HRC, the damn fine group that works to provide equal rights for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender folks, has found itself dragged into the Minnesota political scene due to Target and Best Buy’s choice to donate money to MN Forward, who’s using Target and Best Buy’s money to fund political ads in support of the non-GLBT-friendly, Tom Emmer.
Earlier this week, Target and Best Buy both put out press releases defending their support of their donations to MN Forward by saying it’s just business. Just business to support an anti-GLBT candidate. The head scratcher, of course, was that the same two companies boasted about their perfect 100 scores from Human Rights Campaign.
The Awl’s Abe Sauer seemed to think it was rather odd that a company could simultaneously boast of being perfect on HRC’s inclusiveness scale, while contributing hundreds of thousands of dollars indirectly (though clearly targeted) to a candidate who stands for the opposite set of values.
As Sauer explains it, HRC’s scorecard hasn’t taken the political contributions of corporations into account when grading businesses. This is one heck of a loophole:
Worse than shooting itself in the foot though, HRC has mired itself in PR relationship quicksand that threatens the good work it actually does. Target and Best Buy rely on HRC to legitimize them and in return they repeatedly cite HRC’s endorsement, thus legitimizing its rankings in the national media.
As I understand it, the issue here appears to be that HRC hasn’t caught up with the changes coming out of the Citizens United Supreme Court Ruling. Now that companies like Target can financially influence elections through ad buys, HRC is going to need to adjust their criteria.
This appears to have caught HRC off guard. However, they are getting around to reacting to it. Take a look at HRC’s homepage today:
Yes, that’s a big fat alert overlay welcoming visitors to HRC.org. Suddenly, Target and Best Buy’s political donations have become the most important issue on the HRC’s plate.
It’s great to see the HRC adjusting to the new corporate funded political climate of 2010. People who care about GLBT issues trust that the HRC will give them good information on which companies are great workplaces, and great places to shop. Figuring that out has become more complex, but HRC will surely be up to the challenge of helping their 750,000 members and supporters make the best choices they can based their interests.