With public outcry mounting and threats of a boycott spreading, Target CEO Gregg Steinhafel wrote employees today to say the discount retailer was "genuinely sorry" for donating $150,000 to a conservative Republican for Minnesota governor, the AP reports. In the memo, Steinhafel explained that the contribution was intended to support Republican Tom Emmer's stance on economic issues, not his opposition to same-sex marriage and other gay-rights initiatives. (Emmer is promising to cut taxes and government spending if elected.)

"While I firmly believe that a business climate conducive to growth is critical to our future, I realize our decision affected many of you in a way I did not anticipate, and for that I am genuinely sorry," Steinhafel wrote, and promised that Target would set up a review process for future political donations. "The diversity of our team is an important aspect of our unique culture and our success as a company, and we did not mean to disappoint you, our team or our valued guests," Steinhafel added. But it's unclear whether Target will try to take back some of the donation, as some activists have demanded.