A prominent gay rights organization is sending a chunk of money to liberal groups in Minnesota to offset Target's controversial donation to a pro-Tom Emmer political action committee.

The Human Rights Campaign, based in Washington, D.C., will donate $100,000 to Win Minnesota, a PAC that helps fund ads targeting Emmer, the GOP candidate for governor. They will toss another $20,000 to OutFront Minnesota, a GLBT group, and $30,000 to individual candidates -- including DFLer Mark Dayton.

Dayton expected to attend HRC's annual Twin Cities dinner Saturday night at the Depot Minneapolis Hotel, along with Sens. Al Franken and Amy Klobuchar.

"With all of our success in corporate America, we found ourselves at a crossroads recently during HRC's dispute with Target and Best Buy," HRC president Joe Solmonese said in prepared remarks. "It wasn't easy and it certainly wasn't on our list of things to do, but it was the right thing to do."

HRC had previously pressed Target to make its own offsetting donation to gay rights groups, but the company declined.

"Given the current political and emotionally charged environment, we have concluded that it is best to wait before taking further external action regarding our MN Forward contribution," the company said in a statement last month. "We believe that it is impossible to avoid turning any further actions into a political issue and will use the benefit of time to make thoughtful, careful decisions on how best to move forward."


Gambling redux

A group of bar and restaurant owners plans to renew its push for gambling machines in the group's establishments, saying it would send $630 million in profits to the state and additional money to charity.

Profit Minnesota, claiming support of 4,900 bars and restaurants in the state, said it will ask the Legislature to approve the new gambling, which would be regulated by the state.

Ever since courts allowed Indian tribes to own casinos, there have been numerous unsuccessful attempts by bar owners, Canterbury Park racetrack and others to gain permission to run slot machines or similar electronic gambling devices. Previous efforts have included promises of sending some profits to the state. But the state's projected $6 billion deficit could make future ventures more appealing to some lawmakers.

DFL gubernatorial candidate Mark Dayton and Independence Party candidate Tom Horner have expressed some support for expanded gambling, although not slots in bars. GOP candidate Tom Emmer has said he would consider expanded gambling but not to balance the budget.

In addition to pledging money for the state, Profit Minnesota says electronic gambling in bars and restaurants could provide $230 million a year for charity. The state already regulates pull-tab games in bars that direct a small share of the revenue to nonprofits.