Microsoft agrees to rethink anti-LGBTQ PAC donations after pressure from activists

Zero for Zeros just released its last batch of companies, all engaged in questionable political giving.

Microsoft employees march in a July 2019 Pride parade in Munich, Germany. The company is the first to agree to rethink its PAC contributions after encouragement from Zero for Zeros.
Microsoft employees march in a July 2019 Pride parade in Munich, Germany. The company is the first to agree to rethink its PAC contributions after encouragement from Zero for Zeros. (Photo credit: Alexander Pohl/NurPhoto via Getty Images)

Microsoft has suspended its political action committee giving to reassess its donation criteria after a pro-LGBTQ grassroots group launched a campaign to urge it and other  companies to stop bankrolling anti-LGBTQ extremists. These companies would otherwise have a laudable pro-equality track record of conduct and spending.

The group, Zero for Zeros, just released its third and final list of companies it hopes to pressure to follow Microsoft’s lead.

Last month, Zero for Zeros released the first two batches of companies that had 100% ratings from the Human Rights Campaign and long histories of inclusion, but had made substantial PAC contributions to members of Congress who virulently oppose LGBTQ rights. ThinkProgress reached out to those 27 companies and got responses from five. Each of those companies affirmed their support for the LGBTQ community, but none committed to change their political giving.

On Thursday, The Washington Blade reported that Fred Humphries Jr., Microsoft’s corporate vice president for U.S. Government Affairs, authored an internal memo on July 23 — days after ThinkProgress reached out for comment on the Zero for Zeros — announcing the pause.


The company’s MSPAC PAC, he wrote, would temporarily stop contributing to politicians to ensure a “realigning” of “giving criteria and how decisions are made in terms of the candidates we support.”

On Tuesday, Zero for Zeros identified 22 additional companies with otherwise perfect pro-LGBTQ records that it hopes will stop giving to rabidly anti-equality legislators. ThinkProgress again reached out to each of them.

Seven replied. None made any specific promises to change their giving.

Below are the names of those companies and their statements.

Boston Scientific Corp

In response to your inquiry, Boston Scientific is dedicated to transforming lives through innovative medical solutions that improve the health of patients around the world. Our work is guided by our core values, including embracing diversity and celebrating the unique talents, ideas, and experiences of our employees. We have consistently stood with the LGBTQ community, advocating for sexual orientation and gender identity protections under the law. Recently, that’s meant being a corporate cosponsor of the Equality Act and unifying with other major corporations and several LGBTQ-rights groups, to share our perspectives with the U.S. Supreme Court.

As a result of our efforts, Boston Scientific has been recognized by the Human Rights Campaign as a Best Place to Work for LGBTQ equality. We are proud of this recognition, and motivated to continue our efforts to ensure that everyone at BSC is not only welcomed but celebrated.

We take a thoughtful, responsible approach in advocating for inclusive policies that are focused on increasing patient access to our life-changing and lifesaving technologies. Our PAC contributions do not signify an endorsement of the comprehensive positions of every recipient, although we do work hard to underscore our policy preferences and articulate our core values — including equality — to these policymakers. Engaging with policymakers often requires finding initial areas of shared interest and trying push for more common ground and change over time. This includes an objective of our PAC to work toward an environment of greater equality.


Cargill is unconditionally committed to protecting the rights of all individuals. As a signatory to the UN Global Compact, Cargill takes guidance from the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights. In acknowledgement of our efforts, we are proud of our 100 percent score on the Human Rights Campaign’s Corporate Equality Index for 15 consecutive years. We make every effort to assess and lend political support in a conscientious and responsible manner, working with legislators and policymakers who are relevant to our business, customers and communities. That support is not based on a single issue. Our support for any candidate does not suggest that we agree with their positions on every issue.

We are firmly committed to protecting the rights of the LGBTQ community, as well as the rights of all individuals, including formally endorsing the Equality Act.

Chevron Corp

Chevron is committed to fostering diversity and inclusion at all levels of our company. It is a cornerstone of our corporate values. We know that hiring and retaining a diverse workforce and building an inclusive culture drives our success, strengthens areas that need improvement, and inspires creative solutions. For 14 consecutive years, Chevron achieved a rating of 100 percent on the Human Rights Campaign Corporate Equality Index. We were also the first major U.S. oil and gas company to offer domestic partner benefits to gay and lesbian employees.

We support candidates based on a wide number of factors including their views towards the need for affordable, reliable and ever cleaner energy. We engage with and support many elected officials who take positions on a wide range of issues. We are not always aligned with all of their views but it is important for us to be part of the dialogue and share our perspectives, including those on diversity and inclusion, with candidates.

Ecolab Inc.

Ecolab’s employee political action committee supports U.S. federal congressional candidates for a variety of reasons related to the company’s business operations, and we never agree with every viewpoint a candidate may have.

Ecolab is committed to having a workplace where every member of our team can thrive, and we support our LGBTQ employees in many ways, including through public policy, as demonstrated by our joining the Human Rights Campaign’s Business Coalition for the Equality Act earlier this year.

General Motors

Our ability to meet the needs and expectations of an increasingly diverse and global customer base is tied closely to diversity and inclusiveness within our teams. General Motors is focused on building a winning culture–one that provides opportunity and an environment that allows all employees to reach their highest potential. Supporting the Equality Act means we win together as one team and share the responsibility of helping GM shape the future of mobility.

Nationwide Mutual Insurance

Nationwide’s support of the LGBTQ community and promoting a diverse and inclusive work environment is unquestioned.

Our PAC is completely non-partisan and contributions are made based on the candidate’s individual merit. We operate a diverse business dealing with a variety of complex issues. Insurance and financial industries are facing unprecedented levels of legislative and regulatory activity. Our ability to advocate so that we can help our members and protect what matters most to them is greatly affected by the legislative and regulatory environments in which we operate.

Candidates who are elected into office that understand our businesses will better consider our positions, including our long-standing support of the LGBTQ community.


Pfizer has a long and proud history of caring, supporting, and advocating for the LGBTQ community, which includes signing on to the Equality Act, filing a Supreme Court amicus brief in support of same-sex marriage, and maintaining a perfect HRC score since 2004. The decision to contribute to elected officials is made based on their support of the biopharmaceutical industry and policies that protect innovation incentives and patients’ access to medicines and vaccines. In no way does our support translate into an endorsement of their position on any social issue.

Bayer AG, Best Buy, Cardinal Health, Coca-Cola, Diageo, Dow Chemical Co, Exelon Corp, General Mills, Johnson & Johnson, Merck, Northrop Grumman, PepsiCo, Procter & Gamble, United Parcel Services, and Whirlpool Corporation did not respond as of press time.


Zero for Zeros’ campaign manager Lane Hudson told the Blade, “Microsoft was the first company that engaged with Zero for Zeros in good faith. We discussed their concerns, they heard ours and their employees weighed in. We are thrilled that they have responded to our campaign.”

Last month, he told ThinkProgress that the Zero for Zeros effort was not meant to not be an attack on these companies, “because we view them as our allies. They have invested in their employees and customers and been with us in these court battles.” Rather, they are requests for a “conversation” about PAC giving, “so we can talk about why it’s important not only to the LGBTQ community but to their employees and their customers and to the overall movement in general and how it can be beneficial to their business.”