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USA: Target boycotted for donating $150,000 to MN right-wing Republican Tom Emmer's campaign for governor

by Meena HartensteinNew York Daily News
August 5th, 2010

Mega-retailer Target has found itself in the bullseye of a customer uprising.

In the wake of the company's decision to donate $150,000 to a right-wing conservative's political campaign, former Target shoppers across the country are calling for a nation-wide boycott.

And the movement to protest the super-saver store is gaining buzz – and traction – on Facebook and Twitter, as a petition threatening a boycott of Target rebounds across the Internet.

“Target should stay out of politics, like I am gonna stay out of your store if you don't,” Facebook user Erlene Adair Harvey wrote on Target’s fan page.

Target Corp. made the significant donation to Minnesota political action committee MN Forward, which funds television ads for Republican gubernatorial candidate Tom Emmer.

The company’s support of Emmer has drawn a firestorm of controversy for the candidate’s hard-line conservative views – he opposes same-sex marriage and abortion, and supports Arizona's efforts to pass the controversial S.B. 1070 immigration bill.

When news of Target's donation broke, Democratic political action organization MoveOn.org began to organize a national boycott against the store, creating a petition on its website that screamed, “Target, stop trying to buy elections!"

"The stakes are much higher than one candidate and one company,” writes MoveOn. “If we don't push back hard, this will just be the tip of the iceberg. Other corporations will learn that they can pour money into elections to buy the outcome they want. So we're sending a message to Target's CEO that we won't shop there if Target continues spending money on elections."

The boycott is gaining a groundswell of support, and anti-Target groups and fan pages such as "Boycott Target Until They Cease Funding Anti-Gay Politics" are popping up all over Facebook.

One Minnesota mother even took to YouTube to protest the donation.

In an emotional video that has gone viral, the woman chronicles her return of over $200 worth of Target goods, which she says she can no longer purchase out of support for her gay son.

"They've lost every purchase from my family,” she says. “I’m going to boycott Target until they make this right."

MoveOn is rallying support for an electronic petition, which reads, "I won't shop at Target until it stops spending money on elections. Companies like Target should stay out of elections, period."

The organization says it will present the completed petition to Target CEO Greg Steinhafel.

Target is not the only company coming under attack for making corporate donations. Best Buy also donated $100,000 to Emmer’s campaign, drawing harsh criticism from Human Rights Campaign and others.

Corporate donations to political candidates were given the green light in January, when the Supreme Court ruled in a 5-4 decision that corporations and labor unions can spend directly on political campaigns.





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