In many ways, the classic Minnesota corporations have always been the very model of “good corporate citizens”. These corporations – 3M, Daytons (now Target), Medtronic, Mayo, Best Buy and many more – gave profusely to Minnesota charities, schools, universities, arts, research…the whole works.
But they’ve also gotten squeezed, hard; has bad as taxes are for individuals in Minnesota, they are much worse for businesses; Minnesota has among the worst corporate tax rates in the country. And the entire DFL slate – Dayton, Kelliher, Entenza and stealth-DFLer Horner – are running on platforms that involve “creating jobs” by taxing the living daylights out of corporations and their investors.
As we run up toward the primaries, groups working with the DFL – especially the Dayton-funded “Alliance for a Better Minnesota” – has poured a sea of money into advertising against Tom Emmer, and it’s just started. This past week, another group – MNForward – finally put an ad on the air pointing out Emmer’s positive approach to creating more jobs; getting government out of the way of the businesses, small and large, that’ll lead any recovery that happens.
And the DFL is shocked, shocked that some businesses are willing to help keep the Democrats from plundering the state.
The DFL has been hooting and hollering that Target, among a few other businesses [disclosures here – PDF alert] has given money – about $100K – to MNForward.
Among them was DFL representative Ryan “Don’t Call Me Henry” Winkler, who tweeted around eightish last night:
A bit later, Darin Broton – a PR flak – tweeted back:
@repryanwinkler – Has Target given the House DFL Caucus money this cycle? Past cycles? DFL incumbents?
Winkler responded to Broton:
Later yesterday evening, WCCO-TV’s Esme Murphy ran a report on how Democrats were supposedly staying away from Target because of this advertising donation – which prompted me to wonder how many Democrat wonks Murphy hangs out with; the lines at Target in the Midway, deep in the most Tic-infested district in Minnesota, were as long as ever. Perhaps they were all Republicans? I doubt it.
The Strib also reported that, despite the economic downturn that’s prompted them to lay off people at the corporate office and close a distribution center, than Target is not easing off its charitable giving:
Last year the Minneapolis-based retailer gave $169 million nationally in cash and in-kind contributions, making it, by some reckonings, Minnesota’s most generous grant maker. For the past five years its largess has significantly outpaced that of the McKnight Foundation, Minnesota’s No. 2 donor, according to the Minnesota Council on Foundations. Between 2004 and 2008, Target’s annual giving rose steadily, from $96.3 million to $169 million, while the McKnight Foundation’s went from $75.4 million to $93.6 million…
…Arts organizations around the country are particularly dependent on Target for providing free or reduced admission to museums, theatrical performances and events. Its beneficiaries in the Twin Cities include Walker Art Center, the Minneapolis Institute of Arts, Children’s Theatre Company, Guthrie Theater, the Minnesota Orchestra, the Minnesota Children’s Museum, Circus Juventas, Heart of the Beast Puppet and Mask Theatre and the Latin American Folklore Dance Company
No matter to Rep. Ryan Winkler, who responded to Murphy via Twitter:
@esmemurphy Target has been good corp. citizen, but MN political spending is new. Your show just showed risk of giving to candidates.
No. It showed that it’s dangerous being a for-profit business in Minnesota, under the watchful eye of the DFL. That it’s dangerous to cross the all-beneficent, all-knowing Mother Party.
It shows the risk of crossing party hacks like Steve Winkler, who think that corporate political giving is “new”, and that corporations should just shut up and take it – for giving $100,000 (which is, by the way, $761,000 less than various members of the Dayton family and Dayton’s ex-wife Alida Messinger have given in this cycle to “Win Minnesota” alone).
And it shows the risk of actually having to run a political campaign on donations from people and companies that actually have to earn their money, as opposed to merely inheriting it; the DFL will try to keep you from earning that money.
It’s the Chicago Minnesota DFL way.
Me? I’m off to Target. I’m going to buy something I may not even need all that badly. And I’m going to write “thanks for donating to MNForward” on the charge slip.