Report: Controversial Donations Continue At Target

By John Lauritsen, WCCO-TV

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — The campaign season is behind us, but a Minnesota-based retailer is still feeling the heat.

Target Corporation became the target of nation-wide protests and boycotts after it gave money to politicians opposed to gay marriage. Target apologized and vowed to review its donation process, but a national website says nothing has changed.

Jason Linkins, a reporter for The Huffington Post, which is a national news website, says that even after Target CEO Greg Steinhafel apologized, Target continued to give thousands of dollars to politicians across the country who opposed gay marriage.

Target vowed to review its donation process this fall, but Linkins’ article says controversial donations are continuing. He says politicians who support gay marriage are getting some money, but not nearly as much as gay marriage opponents.

“For us, it’s just something we are used to, and sadly used to,” said Monica Meer of the gay rights organization, Outfront Minnesota. Meyer says Target deserves credit for the way it treats gay employees, but she says unfortunately the political contributions are contradicting.

“I think what was disconcerting for a lot of people was their political donations didn’t match the corporate values that they were really good at,” said Meyer.

Target helped pay for a Tom Emmer ad this past summer, and because Emmer opposes gay-marriage, the corporation came under fire. Target’s support for the Emmer ad prompted the organization to run an ad encouraging people to boycott Target.

In response to the latest accusations made by Linkins’ article, Target released a statement saying it “works with policy makers on both sides of the aisle.” And that during the 2010 election cycle, Democrats received 50 percent of Target donations with Republicans receiving 48 percent.

After the ad aired, Target reported sales near the low-end of their expectations in September and October.

It is not clear if the protests and boycotts affected sales those months, but Target reported in November that sales that were “better than expected.”

WCCO-TV’s John Lauritsen Reports

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