Posts Tagged ‘citizen united’

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.

Read Full Post »

By Ali Rawaf and Andy Wilson

This election cycle will be the most expensive midterm in US history. With money pouring in from big corporations and foreign entities, this election has become more about how much can a candidate raise than it is about debating the real issues at stake. It is estimated that more 80 million dollars have been spent this mid-term election with most of the money going into Republican pockets (6 times the Democrats) which is 80 percent more than what was spend in 2006 at this point. 5 billion dollars is the total estimate for the whole mid-term elections. I, and many others, attribute this mess to a recent Supreme Court decision in the Citizens United case, which made legal for corporations to spend unlimited amounts of money without having to disclose any information about the entity which made the contributions.

And voters agree:  Our elections are being bought and funded by corporate interests.  And it’s not just progressive activists: folks from the Tea Party are saying almost the exact same things as liberal activists.


The money is being channeled through individual groups like American Crossroads, run by Karl Rove, Bush’s former political strategist, and Ed Gillespie, former head of the RNC. Rove’s group has committed more than 5 and half million in tc ad buys, which is only ten percent of what the group promises to spend by November 2nd.  And then there’s the nice-sounding but actually shadowy and sinister Americans for Job Security, which has committed 7.5 million dollars so far, 88% of which went to supporting Republicans. Another one of these organizations is American Future Fund which gave every dime of their 6.8 million dollars to Republican candidates.

The Chamber of Commerce is also playing a big role in this mid-term cycle. The chamber is waging a campaign of attack ads against the democrats– but in this case with the Chamber, thanks to some super-awesome gum-shoeing, we know where the money comes from. Foreign entities. That’s right, a report published by Think Progress shows the Chamber of Commerce has received money from Saudi Arabia, Kingdom of Bahrain, India, France, and many more countries. To that you should say, “I want my country back.”

Considering the Chamber’s major targets, it’s a worthwhile endeavor to question their motives: they were opposed to health care reform, climate change and clean energy legislation, and financial reform.  Of course, we can understand why the Chamber would protect the profits of Wall St and the Big Banks, and also why they’d oppose measures that threaten the profitability of the for-profit medical industry like, oh, getting rid of pre-existing conditions or placing a cap on the amoutn your insurance company can charge that goes directly to overhead and profit rather than medical care for their clients.  But the stickiest wicket is climate change and clean energy.  Sure the Chamber is protecting their friends in the oil and coal industries.  And birds go “tweet.” But why would they be taking foreign money to do this?  From China and OPEC countries?  Couldn’t be that China would prefer to gain a huge competitive advantage over us in the fastest-growing sector of the worldwide economy: clean energy technology.  Or that the Saudis and the state oil company of Bahrain would prefer that we continue to stay addicted to their sweet, light crude. Or that by opposing financial and health reform they can leave America broke and sick.  Nah.  I’m sure we should just take the Chamber’s word for it that they aren’t using any of their foreign money to fund these ads.


Read Full Post »