Microsoft has told employees who contribute to the Microsoft Political Action Committee (MSPAC), an opt-in fund that’s supported by employee donations and is used to make political contributions, that the company will be implementing a “brief hiatus” on the donations made through this PAC. The decision comes after some employees reportedly complained that around half of MSPAC’s donations go to conservatives candidates who have views that supposedly oppose Microsoft’s “progressive values.”
In an internal statement that was sent to employees who contribute to MSPAC, Microsoft’s Corporate Vice President of US Government Affairs Fred Humphries Jr. said that the suspension of political contributions began July 1 and will be in effect until fall (late September).
However, there will be one additional disclosure showing contributions through the end of June which will reflect contributions to “a bipartisan group of lawmakers” who worked with Microsoft on “immigration and equality, and policies to promote privacy, climate, trade and the cloud.”
In addition to suspending political contributions, Humphries Jr. said that Microsoft will be setting up new advisory councils to “increase dialogue and transparency” which it plans to announce later this summer.
This statement comes after reports from OneZero of employees questioning Microsoft’s political donations started to emerge late last month. According to the report, these employees said they were concerned that they have no control over which candidates are being supported through MSPAC and that their political donations may go to candidates that they don’t approve of.
The report adds that one of the employees said “it felt duplicitous for Microsoft’s leaders to speak the language of progressive social causes” and then “oversee an employee-funded PAC where roughly 50% of the money would go to conservative candidates who often oppose those same measures on a federal level.”
These same employees were also reportedly pushing Microsoft to get input from employees who contribute to MSPAC on which candidates to support. At the time, Microsoft responded to these concerns by saying it plans to launch the new advisory councils which were mentioned in the most recent statement to MSPAC contributors.