Minnesota Forward (MN Forward) is a Republican-leaning business political group that tries to influence elections in Minnesota. It is funded by Minnesota-based businesses including Target, Polaris, Hubbard Broadcasting, Best Buy, the Regis Corporation beauty salon business and Davisco Foods. In the summer of 2010, the group started exercising its new-found rights under the Citizens United ruling by the U.S Supreme Court in spring of 2010 allowing businesses and companies to spend unlimited amounts of corporate money to influence elections. 
The group drew controversy in August 2010 after the Target Corp. donated $150,000 and MN Forward subsequently produced television ads promoting Republican gubernatorial nominee Tom Emmer, who opposes gay rights. Emmer also opposed the state's indoor smoking ban and supported cutting the minimum wage for service-sector workers who earn income based on tips.
A group named Boycott Target Until They Cease Funding Anti-Gay Politics had over 5,000 members on Facebook. Best Buy had a similar group opposing them. Target shoppers were writing to the message board promising to not shop at the store. One person wrote that she feels "more than a little sick and pretty angry when I think of all the [money] I've spent at Target over the years."
MoveOn.org came out with a TV ad urging people to boycott Target over its political contribution. They urged Target to give a matching $150,000 to pro-gay candidates to balance things out. Target declined to do so despite pressure from MoveOn, Human Rights Campaign, and other gay rights groups.
Target was one of the first corporations to take advantage of the Supreme Court's Citizens United ruling. MoveOn cited a poll that showed most people don't like corporations spending money on political campaigns.
Target and Best Buy Money Flows to Dems After Citizen United Backlash
In August 2010, Suzy Khimm of Mother Jones wrote, "Now Minnesota Forward seems to be hedging its bets, endorsing three conservative Democratic candidates for the Minnesota state house. Last week, Minnesota Forward decided to support the three incumbents—Sen. Terri Bonoff, Sen. James Metzen, and Rep. Gene Pelowski—after having previously backed only Republicans."
Target apologizes for donation to MN Forward
The CEO of Minneapolis based Target Corporation apologized for making the donation to Republican Tom Emmer. The apology isn't stopping MoveOn from delivering 60,000 petitions protesting Target's decision to get involved in the governor's race.
80 S. 8th Street, #3530
Minneapolis, Minnesota 55402
The group provides no telephone number or email address. Contact is by web form.
Resources and articles
- Tom Scheck New Emmer ad funded by new business money, Minnesota Public Radio News, July 20 2010
- Patrick Caldwell More businesses join Target in funding Republican PAC Minnesota Independent, July 27, 2010
- Jason Linkins Tom Emmer, Anti-Gay Pol, Gets Donations From Target, Stirring Up Controversy, Huffington Post, July 28, 2010
- Emily Freidman, "Target, Best Buy Angers Gay Customers By Making Contribution to GOP Candidate", ABC, July 28, 2010.
- Jeanne Cummings, "MoveOn calls for boycott of Target", Politico, August 17, 2010.
- Suzy Khimm, "Target and Best Buy Money Flows to Dems After Citizen United Backlash", Mother Jones, August 10, 2010.
- Tom Scheck, "Target apologizes for donation to MN Forward", Minnesota Public Radio, August 5, 2010.
- Carey Alexander, "Why Target And Best Buy's Support Of Anti-Gay Bigots Is Going To Change The Way You Shop Forever", The Consumerist, August 8, 2010.