back to article Screw MSPAC, man: Not in our name, Microsoft staff tell firm's political donation vehicle

Microsoft's controversial Political Action Committee (MSPAC) appears to have hit the skids following vocal employee discontent over the group's activities. MSPAC is a fund into which the Windows giant's employees contribute. MSPAC then flings that cash at politicos, some of which have opinions and policies that staffers may …

  1. NoneSuch
    Mushroom

    Ban Them All

    Ban all PAC and Super PAC activity.

    Allow no more than $1,000 per year, per person, donation to any political party, candidate or cause. This includes lobby groups like the NRA, tobacco, or any company association. Anyone contributing more than that should be charged with a felony.

    Anyone who buys commercial air time for political purposes needs to be publicly identified as an individual and not "Citizens for Change" or some other euphemistic title to hide behind. Political party purchases of air time should be limited per year (whether there is an election or not).

    Money does not make politics any better. It erodes whatever few scruples are left in a politician. Candidates are supposed to work for us not some nameless PAC.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Ban Them All

      What a way to organise a supposedly democratic country... more a timocracy, I feel

    2. This post has been deleted by its author

    3. asdf Silver badge
      Thumb Up

      Re: Ban Them All

      Totally agree but back in the real world getting rid of the dark money should be the main focus to start. Anybody that wants to affect policy that affects everyone shouldn't get to be anonymous. Limiting the money itself has proven to be a lot more difficult to achieve.

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Pun Them All

      Back one federal election I saw a message pop up on a huge roadside LED billboard:

      Chinese-Americans for Trump

      Despite the unaccountability (like, who says so?), and the laughability of it post-tariffs, it did give me these ideas for next time:

      Gay Martians for Trump

      Paedophiles for Trump

      Satanists for Trump

      Al-Qaeda: Trump is great too!

      Putin: Trump's my man

    5. DougS Silver badge

      Re: Ban Them All

      I think organizations shouldn't be allowed to donate money. It should be individual donations only, and all records of such donations should be public. If some rich guy wants to donate to every single republican in the country running for offices from dog catcher to president, that's fine so long as they don't donate over the limit for any one of them.

      Corporations, PACs, unions, non profits etc. should not be able to donate a single penny to politicians, or spend anything to "lobby" for their pet causes (which is just a way of bribing officials as lobbyists can treat them to dinners, golf trips and so on, and hire them once they leave office)

      1. DJO Silver badge

        Re: Ban Them All

        I think organizations shouldn't be allowed to donate money.

        Yes and any politician receiving payment from lobbyists should be allowed to speak in debates but he or she should not be allowed to vote on any legislation affecting (for good or bad) the company or industry that provided the cash.

        There should be incredibly draconian penalties for any who do try to vote on laws affecting their donors.

        Really it's a no-brainer, representatives should always abstain where there is any question of a conflict of interests and being paid to vote in a certain way is such an obvious conflict of interests it is millimetre close to corruption *.

        * I'll leave the reader to decide if that is a mm before or after the threshold of corruption.

  2. Sgt_Oddball Silver badge
    Alien

    Everyone is quick to forget...

    In a true capitalist country everything is for sale... Even the elected leaders.

    1. Neil Barnes Silver badge
      Holmes

      Re: Everyone is quick to forget...

      You can tell a good politician - he stays bought.

      1. Fatman Silver badge
        Joke

        Re: Everyone is quick to forget...

        <quote>You can tell a good politician - he stays bought.</quote> and well paid for!

    2. sabroni Silver badge

      Re: In a true capitalist country

      What does that actually mean? Has there ever been a pure capitalist country any more than there's ever been a purely socialist one?

      When you say "purely capitalist" do you mean where the only law is "can you pay for it?"

  3. Alistair Silver badge
    Windows

    Careful there

    Those MS employee's are interfering with a Citzen's (United) rights!!! That just might be an HR issue!

  4. TheMeerkat

    A bit of hypocrisy here from those who did not mind such donations when they went to causes they supported.

    1. sabroni Silver badge
      WTF?

      Bollocks

      How is it hypocritical to want money to go to the things you support and not to go to the things you don't support? That's the opposite of hypocrisy.

    2. Dan 55 Silver badge

      Who's happy with donating to causes they don't like?

      Let's also not forget the CLOUD Act which MS also lobbied for as it meant that they could finally stop the privacy whitewash PR over emails held on their servers in Ireland causing Uncle Sam the inconvenience of having to get an Irish court order. Now that's hypocrisy.

