targetEfforts by Target (TGT) to mend a rift with the gay community ground to a halt Monday after the retail giant rejected proposals to donate money to gay-rights organizations to offset an earlier donation to a group backing the election of a conservative, anti-gay gubernatorial candidate.

In response, the Human Rights Campaign said it would continue to protest against Target, which gave $150,000 to pro-business organization MN Forward in its effort to help elect Republican Tom Emmer governor of Minnesota, where Target is based. The donation has sparked calls for a Target boycott.

In the past two weeks, HRC said it put forth two tentative agreements, but the retailer declined both of them.

"If their initial contribution was a slap in the face, their refusal to make it right is a punch in the gut, and that's not something that we will soon forget," HRC President Joe Solmonese said in a statement. HRC also said it plans to make an equivalent contribution to help elect a pro-equality governor and legislature in the state.

Closely Watched Confrontation

The nonprofit is weighing whether to suspend Target's perfect "100" score in its Corporate Equality Index, a measure of gay-friendly workplace policies. HRC is also eying Best Buy (BBY), another Minnesota-based retailer that has made donations to MN Forward. The gay-rights group said it has sent a letter to Best Buy management but hasn't yet heard back.

For now, Target is taking a wait-and-see approach. The controversy has prompted calls on Facebook and other social-networking sites to boycott the retailer. Groups in support of Target have surfaced, too.

Target's handling of the confrontation is being closely watched as it is the first case in this election cycle of a company hit by national protests caused by a campaign donation, the Los Angeles Times reported. Earlier this month, liberal advocacy group Moveon.org called for a boycott against the retailer, arguing that Target is, in essence, trying to buy elections.

On Tuesday, Moveon.org released a TV ad urging Americans to boycott Target. The 30-second ad will run on national cable and local Minnesota broadcast channels for a week. The ad states in part: "Boycott Target. Our democracy is not for sale."

Opening the Floodgates to Political Funding by Corporations

Target made the controversial $150,000 donation in July. The company, along with several others, took advantage of a recent Supreme Court ruling and have poured money into MN Forward, raising nearly $1.2 million ahead of the state's primary elections, held last week.

In January, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in a bitterly divided case that the government cannot ban political spending by corporations in candidate elections. The decision was seen as opening the floodgates for well-heeled companies to fund candidates that favor their business interests.

Earlier this month, in response to the outcry caused by the political donation, Target CEO Gregg Steinhafel issued a statement apologizing for the hurt the $150,000 donation may have caused Target employees and consumers. "Going forward, we will soon begin a strategic review and analysis of our decision-making process for financial contributions in the public policy arena," the letter read.

Still unclear is what damage the protests will have on revenues and profits at Target. The company is due to release quarterly earnings early Wednesday for the three months ending June, well before the controversy surfaced. It may not be until November before any impact of the boycott can be measured.

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gopditzs

Fine Target! Guess you forget Gays buy lots of clothing and have been one of your main consumers in the last 30 years through good and bad times! Also guess you forget that Gays usually are high achievers who have above average incomes to spend discretionary of which do so as keep up with current trends ascetically! Now we know now to not direct clients, buyers, friends, family, organizations, or neighbors to your outlets for furnishings as they love see what gays think when they change decor and lets not forget gays love to change decor seasonally not just every few years! Pandering to the silly mentally derange radical right is defeatist in the long run since they are a diminishing group who are not just getting old and do not buy stuff like gays, the youth and organizations since the Radical Right are dieing off physically and socially! Short term gains will fuel you longterm demise being queens never forget such hatred and submitting in a environment of resurgents of the last stand for the silly childish bigoted radical right which will not last a single decade at best do to they live as cretins and hate change, reality, science and wish to keep the US looking like the President on their money and we all know in business that the white consumer is a dieing breed fast!

August 18 2010 at 11:45 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
jvl1983

I think that is hillarius that you can give as much as you want to a gay rights group without any problems but If you give to a group that THEY do not approve of then you some how OWE them and equal donation or be accused of being prejudice are we not in America anymore doesnt anyone remember what we are supposed to be about well I guess all the gay's only care about getting there cut I thought the mafia were all italians? I guess it a new world

August 18 2010 at 3:22 PM Report abuse -1 rate up rate down Reply
duey35

I guess the Gays aren't above blackmail. Go figure.

August 18 2010 at 11:24 AM Report abuse -1 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to duey35's comment
gopditzs

Like you do not do the same and do not have the very same hypocrisy you are whining about Dwight? I do think you protest to much; especially since I have documented comments of yours of recent past, showing how hypocritical your allegation is towards others you wish to disparage and just do so do to your past experience as a reformed homosexual as you claim to your wife and church!

