Target Corp. sought to take advantage of new campaign-finance rules, but ended up putting a bull’s eye on its back.
The Minneapolis retailer recently donated $150,000 to a political group, Minnesota Forward, that backs pro-business candidates in statewide races, including a candidate for governor who opposes same-sex marriage. On Friday, hundreds of gay-rights supporters demonstrated outside Target stores in locations nationwide, and a petition promising a boycott, signed by more than 240,000, was delivered to Target.
The Target flap shows the potential downside for companies that want to get more involved in politics since a January Supreme Court ruling on campaign contributions. Brand-oriented companies, in particular, worry about getting embroiled in controversies that can tarnish their reputation. It is a rare political black eye for the trendy discounter, which has a track record of supporting gay causes, including extending partner health benefits to its employees.
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