Morning Fizz

Morning Fizz: Microsoft Makes Its GOP Allegiance Clear

Caffeinated News featuring Microsoft's $30,000 decision.

October 29, 2014

1. Microsoft, typically an even-handed contributor to Democrats and Republicans at the state level, has contributed at least $50,000 more to the GOP effort in this year's state legislative elections than to the Democrats—roughly $80,000 to $47,000—according to PDC records. 

While Microsoft has given to many Democrats such as state house speaker Rep. Frank Chopp (D-43, Wallingford) ($900), senate minority leader state Sen. Sharon Nelson (D-34, West Seattle) ($500), state Sen. David Frockt (D-46, N. Seattle) ($500), state Sen. Marko Liias (D-21, Edmonds) ($1,350), along with the senate and house Democratic committees ($950 each)—they've not only done the same to a long list of Republican candidates and Republican committees, but they've given hefty exclusive checks this year ($20,000, $15,000, and $15,000 to the Washington State Republican Party, the GOP state senate PAC, and the King County GOP respectively) that have made the company's partisan allegiance clear this year. (Microsoft did give a $20,000 check last year to the Democrats, and I've included that in the $33,000 GOP advantage.)

It's also worth noting that in the instances that the tech titan has contributed to one of the contested races that may decide control of the state senate, they've contributed solely to the Republican candidate over the Democrat, giving: $800 to state Sen. Andy Hill (R-45, Kirkland), $750 to Sen. Doug Ericksen (R-42, Ferndale), and $1,500 to the one dissident Democrat who caucuses with the GOP, state Sen. Tim Sheldon (D-35, Potlatch), who is being challenged by bona fide Democrat Irene Bowling, the candidate that has netted all the Democratic endorsements.

Microsoft has made the company's Republican allegiance clear this year.

With the stall on transportation funding falling largely on the GOP, thanks to their allergy to taxes, and the failure on K-12 education landing both parties in contempt of court, Microsoft's $50,000 preference for the GOP is curious. 

Here's a theory: The Democrats, who have been insistent on reassessing corporate tax breaks, did not renew a pair of R&D tax exemptions for high-tech companies last session worth $20 million to Microsoft. 

2. I think we buried the lead on yesterday's story about the lack of renters on the city council. So, to be clear on our little scoop yesterday: Socialist city council member Kshama Sawant is now a homeowner. She bought a house this summer. The $345,000 Leschi home keeps her in the 3rd District (by about 20 blocks), where she was formerly a renter on Capitol Hill and, according to a recent poll, has a 61 percent favorable rating.

52 percent of the city rents. 

3.  Karl de Jong, chair of the King County Democrats for the last year and a half, announced last night that he will not be running for reelection. De Jong is going back to school and is likely to move out of the county, he said.  De Jong was praised by his colleagues for increasing the group's fundraising numbers. 

In the running already to take de Jong's place is the chair of the 33rd District Democrats Omaha Sternberg

4. Yesterday, we reported on what strikes Fizz as an iffy PDC complaint from the state senate Democrats—the King County Republicans are handing out lit (gasp!) for their guy state Sen. Andy Hill (R-45, Kirkland) in the pivotal race for control fo the state senate. (The Democrats claim the effort violates in-kind contribution limits, but the PDC, which hasn't looked at the specific complaint yet, tells Fizz there are plenty of scenarios that make lit drops like that a-okay.)

Asked about the "controversy," King County Republican chair Lori Sotelo told Fizz:

"The complaint, if it has really been filed, would be an easily corrected bookkeeping error. It seems to me an attempt by the democrats to deflect attention from Working America's potentially $100's of thousands in canvassing and other in-kind activities on behalf of [Hill's Democratic challenger] Matt Isenhower which as of yesterday was not reported."

Sotelo correctly points out that "Working America has not even registered as a PAC to the PDC" and says the Republicans have filed a complaint with the PDC about the below-the-radar campaigning. 

Sotelo sent along a Working America flier that she says has shown up in the district. 







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