Political engagement: Corporate participation in the public policy process is an important and essential means of enhancing shareholder value and is fundamental to free and democratic societies. Microsoft and our employees participate in the public policy process in the United States in a variety of ways – from corporate government affairs programs designed to educate and influence elected officials on key public policy issues related to the company's business, to individual political giving by employees through the Microsoft Political Action Committee, to membership in trade associations which help to advance our business objectives.

Political Engagement

Corporate participation in the public policy process is an important and essential means of enhancing shareholder value and is fundamental to free and democratic societies. Microsoft and our employees participate in the public policy process in the United States in a variety of ways – from corporate government affairs programs designed to educate and influence elected officials on key public policy issues related to the company's business, to individual political giving by employees through the Microsoft Political Action Committee, to membership in trade associations which help to advance our business objectives.

Responsibility in Governance and Reporting

  • The Regulatory and Public Policy Committee of the Microsoft Board of Directors is responsible for overseeing the company's public policy work and related activities and receives regular, formal reports.
  • Management of our participation in the political process in the United States is the responsibility of the Vice President for US Government Affairs. This position reports directly to Microsoft's General Counsel who reports to the company CEO.
  • The Microsoft Political Action Committee Steering Committee, a bipartisan committee of Microsoft federal and state government affairs professionals, is responsible for oversight and day to day decision making related to political spending. Oversight of the committee spans corporate fund expenditures as well as employee and shareholder donations made via the MSPAC program.
  • Microsoft requires that those individuals who recommend corporate political contributions in the United States certify as to their knowledge of and adherence to these policies and practices.
  • Outside ethics counsel reviews and approves all MSPAC and corporate political giving activities; filings; reports and materials.
  • Microsoft commits to publishing MSPAC and corporate political spending reports semi-annually on the corporate website.

Transparency in Public Policy Advocacy

We seek to ensure that our participation in the political process takes place in the light of day and for reasons that are clear and justifiable to our shareholders and the public.

In compliance with regulations and our commitment to transparency, Microsoft regularly files and publishes reports that detail our advocacy activities. Our disclosures include consultant fees, lobbying expenses, and trade association dues spent on advocacy.

Expenditures FY2013 FY2012 FY2011 FY2010
United States (Federal) Expenditures $9,780,000 $7,559,000 $6,912,000 $6,750,000
United States (State) Expenditures $7,920,000 $7,486,000 $6,870,000 $4,870,000
Expenditures FY2009 FY2008 FY2007 FY2006
United States (Federal) Expenditures $7,540,000 $9,120,000 $8,876,279 $8,705,098
United States (State) Expenditures $2,935,602 $2,750,000 N/A N/A

Compliance, Accountability and Transparency in Political Spending

Microsoft sponsors the Microsoft Political Action Committee (MSPAC), to enable Microsoft employees and shareholders to participate more effectively in the U.S. political process. The committee, created in 1988, informs its members about important issues and government decisions that can affect Microsoft business. It also provides an opportunity for members to collectively support public policy positions that are important to Microsoft and the software industry.

MSPAC is a bipartisan organization that contributes to the campaigns of federal, state, and local candidates. MSPAC typically supports candidates who share Microsoft views on public policy, serve as congressional or legislative leaders, represent districts or states where Microsoft has a major business presence, or serve on committees that have jurisdiction over legislation that is important to the company.

The MSPAC Steering Committee meets regularly to evaluate candidates' public policy positions on issues that are relevant to Microsoft business or of particular interest to the computer software industry. The committee – composed of senior managers in Legal and Corporate Affairs at Microsoft – then decides which candidates and campaigns MSPAC will support.

MSPAC Steering Committee Members

Stephanie Peters Director of Government Affairs
Anne Gavin Director of Government Affairs
Matt Gelman Managing Director of Government Affairs
Ed Ingle Managing Director of Government Affairs
Brian Burke Director of Government Affairs
Mike Egan Director of Government Affairs
John Sampson Director of Government Affairs
Andrew Wise Director of Government Affairs
Contributions H2 2013 H1 2013 H2 2012 H1 2012
MSPAC Federal Candidate $210,500
PDF
$218,000
PDF
$301,500
PDF
$281,500
PDF
MSPAC State Candidate $101,750
PDF
$33,900
PDF
$97,800
PDF
$114,960
PDF
MSPAC Non-Candidate Committee $179,500
PDF
$277,500
PDF
$140,500
PDF
$320,000
PDF
Contributions 2011 2010 2009 2008 2007
MSPAC Federal Candidate $472,500
PDF
$728,000
PDF
$451,000
PDF
$474,500
PDF
$78,500
PDF
MSPAC State Candidate $151,572
PDF
$238,550
PDF
$118,210
PDF
$242,200
PDF
$39,700
PDF
MSPAC Non-Candidate Committee $461,000
PDF
$505,800
PDF
$317,950
PDF
$371,200
PDF
N/A

Note: As of October 2011, Microsoft committed to publishing MSPAC spending reports on a semi-annual basis.

Corporate Funding

Under U.S. law, corporations cannot support candidates for federal office. However, many states allow corporate donations to state and local candidates or to ballot-issue campaigns. As a corporation, Microsoft makes political contributions to support candidates and ballot measures that are consistent with the company's public policy agenda and business interests.

Since July 2005, Microsoft has made no corporate contributions to any non-candidate or non-party political committee organized under section 527 of the Internal Revenue Code.

Beginning July 1, 2010, Microsoft will not pay for any independent expenditure or electioneering communication as those terms are defined by applicable law.

  H2 2013 H1 2013 H2 2012 H1 2012 2011 2010 2009
Microsoft Corp Political Contributions $137,100
PDF
$33,200
PDF
$119,300
PDF
$27,000
PDF
$151,572
PDF
$107,400
PDF
$233,182
PDF

Note: As of October 2011, Microsoft committed to publishing corporate spending reports on a semi-annual basis. The above table will be updated with a mid-year report in July 2012.

Oversight and Transparency of Trade Association Memberships

Like all major corporations, Microsoft is a member of a number of trade associations (organized under section 501(c)(6) of the Internal Revenue Code) in the United States to help advance our public policy agenda and related business goals. We publicly disclose and update annually a list of those trade associations to which Microsoft pays dues and makes other expenditures through our Legal & Community Affairs. Each year, Microsoft inquires and makes a reasonable effort to obtain from those associations where our dues and other expenditures total $25,000 or more, what portion of the company's dues or payments were used for lobbying expenditures or political contributions. This information is publically disclosed and updated annually.

  FY2013 FY2012 FY2011 FY2010 FY2009
Microsoft Trade Association Membership PDF PDF PDF PDF PDF
Principled Business Practices
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