Is Target Still Paying the Price for Citizens United?

For indispensable reporting on the coronavirus crisis, the election, and more, subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily newsletter.


There are signs that Target is still suffering from the public relations disaster that followed its donation to Republican Tom Emmer, the Minnesota gubernatorial candidate—a contribution made possible by the Citizens United Supreme Court ruling. The Minnesota Independent flags a study from Brandweek, a marketing industry trade magazine, which shows that the retail giant’s reputation took a big hit in early August and hasn’t recovered since. Progressive activists railed against Target after discovering that the LGBT-friendly company funneled money to Emmer, a right-wing social conservative. Brandweek says the campaign seems to have succeeded in dampening consumer perception of Target’s brand, citing its scores based on a “BrandIndex Report” that calculates “positive and negative perceptions of a brand.”

Here’s Brandweek’s analysis: “Although Target’s score recovered modestly from Aug. 12 through Aug. 24, it sunk again due to a rash of major newspaper op-eds, blog posts and publicity surrounding televised boycott ads from MoveOn PAC.”

Such findings might give corporations pause about openly pouring cash into campaigns. But that will partly depend on whether this kind of backlash has a lasting impact and whether watchdog groups will be as reactive the next time around.

Dear Reader,

This feels like the most important fundraising drive since I've been CEO of Mother Jones, with staggeringly high stakes and so much uncertainty. In "News Is Just Like Waste Management," I try to unpack the reality we all face and how we can rise to the challenge. If you're able to, this is a critical moment to support Mother Jones’ nonprofit journalism: We need to raise $400,000 to help cover the vital reporting projects we have planned, and right now is no time to pull back.

Monika Bauerlein, CEO, Mother Jones

Dear Reader,

This feels like the most important fundraising drive since I've been CEO of Mother Jones, with staggeringly high stakes and so much uncertainty. In "News Is Just Like Waste Management," I try to unpack the reality we all face and how we can rise to the challenge. If you're able to, this is a critical moment to support Mother Jones’ nonprofit journalism: We need to raise $400,000 to help cover the vital reporting projects we have planned, and right now is no time to pull back.

Monika Bauerlein, CEO, Mother Jones

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our free newsletter

Subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily to have our top stories delivered directly to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate