Our approach

Corporate participation in the public policy process is an important and essential means of enhancing shareholder value. It’s also fundamental to a free and democratic society.

We strive to ensure that our participation in the political process is open, transparent, and based on reasons that are clear and justifiable to our shareholders and the public. Microsoft and our employees participate in the United States political process in a variety of ways.

Participation

We join corporate government affairs programs designed to educate and influence elected officials on key public policy issues related to the company's business.

Support

We give individual political employee donations through the Microsoft Political Action Committee (MSPAC).

Collective action

We help to advance our business objectives through memberships in trade associations.


Microsoft is recognized as a leader for policies that ensure the accountability and transparency of our public policy engagement. In 2017, we were named a “Trendsetter” among the S&P 500 for the company’s leadership in political disclosure and accountability on the

CPA-Zicklin Index of Corporate Political Accountability and Disclosure.*

*Compiled annually by the Center for Political Accountability and the Carol and Lawrence Zicklin Center for Business Ethics Research at the University of Pennsylvania Wharton School of Business




To find reports detailing Microsoft’s political contributions including MSPAC contributions, corporate contributions, and trade association memberships, visit the Reports Hub.

Policy agenda

The “Cloud for Global Good” is Microsoft’s policy roadmap, designed to assist lawmakers and policy influencers with a set of recommendations to advance the digital transformation opportunities that the cloud presents.

The Cloud for Global Good policy roadmap is grounded in our optimism of a future powered by the cloud, and our commitment to realize the social and economic benefits of cloud computing for everyone, ensuring that no one is left behind. The roadmap covers a range of policy areas and provides a comprehensive set of recommendations and considerations mapped to three core principles.

A Trusted Cloud

We need to address personal privacy, government access to data, cross-border data flows, cybersecurity norms, and cybercrime prevention.

A Responsible Cloud:

We need to balance human rights with public safety, preventing technology fraud and online exploitation, promoting environmental sustainability, and addressing the emerging policy issues around AI.

An Inclusive Cloud

We need to enable affordable and ubiquitous broadband access, digital literacy, next generation skills, including those for people with disabilities, and capable of supporting businesses of every size.

We’ll continue to update this policy roadmap to reflect the changing priorities of lawmakers and policy influencers, and will expand on issues where we feel special attention and further exploration is warranted. Furthermore, we’ll continue to showcase the digital transformation of our customers and how they’re innovating on the cloud. In FY18 we’ll focus on aligning the policy roadmap with the digital transformation agenda of governments, businesses, and civil society to better highlight where public policy can be as transformational as the technology itself.

Read our cloud policy roadmap.

Responsible governance

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. The committee receives regular, formal reports. Management of our participation in the political process in the U.S. is the responsibility of the Corporate Vice President for U.S. Government Affairs, who reports directly to Brad Smith, Microsoft's President and Chief Legal Officer. Brad Smith reports to the company CEO, Satya Nadella.

Professional woman leading a meeting

Microsoft Political Action Committee (MSPAC)

The Microsoft Political Action Committee (MSPAC) 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 publishes MSPAC and corporate political spending reports semi-annually on the corporate website.

Microsoft sponsors 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.

As a bipartisan organization that contributes to the campaigns of federal, state, and local candidates, MSPAC typically supports candidates who share Microsoft’s 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 evaluates candidates' public policy positions on issues that are relevant to Microsoft business or are 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 committee members

Stephanie PetersDirector, U.S. Government Affairs
Anne GavinDirector, U.S. Government Affairs
Matt GelmanGeneral Manager, Congressional Affairs
Ed IngleGeneral Manager, U.S. Government Affairs
Brian BurkeDirector, U.S. Government Affairs
John SampsonDirector, U.S. Government Affairs
Andrew WiseDirector, U.S. Government Affairs

Transparency in public policy advocacy

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.

Public policy advocacy spending

US Federal

US State

Information compiled according to the guidelines of the Lobbying Disclosure Act.

Microsoft regularly files and publishes reports that detail our public policy advocacy activities. Our disclosures include consultant fees, lobbying expenses, and trade association dues spent on advocacy. In addition, Microsoft has adopted Principles for Engagement in the Public Policy Process in the United States. These principles address issues specific to the U.S. political and fundraising system.

Under these policies, we commit to disclosing a semi-annual list of election campaign expenditures, including financial and in-kind contributions by the company and MSPAC to candidates, political parties, political committees, and other politically active tax-exempt organizations, such as those organized under Internal Revenue Code section 501(c)(4), as defined by applicable laws.

To uphold our commitment to the transparency of our political spending and contributions, we do not make corporate contributions to any non-candidate or non-party political committees organized under section 527 of the Internal Revenue Code, which are formed solely to influence elections. We also make no independent political expenditures or electioneering communications, as permitted under the U.S. Supreme Court’s Citizens United ruling, and we inform our trade associations that no Microsoft funds may pay for their independent expenditures or electioneering communications.

Trade associations

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

Political contributions reports

To find reports detailing Microsoft’s political contributions including MSPAC contributions, corporate contributions, and trade association memberships, please visit the Reports Hub on our Microsoft Corporate Responsibility web site.