Cindy Hyde-Smith is a Mississipi GOP Senator is going into a runoff election against her Democratic opponent, Black man named Mike Espy who might end up the first Black Mississipi Senator since 1883; she made headlines last week with a joke about attending a "public hanging."
The day after the lynching remark, the FEC recorded a $5,000 donation from Google to Hyde-Smith's campaign. Google insists that they made the donation earlier, with the discrepancy unexplained.
Google attributed their support of Hyde-Smith's campaign to her "pro-growth policies for business and technology" but added that they "do not condone these remarks and would not have made such a contribution had we known about them." Google has not asked Hyde-Smith to return the funds.
Hyde-Smith was endorsed by Donald Trump during her race (and well before Google donated to her campaign). Since Trump's election, Hyde-Smith "voted in line with Trump's position more often than any other Republican senator." She has a 0% approval rating from the ACLU and is a lifetime member of the NRA, and supports a total ban on legal abortion; she is on record as supporting Trump's Muslim ban. In her official capacity, she has opposed and attempted to block same-sex marriages.
Hyde-Smith followed up her remarks about public lynchings with a "joke" about the desirability of using voter-suppression techniques to make it harder for "liberal folks" to vote.
Hyde-Smith has insisted that her remarks are all intended in jest and attributes the controversy to humorlessness among her opponents.
"While we support candidates who promote pro-growth policies for business and technology, we do not condone these remarks and would not have made such a contribution had we known about them," reads the statement.
Google has yet to ask that the donation be returned, nor why they decided to support Hyde-Smith's campaign in the first place.
In response to the donation, Civil rights group Color of Change has also asked its 1.3 million members to hold Google accountable.
"To ensure Google never funds a candidate like this again, we call on you to immediately and publicly define a clear values path for giving to political candidates," the organization stated in its statement. "Candidates who in engage in racist and white supremacist language and rhetoric, or support discriminatory policies should never receive financial support from Google."
Google donates $5000 to Cindy Hyde-Smith after lynching comments [Kia Morgan Smith/The Grio]