Target has learned firsthand the risks in donating to political campaigns, an option that only recently became available to companies thanks to the Supreme Court. The Minnesota company issued a public apology Thursday for making a political donation to a business group supporting conservative Republican Tom Emmer’s campaign for Minnesota governor. Emmer is strongly opposed to same-sex marriage and other gay-rights initiatives, which was the impetus for the widespread outrage that manifested itself in Facebook campaigns, online petitions, and talks of a customer boycott. The $150,000 contribution was said to have outraged a number of Target employees, as well.
Target CEO Gregg Steinhafel wrote his employees to explain the company was “genuinely sorry” and that a review process would be set up to oversee future political donations. He insisted that the donation was made due to Emmel’s position on economic, not social, issues.
“While I firmly believe that a business climate conducive to growth is critical to our future, I realize our decision affected many of you in a way I did not anticipate, and for that I am genuinely sorry,” Steinhafel wrote.