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Microsoft Paid Gay Foe $1.57 Million

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Microsoft Paid Gay Foe $1.57 Million

by The Associated Press

May 5, 2006 - 5:00 pm ET

(Seattle, Washington) Ralph Reed, conservative Republican strategist who's running for lieutenant governor of Georgia, has reported that Microsoft Corp. paid his public relations and lobbying firm $1.57 million over five years.

In a financial disclosure statement filed in Georgia on Monday, the former head of the Christian Coalition said his firm, Century Strategies, received five payments ranging from $240,000 to more than $572,000 each year from 2001 to 2005.

A year ago, Microsoft severed ties with Reed. At the time, Microsoft spokeswoman Ginny Terzano said Reed's company had lobbied for Microsoft on international trade and competition issues. While declining to comment on his candidacy, Terzano said it would not be appropriate for the company to have a consultant on retainer who's seeking elective office at the same time.

The move came after liberal activists urged Microsoft to quit using Reed as a political consultant. The groups chastised Microsoft for pulling its support for a Washington state gay rights bill it had backed in the past.

A short time later, the company said it would support such legislation in the future, and did during this year's legislative session.

In January, the Legislature passed a bill adding "sexual orientation" to a state law that bans discrimination in housing, employment and insurance.

©365Gay.com 2006

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