Archive for June 9th, 2011

In a shareholder meeting yesterday, Target executives addressed growing concerns over political actions of the company as well as performance. Shareholders were upset over the $150,000 donation to Minnesota Forward, which is a political group that backed Tom Emmer as a gubernatorial candidate in Minnesota in 2010. Emmer is an opponent of same-sex marriage and the relationship between Target and the candidate sparked a flurry of protests at the time including a flashmob inside one Target store. The singing group even referenced the controversial Supreme Court Ruling in Citizens United v. FEC.




The donation also caused the Pop Star Lady Gaga to end her relationship with Target and urged them to donate to pro-gay rights charities.




Chairman, President and CEO Gregg Steinhafel said in the shareholder meeting that Target “learned a lot last year” and that they “welcome everybody”.  Target Corp. has changed their policy and process on political donations, but some argue that the process has not helped the situation but rather made it less transparent.

Target has been trading at 52 week lows, but the causes are up for debate. The executives of Target point towards their inability to convince consumers to spend on items other than food and other staples. Steinhafel said that shoppers are “still very thoughtful about spending” during these difficult economic times. Although Steinhafel stated in the shareholders meeting that Target is going to remain “neutral” on gay rights as well as “other social issues that have polarizing points of view”, the damage has been done and might continue. The best way to avoid a controversy like this is, as Mike Dean executive director of Common Cause in Minneapolis stated in a newspaper article, to “refrain from political spending”. Citizens United opened the door for unlimited amounts of campaign spending by corporations which can be detrimental to a democratic system. Perhaps the best defense at this point is to boycott those businesses that participate in the process.

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Over 260,000 Americans have told the State Department that they do not want the Keystone XL Tar Sands pipeline to receive a permit. After two recent spills (and averaging one a month) on the 1 year old Keystone pipeline (Keystone XL would extend that pipeline into Texas) it seems obvious that Americans are waking up to just how bad this project is.

Check out KETK for their recent story on the spill and overview of the project.

The State Department will decide soon on whether or not to grant this project the necessary “presidential permit” it needs for construction from Canada down through the central US. The future of energy lies in renewable energy – and that is where we should be investing in new infrastructure. This pipeline takes us in exactly the opposite direction towards a dirtier and more destructive fossil fuel. Contact your congressman and ask them to pressure the White House and State Department not to grant this permit.


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