxic social agenda, significant parts of which involve targeting GLBT people, immigrants, and low-income workers for discrimination and marginalization.

''Target should be aware of the damage to the lives of GLBT Minnesotans that its spending in support of Representative Emmer will have. Because of this, OutFront Minnesota calls on Target to do the right thing and make amends for the damage it has done by taking back its donation to Minnesota Forward, or by donating an equal amount to a political committee or cause of its choice that works to combat the attacks, dehumanization and marginalization of GLBT people, immigrants, and low-income workers represented by Emmer and Minnesota Forward.''

From the website of OutFront Minnesota which has written this public letter to the CEO of Target, a company that is usually seen as very gay-supportive. Target gave $150,000 to MN Forward, a pro-business PAC that is running campaign commercials in favor of Tom Emmer, a conservative candidate for governor of Minnesota who proudly campaigns against gay marriage. Nothing yet appears to have been posted on the site about Best Buy's reported $100,000 contribution. (OutFront)

''Target's support of the GLBT [gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender] community is unwavering, and inclusiveness remains a core value of our company.''

Gregg Steinhafel, CEO of Target, reacting to a backlash that his company's $150,000 political donation appears to have created. Star Tribune reports that both employees and customers have contacted Target Corp out of concern that the money is going to support a controversial candidate, Tom Emmer. His platform states that he "protects traditional marriage" for "one man and one woman" unions -- a/k/a no equality for the gays. (Star Tribune)

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