The Supreme Court pretty well turned the American system of government on its head with its ruling that corporations are people recently, but it looks like the market is making some adjustments corporations hadn't expected. My friend Pete Krull handles "ethical" investments for people and one of the stategies that makes putting your money where your ethics are is using your vote as a stockholder to influence political giving--among many other things.
I'm not certain that Target can be specifically pointed to as a company that has been influenced in this way, but it's looking a whole lot like it is. The Minnesota-based company has made gay rights support noises recently, even as its CEO was propping up political candidates who are markedly anti-gay with hundreds of thousands of dollars. The CEO, a guy named Gregg Steinhafel, has apologized for making the contributions.
That's not him speaking. It's the bottom line and the corporate board telling him to get the hell out of the limelight. Target has been the, uh, target of picketing and swirling Internet chatter all week and it can't help but suffer from the boycott. Being anti-gay marriage is being anti-marriage and Target encourages engaged people to register there. Not a good PR move to hate gay people, who are about 10 percent of the population and whose rights as individuals--including the right to marry whomever the hell they want to marry--are supported by most of us.
It's fun to watch people take control of corporations and regardless of what the hyper-partisan right-wing Republican Supreme Court says, corporations are not people, but they can damn well be run by people.