corporate calls

3M Just Gave MN Forward $100K To Elect Tom Emmer. Oh, and HRC Gives 3M A 100% Score?

3M — the enormous technology, health care, security, and manufacturing company that seems to be behind anything with double-sided sticky surfaces — has a market cap of $62 billion. Now it’s joining Target and Best Buy in funneling some of that cash toward MN Forward, the Minnesota business PAC that wants to elect Tom Emmer governor of the state, despite his opposition to basic things like marriage equality and anti-bullying measures.

That’s great news for Target, because for so many weeks the big box retailer was facing the brunt of the heat! And while a number of corporations have trafficked cash into MN Forward, at an emotional level it’s easier for us to find frustration with brands we regularly interact with. Which is why you won’t care too much about Polaris Industries, Hubbard Broadcasting, or Davisco Food International, which all donated $100,000 in cash to the PAC. But Target and Best Buy? They make your blood boil, because you might want to buy a plasma TV from one of ’em soon. (See that filing here; PDF.)

Target, proudly, still claims the largest donation to MN Forward, with $150,000 in cash and services.

So what’s 3M have to say for itself? Well first it can point to its glorious LGBT record! Like Target, 3M has a 100 percent rating in the Human Rights Campaign’s Corporate Equality Index. It also has a perfect score in HRC’s Buying for Equality guide. Last month, following weeks of stonewalling, HRC finally agreed to drop HRC and Best Buy from its buying guide. What might happen to 3M?

The company, meanwhile, is so far using Target’s excuse to explain its six-figure donation, which only became public because of Minnesota’s election finance disclosure rules. “That donation is about advancing public policy that will foster a more competitive business environment,” says a 3M rep. (Meanwhile, notes the Minnesota Independent, “The company declined to elaborate further on the motivation for the contribution, and would not say if they were directly supporting Republican gubernatorial candidate Emmer. But a quick glance at MN Forward’s expenditure records reveals that any contribution to MN Forward essentially serves as a donation to Emmer rather than support for general ‘business policy.’ Over 95 percent of MN Forward’s campaign spending has been devoted to Minnesota’s gubernatorial campaign, with only minimal amounts directed at lower ballot races.”)

So where’s the outrage? So far it’s muted, at least compared to the Target backlash — which has sent Target’s reputation among consumers tanking. HRC says it reached out to 3M but isn’t commenting further until they hear back, which is a nice way of saying, “We’re going to let 3M dictate the way this story unfolds.” Pussies.

Of course 3M’s interest in electing Emmer has little to do with his record on LGBT rights. It’s about taxes and the environment; as a manufacturer, 3M would like to escape those annoying water and air cleanliness standards.

Now how long before it comes out that George W. Buckley, the company’s chief executive who earned just shy of $14 million last year, mimics his Target counterpart in regularly donating to anti-gay candidates and causes?

Either way, looks like I’m going to have to find another way to remind my roommate not to shop at Target: That Post-It note is going in the trash.