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The attack on the democratic process in USA last week drew a sharp and rapidly increasing response against those who fanned the flames of the violence, which killed 5, including a police officer.
Microsoft has so far been largely above the fray, but has come under pressure after a number of large companies said they would stop political donations to the conservative senators and representatives who objected against the certification of President-Elect Biden by making the case for electoral fraud and demanding an audit. It is widely believed the claims of a stolen election, championed by outgoing president Donald Trump over the last 60 days and particularly on the day itself, led to protestors attacking the seat of democracy on Capitol Hill.
Companies such as Marriott and large insurer The Blue Cross Blue Shield Association said they would stop donating to the campaigns of those Republicans who voted against Biden’s certification, while Commerce Bank also said in a statement that its PAC has “suspended all support for officials who have impeded the peaceful transfer of power.”
In response, Axios reports that Microsoft said that it is pausing political giving “until after it assesses the implications of last week’s events.” Microsoft said its 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.”
The move avoids pickings sides when support for Donald Trump has actually increased after the incident.
Microsoft’s political donations have long been a source of controversy for employees, with Microsoft giving evenly to both the left and right to promote its interests. Technology employee activism has become an increasingly prevalent thorn in the side of tech companies, with employees arguing that companies should use their great power and wealth to promote liberal causes that reflect the employee make-up, rather than political and commercial expediency. This appears to be a battle Microsoft would prefer to sit out.