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Microsoft, Facebook, Google to halt political donations after US riot
FACEBOOK, Google and Microsoft said they would pause political contributions after a deadly pro-Trump riot in the US Capitol last week that aimed to disrupt the certification of President-elect Joe Biden.
Airbnb and Intel, meanwhile, instituted new policies of not donating to US candidates who voted against the election certification.
While companies in an array of industries made similar adjustments to their political giving this week, there's heightened attention on moves in the tech industry after the removal of Donald Trump's social media accounts and the app Parler, which is popular among the president's supporters.
Software giant Microsoft said its political action committee decided on Friday that it would not make any political donations "until after it assesses the implications of last week's events". The company's Political Action Committee (PAC) regularly pauses donations in the first quarter of a new Congress, but it would "take additional steps this year to consider these recent events and consult with employees".
Microsoft has come under renewed pressure from some employees on social media to disband MSPAC after several years of complaints that the group's bipartisan giving involves donations to politicians who vote contrary to Microsoft's stated positions on issues like immigration and LGBT rights. Some legislators that Microsoft backs voted against certifying Mr Biden.
Facebook spokesman Andy Stone said the social networking company is pausing all of its PAC contributions "for at least the current quarter while we review our policies". A spokesman for Alphabet's Google said it was doing the same.
In a statement, Intel said the Congressional votes against election certification ran counter to the company's values. Airbnb made a similar statement. Of the contributions Airbnb's PAC made in the last election cycle, almost half went to Republicans, according to data from Open Secrets.
Beyond the tech industry, banking giants such as Goldman Sachs, Citigroup and JPMorgan are also planning to pause political contributions. Marriott and Dow said they would suspend donations to lawmakers who voted against certifying Mr Biden.
Microsoft's MSPAC, made contributions to senators Roger Marshall and Cynthia Lummis, as well as representatives such as Kevin McCarthy and Steve Scalise in the most recent election cycle, according to a spreadsheet shared by the Pinboard Twitter account, run by tech entrepreneur and activist Maciej Ceglowski. All four lawmakers voted to oppose Mr Biden's certification as president.
Microsoft's PAC made a total of 820,500 in donations to federal candidates in the 2019-20 election cycle, 57 per cent of that to Republicans and 43 per cent to Democrats, according to Open Secrets, which tracks contributions.
In October, Bloomberg reported that Microsoft makes more US political donations to climate obstructionists in the Senate and Congress than to politicians that support climate causes, despite the company's aggressive goals to reduce carbon emissions.
Axios and CNBC reported Facebook and Microsoft's decisions to halt donations earlier. BLOOMBERG