Investment firms urge Target and 3M to refrain from "controversial" political donations

Categories: Business, Politics
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Two investment firms are urigng Target and 3M not to repeat the mistakes of 2010.
The donations Target and 3M made in 2010 to a Republican-run anti-gay group continue to land them in hot water a year and a half later.

Yesterday, two large progressive investment firms -- Trillium Asset Management and Green Century Capital Management -- announced they have filed shareholder resolutions at Target and 3M respectively. The resolutions urge the companies to refrain from making political donations this year.

Though neither Minnesota company is a particularly large political contributor, the investment firms singled them out because of their 2010 donations to MN Forward, a group that supported Republicans running for elected office, including then-gubernatorial candidate Tom Emmer.

Target and 3M both have corporate non-discrimination policies regarding gays, yet gave $150,000 and $100,000 respectively in 2010 to MN Forward, which supported Emmer and his anti-gay marriage stance.

A press release issued by the investment firms notes that Target and 3M were singled out because of that "controversial" donation.

Meanwhile, Corporate Counsel reports that Common Cause and U.S. PIRG are sending letters to more than 700 business, including all S&P 500 companies, asking each to sign a public pledge renouncing the use of funds from their corporate treasuries for political purposes.

The report quotes a Green Century shareholder advocate as saying: "Given that corporate political spending may have a long-term negative correlation to shareholder value, and Target's first-hand experience with contribution-related backlash, we believe companies should protect against risk and refrain from using treasury funds for political purposes."

The message the investment firms are trying to send is simple: Don't piss off your shareholders, customers, and employees by supporting divisive political candidates. And for God's sake, if you're going to market yourself as a gay-friendly company, don't contradict yourself by supporting candidates who aren't.

With another election season about to heat up, we'll see if Target and 3M learned their lesson.

See also:
-- Target's gay problem keeps getting worse
-- Target apologizes for funding Tom Emmer ad


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5 comments
E K
E K

Ah, yes, Emmer and his famous "anti-gay marriage stance".  The same stance made by Barack Obama in 2008.  By this logic, any money given to Obama in '08 was bigoted, too.

By the way, that controversial "anti-gay" front group MN Forward is a pro-big-business group that favored Emmer over Dayton for obvious tax based reasons - none of which have anything to do with whether or not Seth and Carlos can get married or if we carry on with the thousands of year old marriage status quo.

Kirk the Conservative Jerk
Kirk the Conservative Jerk

So they want Target and 3M to be "bigots" in the way they hand out contributions?

"Target's first-hand experience with contribution-related backlash"?  What backlash?Did Target's sales slump?  noDid Target's stock price slump?  no

Apparently the "backlash" is in the eyes of this beholder, and clearly not focused on reality.

Oh BTW Target, make sure you withhold that "Controversial" $25,000+ that you give to Minneapolis' "Pride Fest" every year.

johnny
johnny

I'm of the opinion that any/all 'incorporated entities' including unions, churches, and companies be banned from making ca$h or in-kind donations to any political animal.

Pass the 'savings' along to clients, customers, and employees and let the individual decide what to do with their own dollars.

Michelle Bachmann
Michelle Bachmann

Republicans make anti gay bigotry the focus of government when they are in power.  That's why the Tea Party really only accomplished putting the anti-gay amendment on 2012 ballot once they were in charge of the Minnesota legislature.     If MN Forward supported canidates based on a business decision they sure made a poor one.   The Republicans they supported have done nothing in Minnesota that is pro business, instead they made sure everyone in Minnesota is paying higher property taxes.   I suspect MN Forward is just a bunch of Republican assholes who support Republicans no matter how poor they are for business. The Republicans that MN Forward helped elect have been the biggest collection of corrupt idiots Minnesota has ever seen.    Did Target make a good investment in making sure cheating hypocrite assholes Amy Koch and Michael Brokarb were put in charge of the Minnesota Senate?     As a business owner when I am deciding if I should do business with people I look at what those people are all about and make a decision.   Right now the Republican Party is $2 million dollars in debt.    What ass clown would think people who are so stupid they can't even run their own finances should be put in charge of the state?   Oh yeah, the corrupt lying assholes at MN Forward.   Since when is it pro business to put Amy Koch in charge of something?     Stupid Republicans, try learning something once in your pathetic lives. 

Atrupar
Atrupar

Well, Target's sales slumped in 2011, but that was a bit after the Emmer controversy, so you may have a point. The issue is that a lot of liberal-minded folks who have invested in Target stock were disappointed the company chose to support a polarizing gubernatorial candidate. It's a matter of walking the talk.

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