Earlier this month, Microsoft paused all donations through MSPAC to political campaigns following the attack on the US Capitol. While many seen that as a good decision, it raised the question why Microsoft is making donations to PAC in the first place. Now, the company's president and chief counsel Brad Smith has defended the MSPAC platform.
If you're unfamiliar with the concept of a PAC (Political Action Committee), it is a private fund for political campaigns made of voluntary donations. Almost all Fortune 500 companies have their own PAC. Laws in the United States forbid any PAC from donating more than $5,000 to one candidate through each election. Although a PAC can donate to more than one candidate.
MSPAC is Microsoft's PAC, which over the years has made donations to candidates across the political spectrum. Microsoft says MSPAC is currently suspended as it assesses the fallout from the Capitol domestic terrorist attacks.
Some of the internal discussion within Microsoft has now been made public. Specifically, president Brad Smith defended MSPAC during an employee meeting on January 21. He says 80% of all donations from the PAC were to Congress members who voted to uphold the Electoral College and allow Joe Biden to become President of the United States.
Suspension of Donations
However, that clearly leaves 20% of donations over the four-year political term that went to Congress member who voted not to uphold the democratic process and certify Electoral College votes.
Some employees in Microsoft want the company to take harsh action against these 20% politicians. However, Microsoft is continuing to take a cautious approach and says MSPAC will remain suspended, meaning it will issue no donations, until at least February 15:
“Microsoft confirmed publicly today, as it announced internally on Jan. 8, that it has halted all donations of its PAC while it reviews whether to suspend further donations to individuals who voted against certification of the Electoral College. The company added that it will announce its decision by Feb. 15 after completing discussions with its employees. As Microsoft executives have said internally to employees, this is not a normal year. The company believes that opposition to the Electoral College undermined American democracy and should have consequences.”
Microsoft speaks of consequences, but this feels like the company is simply waiting for the storm to blow over. Will MSPAC donations continues to feed any politician that Microsoft believes it can get favor from? Hopefully the company will find some integrity and take stricter actions against Congress members who sought to disrupt the democratic process.
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