August 19 2010 at 12:55 AM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
glenn blackwell

Target is trying to maintain their 100% rating on the Corporate Equality Index. Their work place policies don't discriminate against homosexuals. So they have to balance by making money donations to right-wing hate groups. By November, profits from Texas and the Southeast can make up for boy-cott loss. Target can bring in large numbers of Wal-Mart business from those states. They can profit from these mindsets: if they bring back the lay-a-way program. Capitalize on hunting season: Add rifles, ammo and gun racks to their inventory. USA theme t-shirts made in China, for these people thinking they buy American. Salute male-female romance with camoflage ladies lingerie in extra large sizes. Also bring in a country western celebrity with a history of homophobic material. Fortunately, Target and Wal-Mart are on opposite sides of the street. And I can drive between them....on the way to Sears and Kmart.

August 18 2010 at 10:49 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
spikeritz

This gives me a reason to shop at Target. Any company or state that will not deal with Homos or illegals gets my money. And I have a lot of money.

August 18 2010 at 9:33 AM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
2 replies to spikeritz's comment
rtanner2201

aha lol piece of ****

August 18 2010 at 1:05 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
gopditzs

From my 80 years of experience those who brag about wealth really have very little; especially compared to their claims! But hey I am sure you put up a good show and have lots of bills for your fancy bling as you struggle to prove you are all you claim to be versus those who drive trucks till the wheels turn square and live in the same home they bought 50 years ago. You keep your bills, bling and bigotry and I will stay comfortable not shopping at places who abuse others if they are labor, migrants, gays or women and leave a legacy as well my foundation will help others beyond my immediate family long after you and I are long dead. Difference as well i will a notation in books versus you will be doing good to have a headstone; much less anyone who bothers to care such!

August 19 2010 at 1:03 AM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
ford4x4ldy

I think we'd all be very surprised to find out just how much of our America is foreign owned. Its all about money. Walmart may be owned by an american family but its products are mostly from foreign countries because its cheaper to buy there. Target is a good company, no matter who owns it. They do not discriminate against anyone. Its become ridiculous in America because every group thinks they're being discrimated against for some reason or another. Grow up!

August 18 2010 at 9:25 AM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
silksdamnman

I have no problem with Target contributing to a campaign of their choosing as they see fit. I don't shop there personally, due to them being foriegn owned. If things keep going like they are, America will be owned by foriegn countries before we realize what happened. Unfortunatly, our society doesn't care where it comes from or who their buying it from. They want what they want, when they want it and they don't care where they get it, as long as they get it for a price their comfortable with.

August 18 2010 at 8:43 AM Report abuse -1 rate up rate down Reply
2 replies to silksdamnman's comment
Carolyn'sCritter

YOU my dear are 100% correct. Unfortunately it's to late China already owns us lock, stock and barrel. If they called in what is owed to them right now we'd go under for real. This "recession" would look like childs play. I don't see the prices of homes going down at all, Walmart junt increased prices (of hard cat food in particular that I notice as I shop there for that as I do cat rescue so I know. We are a nation of spoiled brats wanting what we want, when we want it and at a cost that we are comfortable with just like you said.

August 18 2010 at 10:11 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
grrdgal

C CRITTER, we are also a society who has come farther then any other, our inventions light the world, feed the world and point the direction in which all others seem willing to follow. Is it any wonder we are like we are? Other societies such as Stalinist Russia, Maoist China and Nazi Germany were far from the example we are. The world envies us. Some to the point of hatred, and you buy into their hatred by feeling guilty for living in America, like an American. I REFUSE TO FEEL GUILTY FOR BEING A PRODUCTIVE AMERICAN OR FOR LIVING LIKE ONE. TO THE HATERS, I SAY,"KISS OFF." TO THOSE WHO WANT A SIMILAR LIFE, COME OVER (LEGALLY) and BE PRODUCTIVE.

August 18 2010 at 10:48 AM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
b12boy

Sure am glad that target is resisting this shakedown. " just give us money and we'll call it good " Thats extortion and target should be lauded for reisting it. I'm going to go spend some money at target today.

August 18 2010 at 8:13 AM Report abuse +3 rate up rate down Reply
ajake712

I will boycott Target. jake712

August 18 2010 at 8:02 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to ajake712's comment
grrdgal

I SUPPORT TARGETS RIGHT TO SUPPORT WHOMEVER IT DEEMS WORTH THEIR SUPPORT. I BOYCOTT THE HRC AND ITS BULLY TACTICS IN THE "FREE MARKET".

August 18 2010 at 10:54 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
rlocicero

kweeden, if life was as you describe it, we'd all have been dead 100 years ago. Lighten up.

August 18 2010 at 7:32 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply