Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Testing a theory.

The Citizens United opinion came out before we started this blog. At the time, I recall us discussing whether the decision would impact the political contributions given by publicly traded corporations and/or corporations that did business with the public at large. One theory we had was that those types of corporations would not engage in large-scale political contributions because they risked alienating shareholders or customers who belonged to the opposite political party. This thought is encapsulated in the, probably apocryphal, story that Michael Jordan replied "Republicans buy sneakers, too" when asked why he was not supporting former North Carolina Senator Jesse Helm's opponent in an election.

This theory has recently been put to the test in Minnesota. Target has given $150,000 to a political group that supports Tom Emmer, the GOP candidate for governor in Minnesota. Among his positions, Emmer is anti-gay marriage.

Target's donation has been noticed and upset some folks. In response, Target's CEO is trying to do some damage control by emphasizing Target's "commitment to diversity". I predict a similarly sized donation to a pro-GLBT group as soon as the election is over. As an aside, Jon Tevlin reminds his readers that members of Mark Dayton's family founded Target. Dayton, of course, is also running for governor.

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