FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE August 10, 2010
PUBLIC ADVOCATE DE BLASIO, COUNCIL MEMBER LETITIA JAMES, AND MOVEON.ORG DEMAND TARGET STOP SPENDING CORPORATE DOLLARS IN ELECTIONS
Protest comes following retailer’s $150,000 donation to anti-LGBT gubernatorial candidate in Minnesota
NEW YORK – Public Advocate Bill de Blasio, City Council Member Letitia James and MoveOn.org held a rally today in front of Target’s flagship Brooklyn store to protest the retailer’s recent use of corporate funds to influence elections. Target is one of the first American corporations to take advantage of Supreme Court’s Citizens United ruling, which rolled back long standing restrictions on corporate spending in elections.
The retailer gave $150,000 to an independent organization backing Minnesota gubernatorial candidate Tom Emmer who is a fierce opponent of same-sex marriage, is a supporter of Arizona’s new immigration laws, and has introduced legislation that would result in sex offenders being chemically castrated.
“We have a very simple message for corporations like Target when it comes to our democracy: hands off,” said Public Advocate Bill de Blasio. “With 85 days until the November election, we need to build a movement to prevent corporate money from dominating our elections. I commend MoveOn for working here and in Washington to clean up our political system.”
“Today I stand with Public Advocate Bill de Blasio, MoveOn.org and others to call on corporations to refrain from unrestricted spending on elections,” said Council Member Letitia James. “We hold corporations such as Target accountable, and we expect businesses in our community to fight against corruption when making donations to political campaigns. The community’s voice will be heard.”
“MoveOn and other progressive organizations are joining together as the Other 98% to invigorate a large grassroots movement across the country to Fight Washington Corruption and restore our Democracy,” said Shawn Marie Walsh, Council Coordinator of MoveOn Brooklyn.
After weeks of negotiations with the Public Advocate’s office, financial powerhouse Goldman Sachs last week agreed to amend its political contribution policy and not spend money in elections. Building on this success, the Public Advocate has also launched a campaign demanding Google live up to its self-professed policy of transparency and join its technology company peers by fully disclosing its political spending.
More than one hundred protestors gathered outside the retailer to call on Target to refrain from the unrestricted spending on elections made possible by the Supreme Court’s Citizens United ruling. Organizers from the Public Advocate office staged a phone-a-thon in front of the Brooklyn store, helping shoppers call Target’s corporate headquarters from the street to protest the recent political spending. MoveOn.org gathered support for its Fight Washington Corruption pledge (fightwashingtoncorruption.com), which the Public Advocate endorsed.
Contact: Wiley Norvell, Office of the Public Advocate, (212) 669-4813 Shawn Marie Walsh, MoveOn.org Brooklyn, (917) 783-9431