As The Wall Street Journal asked, "Is Target Losing It's Cachet?," shareholders were asking CEO Gregg W. Steinhafel about the $150,000 donation to a political group supporting gubernatorial candidate and same-sex marriage opponent Tom Emmer. Never mind that the company saw sales growth in the first quarter. Never mind that new Canadian stores would open sooner than expected, or that profits in Canada were already exceeding projections. Never mind that Target is donating $1 billion to education by the end of 2015 — Steinhafel had to answer question after question about that $150,000 donation (which caused Lady Gaga not to let Target sell her album Born This Way). This left him "sounding embattled and annoyed," WWD reports.
“Following last fall’s election cycles, we created a policy committee to ensure Target considers a broad range of [perspectives] before engaging in political activity,” the chairman explained.
“Fill us in on the thinking of why Emmer’s positions weren’t thoroughly researched,” said a shareholder. “I don’t understand how you could have such an enormous blind spot.”
“Out of respect for the balance of the shareholders, I think we’ve sufficiently addressed that topic,” Steinhafel said. “We listened, we evolved, we have the right processes. Does anybody have a question related to our business that’s not related to political giving? I’d love to hear a question related to something else.”
Somewhere Anthony Weiner is wishing he could tell reporters the same thing.