In July, Microsoft agreed to suspend political donations until the fall after employees complained that politicians who had received donations had expressed views that were inconsistent with Microsoft’s values. Of course, it’s almost winter, and Microsoft has started to donate to politicians again.
In defending a proposal to reduce the use of SNAP, politician Jody Arrington quoted a Bible passage: If a person doesn’t work, he can’t eat. In response, Microsoft donated $1,000 to Arlington. Georgia Congressman Drew Ferguson, who voted against the Equality Act, said abortion should be criminalized, supported Trump’s Muslim ban and has been an active advocate of the U.S.-Mexico border wall, with Microsoft donating $1,000.
Microsoft has again been accused of hypocrisy and of failing to keep its promise to increase employee involvement in political donation programs. Microsoft has previously specifically promised to create a staff resource group to improve dialogue and transparency on political donations, but that doesn’t seem to have happened. In July, Microsoft noted that its contribution to a bipartisan team of lawmakers supported a range of corporate priorities, including progressive policies such as immigration and equality, privacy and climate change, and, of course, economic priorities such as trade and cloud computing. Notably, many of Microsoft’s recent political donations have been for the military after it overtook its rivals to win the Pentagon’s cloud computing contract.
As america approaches a very important election year, this disconnect between Microsoft’s employee ideals and corporate pragmatism will become a bigger problem in the next 12 months.