Microsoft's stated values are "diversity, inclusion, and growth mindset," but the six of the top ten politicians funded by MSPAC — which derives funding from voluntary contributions from 4,000 of Microsoft's 140,000 employees — are far-right Republican extremists, including Mitch McConnell, who reliably vote for homophobic, climate-denying and racist policies.
In response, a movement among Microsoft employees is calling for a boycott of MSPAC contributions, despite a promise by the MSPAC managers that they will create "advisory councils" to help inform its purchase decisions.
Some anonymous Microsoft employees who spoke to Dave Gershgorn at Onezero expressed bafflement that the PAC could give money to Biblical literalists, witch-burners, Handmaid's Tale LARPers and other stalwarts of the Republican apparatus, but it's actually pretty easy to understand: oligarchs are at a disadvantage in democracies, because, by definition, the one percent cannot win an election by force of numbers.
Oligarchs do their best to solve this problem through gerrymandering and voter suppression, but the core of their strategy is getting turkey to vote for Christmas. By promising to enact policies of racist, homophobic and misogynist cruelty while handing trillions to the super-rich, oligarchs can turn out bigots and sociopaths (along with temporarily embarrassed millionaires) on election day.
The oligarch project is supposed to draw votes from the religious maniac/white supremacist base, but only field candidates from the finance wing of the party, who will dog-whistle their bigotry, rather than shouting it from the hills (shouting gets you kicked out of the nice restaurants). But every election, the base vomits up a candidate who isn't afraid to shout the party's truth rather than whispering it: Roy Moore, Michelle Bachmann, Herman Cain, Rick Santorum…
The finance wing of the party sabotages that candidate, rallying around a "sane" candidate who looks and talks like them and has the common sense to confine their bigotry to private events. It's worked pretty well since the Reagan years…until it didn't.
But Trump didn't change the Republican party, he just exposed it as a fusion of people who will cut taxes on the rich and gut protections for old people, young people, brown people, disabled people, people with uteruses, the environment, workplaces, water, air, and animals (oligarchs and their bootlickers); and people who think the Earth is 5,000 years old, that Jesus is coming soon, that guns are the key to democracies, and that the civil war was about states' rights (useful idiots).
That's why all those companies that sponsor your Pride march also give massive amounts of money to politicians who reliably vote against marriage equality and legal protection for queer people: not because the companies endorse those policies, but because they understand that those policies are the price of admission for a world where they retain the right to maim their workers, poison the air and water, and dodge their taxes. The price of a "business friendly" Congress is being ruled by politicians who think calling concentration camps "concentration camps" is worse than building and operating concentration camps.
MSPAC did indeed donate $10,000 to the Republican Senate Majority Leader for his upcoming reelection bid. Since 1998, Microsoft workers have given a total of $39,000 to McConnell through the PAC, according to federal lobbying records analyzed by OneZero. This isn't a huge amount compared to some of McConnell's other fundraising efforts. The Kentucky senator received more than $225,000 from the Blackstone Group, a private equity firm, in the last five years alone, and more than $26 million in total.
McConnell is also far from the top recipient of MSPAC funds. MSPAC has given Washington Congressman Adam Smith, a Democrat, $105,000 since 1998 — an average of more than $5,000 a year. While McConnell is the Senate's top Republican, Smith is chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, where last year he appointed Microsoft technical fellow Eric Horvitz to serve on the National Security Commission on Artificial Intelligence. (Horvitz has never donated to the PAC, according to 20 years of FEC data.)
The political contributions of MSPAC have typically been a fairly even 50/50 split along Democratic and Republican party lines, according to OpenSecrets, a website built by the Center for Responsive Politics to track political lobbying. The one exception is the 2016 election cycle, when the MSPAC gave nearly $625,000 to Republican congressional candidates, almost twice as much as it did to Democrats, according to OpenSecrets.
A Group of Microsoft Employees Is Fighting the Company's Political Action Committee [Dave Gershgorn/Onezero]