ST. PAUL, Minn. — Best Buy founder Richard Schulze and former company CEO Brad Anderson said they wouldn’t have contributed to a conservative nonprofit group had they known about its distribution of inflammatory anti-Muslim videos on social media.
Schulze’s investment management firm, Olympus Ventures, said in a statement Friday that Schulze was not aware the organization, Secure America Now, had distributed the ads when the company made a 2016 contribution to the group.
“We were unaware of these ads which the organization funded until Wednesday. We informed (Schulze) who strongly condemned them and directed Olympus Ventures to cut off any further contributions to this organization or any organization which promotes hate,” the company said.
The Center for Responsive Politics, a nonpartisan research group based in Washington, first reported that Olympus Ventures and Anderson each contributed $25,000 to Secure America Now in 2016. Anderson told Minnesota Public Radio , where he’s a board member, that he didn’t know about the videos before contributing to Secure America Now and wouldn’t have donated if he had known.
“It seems to me hard to understand that you would expect that I would be held accountable for everything somebody subsequently does with a contribution,” he said. “I’ve given many, many times to American Public Media, Minnesota Public Radio, and I don’t always agree with things that go on the air, but I don’t assume I’m responsible for every part of the enterprise.”
The Minnesota chapter of the Council of American-Islamic Relations has called on Anderson to step down from the boards of Minnesota Public Radio and General Mills.
The center’s report said the group ran highly-targeted ads designed to stoke fears of Muslims in the weeks before the 2016 presidential election.
Information from: Minnesota Public Radio News, http://www.mprnews.org