Target's tea bag-loving CEO lands company in hot water

GLBT groups were pissed off last week when they learned that Target Corp., which they thought of as gay-friendly, was backing anti-gay marriage Republican candidate for governor Tom Emmer through $150,000 in seed money to MN Forward. But Target's public support for Emmer is merely a mirror of its CEO's private preference for Republicans, including Crazy Congresswoman Michele Bachmann.

Federal campaign finance disclosures show that Gregg Steinhafel and his wife have personally donated tens of thousands of dollars over the years to the Republican Party of Minnesota, and the campaign coffers of Bachmann, Erik Paulsen, John Kline, former Sen. Norm Coleman, a whole string of House and Senate candidates from around the country, and George W. Bush. Just lately, he kicked cash into Tim Pawlenty's Freedom First PAC. (Read our 2005 take on the color of Target's politics here. And for an in-your-face look at Target's hypocritical approach to gays, check out our Top 8 Gay Target Products.)

Now, thanks to the headlines generated from the pro-Emmer ad, it's not just GLBT folk who are raising a ruckus. Progressive groups have caught on to the bullseye's red-state leanings; the hugely influential leftie blogs Think Progress and Daily Kos are just the latest to jump into the fray.

Emmer's other extreme views include advocating nullification of certain parts of the Constitution and declaring health care reform unconstitutional. He also embraces Arizona's far-right immigration law and once proposed chemical castration for sex offenders.

And then there's Emmer's tight-fisted take on waiters and waitresses we followed the past few weeks:

Emmer's -- and, apparently, Target's -- idea of "economic growth" involves slashing the wages of working Americans. This month, Emmer proposed cutting the minimum wage for service workers who receive tips, such as bartenders and waiters. Attempting to justify these cuts, Emmer claimed that some of these employees earn "over $100,000 a year."

Target's public face on all of this has been to attribute its politics to support of business-friendly politicians.

And Steinhafel's isn't apologizing in a recent letter to employees upset about their company's anti-gay politics. He reminded them of Target's support for GLBT-friendly policies, organizations and events -- all of which run counter to the big money he and the company are putting behind anti-gay and pro-Tea Party candidates.

There is just one sign, however, that Steinhafel recognizes Emmer's name is becoming PR toxic: He never mentioned Emmer's name once in the letter. Read it here at MinnPost.

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