Microsoft paused its ‘political action' donations in July after employees complained about a lack of transparency and moral criteria. After the brief hiatus, the tech giant resumed its activity this fall, but its support of controversial figures isn't entirely absent.
Founder of Pinboard Maciej Ceglowski has highlighted Microsoft's recent donations on the social site's official Twitter account. They include payments to the military, as well as politicians Ceglowski that have expressed anti-LGBT, climate change, and other sentiments.
Over the past month, the company donated at least $11,000. $5,000 of that went to the American Defense and Military PAC. Given that Microsoft won over $18 billion in defense contracts in the past year, that may raise hackles but isn't particularly surprising.
Controversial Republican Donations
However, Microsoft also donated $3000 to Republican leader Kevin McCarthy's Majority Committee PAC. He's previously opposed the use of taxpayer funds on abortions while voting to strip $500 million in federal funding from Planned Parenthood. He also defended Trump did nothing wrong in asking Ukraine's president to look into Joe Biden. He previously opposed climate change measures.
A further $1000 was donated to Rep. Jackie Walorski, who Pinboard says voted in support of Trumps' Transgender bathroom ban and pushed for a discriminatory religious freedom amendment to be added to a 2016 defense bill. Microsoft has previously spoken against Trump's transgender policy.
Meanwhile, Republican Mike Burgess received $1000 despite previously arguing in favor of banning all abortions past 15 weeks and voting for a bill banning them after the 22nd week. He also supported President Trumps' DACA cancellation, which Microsoft has previously fought in court.
Microsoft previously promised to form advisory councils based on employee resource groups. It was suggested that these groups would be able to give feedback on political action committee donations and that they'd gain more transparency.
Undoubtedly, there will be some that highlight the inconsistencies of Microsoft's public-facing persona and it's less visible political donations. Others will argue that solely supporting liberal candidates would also raise issues. We'll be keeping an eye on employee response and any action they take.