Target & Best Buy Announce New Policies on Political Spending
Target Corporation (NYSE: TGT) and Best Buy (NYSE: BBY) have revised their policies on political spending in the aftermath of the nationwide controversy that erupted following last summer’s contributions to MN Forward, an independent political committee that funneled money to a gubernatorial candidate known for his extreme opposition to lesbian and gay civil rights. The new policies culminate months of review by both companies.
Target and Best Buy made contributions of $150,000 and $100,000, respectively, to MN Forward. After the contributions were disclosed in state filings, Target in particular drew the ire of retail consumers, gay rights organizations, and those concerned with the proliferation of corporate political spending in the aftermath of the US Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision in 2010. A nationwide boycott ensued. Target’s CEO Gregg Steinhafel issued an apology, but the company did not ask for its funds to be returned.
The contributions also disturbed the company’s shareholders. Trillium Asset Management (“Trillium”), Walden Asset Management (“Walden”), the Calvert Group and Domini Social Investments, quickly filed shareholder proposals at Target, Best Buy and Pentair and 3M as well, two other companies that gave large donations to MN Forward. Numerous shareholders joined in co-filing the resolutions, including foundations, religious investors, additional investment firms and individuals.