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Microsoft suspends political spending to ‘assess implications’ of violence at US Capitol

Microsoft has halted its political contributions in the wake of the riot at the U.S. Capitol last week. The move comes after some employees objected to donations going to individuals and groups who supported President Trump’s efforts to overturn the election.

Microsoft’s political action committee decided last Friday that it will not make any political donations until after it assesses the implications of last week’s events,” a company spokesperson said in a statement on Monday. “The PAC regularly pauses its donations in the first quarter of a new Congress, but it will take additional steps this year to consider these recent events and consult with employees.”

Microsoft was not alone in making the move. Facebook also announced it was freezing political spending, Axios reported, and businesses and banks such as Ford Motor Co., Dow, Marriott, Goldman Sachs, JPMorgan Chase and Citigroup also put contributions on hold.

The Microsoft Political Action Committee (MSPAC) Steering Committee is a bipartisan committee of federal and state government affairs professionals, according to the company, “responsible for oversight and day-to-day decision making related to political spending.” Oversight of the committee includes disbursements from MSPAC and permissible employee and shareholder donations made by the program.

The group gives to both Democrats and Republicans, but after Microsoft President Brad Smith said that the company was in favor of a peaceful transition of power to President Elect Joe Biden in a Jan. 4 tweet, at least one employee pointed to evidence that some money was going to those who felt the opposite, CNBC first reported.

In July 2019, Microsoft suspended spending after a group of Microsoft employees had been asking their colleagues to stop donating to the PAC because they didn’t have influence over which candidates and campaigns the committee supported. The employees argued that MSPAC used their money to support candidates that conflicted with important company values like diversity and inclusion.

The spending resumed in October 2019.

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