LTP News Sharing:

Washington, D.C. – Scott Shepard, director of the National Center for Public Policy Research’s Free Enterprise Project (FEP), did not mince words when confronting executives at Target’s annual shareholder meeting today.

“Are you kidding me?” Shepard asked them while presenting a shareholder proposal requesting a report examining the risks to the company arising from its partnerships with and support for divisive organizations and causes.

Scott Shepard

Scott Shepard

Shepard continued:

Here are the facts. Target has given massive amounts of shareholder money – reports last year suggested as much as $50 million – to organizations like GLSEN that then spend that money to, among other things, instruct teachers of young children how to pump them full of radical gender ideology, and then how to hide the traumatic results of that indoctrination from parents for long enough that the children are then hell-bent on making irreversible and crippling medical decisions rather than being comfortable with who they are, as they are.

Target’s prime demographic is middle class women – who, as any sane and honest person instantly understands – don’t want their children indoctrinated and do want to know every detail of their development, and whether or not their teachers act in their children’s interest or to advance extreme, radical, crank theories.

When Target’s stock price plummeted as this all came out, our CEO, Brian Cornell, responded that “I think those are just good business decisions, and it’s the right thing for society, and it’s the great thing for our brand,”

He added: “When we think about purpose at Target, it’s really about helping all the families, and that ‘all’ word is really important,” Cornell said. “Most of America shops at Target, so we want to do the right thing to support families across the country.”

What in the world, Mr. Cornell, were you talking about? Losing vast piles of shareholder assets by supporting extreme groups and positions antithetical to most customers is “the great thing for our brand?” Believing that disqualifies you and your supportive board from holding fiduciary responsibilities.

And note well: Target is not helping families by funding doctrinaire child-baffling, and parental exclusion from children’s lives. Claiming otherwise is equal parts smug and preposterous.

Target’s lawyers’ response to this self-generated catastrophe was somewhat more artful, but no less inculpatory. They said they just couldn’t know if the huge drop in Target’s value exactly as the controversy exploded had anything to do with, you know, the controversy. Absurd on its face, but also a trap for Target. If the company couldn’t figure out whether the drop was caused by coterminous events, then it could not have been able to determine whether the initial leap into radical, irrelevant social policy was sound. Which means that it was fiduciary breach to take the plunge.

But if that initial calculations were possible, then the lawyers were lying about not being able to tell whence sprang the losses. That’s its own profound fiduciary breach, and also a violation of material disclosure laws.

Substituting directors’ personal policy preference for fiduciary duty is self-dealing. Damages for self-dealing breaches come out of the breachers’ individual fortunes. If justice prevails, you’ll all be glad of Target stores, as you’ll be in the heart of the demographic of target shoppers. But I’ll bet a dollar the new management won’t run the stores according to their personal policy preferences. “Pour encourager les autres, non?”

More information about FEP’s shareholder proposals, as well as other key votes, can be found in FEP’s mobile and web app, ProxyNavigator.



The National Center for Public Policy Research, founded in 1982, is a non-partisan, free-market, independent conservative think-tank. Ninety-four percent of its support comes from individuals, less than four percent from foundations and less than two percent from corporations. It receives over 350,000 individual contributions a year from over 60,000 active recent contributors. Contributions are tax-deductible and may be earmarked for the Free Enterprise Project. Sign up for email updates at

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Author: The National Center