      1. veti Silver badge

        Err.. How so? Microsoft just asked for the law to be made clear. Where's the hypocrisy?

    3. Phil O'Sophical Silver badge

      I'm just a bit puzzled about why any employee below VP level would contribute to a PAC without having any control over where their money goes beyond "politics for the company's benefit".

  5. Big_Boomer Bronze badge

    Unions

    I used to work in a College and I felt that joining the Union would be a good idea to protect my rights. However, when I looked into it, the Union (Unison) REQUIRED a monthly political donation that went to the Labour Party as part of their monthly fees. I asked if mine could be sent to the Party of my choice and was told that it could only go to Labour. I then asked if I could choose to not make any political donation and was told it was REQUIRED. So, I told the Union Rep to stick his Union membership where the sun never shines. Many months later, the same Union Rep called me a "Scab" to my face and spat at me when I walked into work past a picket line. Somehow he fell over and hurt his face and from then on he kept his distance from me. As a consequence I have never been in a Union and will never support the Labour Party.

    1. DJO Silver badge

      Re: Unions

      Ah the stupidity of ideology over the common good.

      With the NUS they are affiliated to Labour but regardless of that who else should they donate to? The Tories who would happily increase tuition fees so only millionaires can afford to go to university, the Lib Dems who supported the increase in fees?

      The NUS remit is to help students, if they gave a single penny to the Tories they would be failing in their responsibilities.

      If you worked for a company who donated to a cause you did not agree with would you resign? If not you are just another hypocrite.

      While a student did you take advantage of the subsidised union bar? If so that's more hypocrisy from you.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Unions

        OP *worked* at a college, they weren't a student. That is why they are talking about Unison and not NUS.

        As for which party can claim purity on funding, it sure as hell isn't Labour - they oversaw the introduction of fees, their hike to 3k in 2004 despite promising not to in the 2001 election (and they were not in coalition), or the 2010 report that they commissioned for the winner of the subsequent election to receive and follow, with the intent that if Labour had won, they'd be raising fees

        Unions don't need to be in hock to a given political party. They should be there to represent their members to their employers. The trade union I'm a member of is absolutely non-partisan. They keep a "political fund" to the bare minimum possible and are happy to lobby the government of the day, whatever colour it is.

        1. DJO Silver badge

          Re: Unions

          That is why they are talking about Unison and not NUS

          Yes I missed that bit but the point stands, unions should not be forced to donate to organisations that are diametrically opposed to their founding principles.

          Labour under Blair was Tory-Lite and look what a mess that created, perhaps it's time to get back to their socialist ideals.

          1. Big_Boomer Bronze badge

            Re: Unions

            And Union MEMBERS should not be forced to donate to organisations that are diametrically opposed to that member principles. I'm no fan of the Tories or LibDems either, but I'll be damned if any of my money is going to any politician or "Party". Unions are just as bad in many ways as the Tory Lobby groups that donate so much money. The whole lot of them are as corrupt as the politicos they fund.

            1. DJO Silver badge

              Re: Unions

              That is complete crap. You join a union or party or whatever, you join them as they are, if you disagree with their stance, don't join them but join or start a rival union/party/whatever.

    2. Shocked Jock

      Re: Unions

      Not so - any member can opt out of the "political contribution". In some trades unions, part of this is allocated to the Labour Party and part to other purposes, but the contribution is all or nothing; in others, the part relating to the Labour Party is separate. At any rate, contributing to the political fund is not obligatory (and is accounted for separately from the rest of a subscription); saying so would deprive a potential union member of his/her rights to the protection of the union, which would itself be contrary to the rules of most unions. The OP is mistaken.

  6. phuzz Silver badge

    "The Register contacted Microsoft to get the Windows flinger's thoughts on the message, and were told: "We do not comment on internal emails.""

    You should have turned around and said: "Well if we've read it then it's not internal any more!"

  7. Shocked Jock
    FAIL

    From the Unison website:

    "To take part in political activity unions have to maintain a separate political fund.

    "In UNISON you can choose to opt-in and pay an additional 5 per cent contribution on top of your subscription to either the Labour Link or the Campaign Fund. You can also opt-in to contribute to both."

    1. veti Silver badge

      That was one of Thatcher's reforms. Before then, there was no option.

      1. DJO Silver badge

        Funny how she didn't give the same right for stockholders to withhold political contributions.

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