Microsoft Corp. will be providing the technology to count the votes of Iowa caucus-goers, according to a new report.
Bernie Sanders’s campaign is raising concerns about the corporation’s potential conflict of interest in tallying the votes.
As The Hill reports:
Microsoft volunteered to provide the technology to help tally up the results of Iowa’s caucus, free of charge… The contests in both parties are expected to go down to the wire… Pete D’Alessandro, who runs the Sanders operation in Iowa, last week questioned the tech giant’s motivations… Other aides to Sanders noted that Microsoft employees have donated hundreds of thousands of dollars to the Clinton campaign, according to MSNBC. “You’d have to ask yourself why they’d want to give something like that away for free,” D’Alessandro said.
The Sanders campaign’s suggestion that Microsoft may have financial interests at stake in the outcome of the race is true for both parties.
As conservative columnist Michelle Malkin pointed out last month, “Microsoft, founded by leading H-1B/amnesty cheerleader Bill Gates, has been [Marco] Rubio’s No. 2 corporate donor the past five years.”
Microsoft founder Bill Gates is a member of Mark Zuckerberg’s immigration lobbying firm FWD.us and former Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer is a co-chair of the immigration lobbying firm the Partnership for a New American Economy—along with Fox News’s founder Rupert Murdoch.
Both immigration lobbying firms have endorsed and lobbied for Marco Rubio’s 2015 immigration expansion bill—known as the Immigration Innovation Act, or I-Sqaured—which would have tripled the issuances of low-wage H-1B guest worker visas.
According to USCIS data analyzed by ComputerWorld’s Patrick Thibodeau, Microsoft is the 12th biggest user of the H-1B program—having brought in 1,048 foreign workers on H-1Bs in 2013.
Microsoft’s reliance upon imported foreign labor comes at a time of large-scale layoffs for the corporation. In 2014, Microsoft announced its plans to lay off 18,000 workers at the same time the company was lobbying to increase the H-1B program, prompting strong condemnation from U.S. Sen. Jeff Sessions, a top opponent of Marco Rubio’s H-1B expansion plan.
In 2007, Bill Gates even testified before Congress and called for an unlimited number skilled foreign workers—particularly in engineering—to be admitted into the country. “My basic view is that the country should welcome as many of those people as we can get,” Gates declared. “Even though it may not be realistic, I don’t think there should be any limit.”
However, according to U.S. census data there are more than 11 million Americans with degrees in Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) who lack employment in these fields. In fact, U.S. schools are graduating two times more students with STEM degrees than are annually finding employment in these fields.
In a 2014 USA Today op-ed titled, “Bill Gates Tech Worker Fantasy,” labor experts explained that the tech labor market—contrary to Gates’s claims—is currently over saturated, which has resulted in lower wages for America’s tech workers:
Business executives and politicians endlessly complain that there is a “shortage” of qualified Americans and that the U.S. must admit more high-skilled guest workers to fill jobs in STEM fields: science, technology, engineering and math. This claim is echoed by everyone from President Obama and Rupert Murdoch to Mark Zuckerberg and Bill Gates… [Yet] as longtime researchers of the STEM workforce and immigration… none of us has been able to find any credible evidence to support the IT industry’s assertions of labor shortages… The tech industry’s promotion of expanded temporary visas (such as the H-1B) and green cards is driven by its desire for cheap, young and immobile labor. It is well documented that loopholes enable firms to legally pay H-1Bs below their market value and to continue the widespread age discrimination acknowledged by many in the tech industry… IT industry leaders have spent lavishly on lobbying to promote their STEM shortage claims among legislators. The only problem is that the evidence contradicts their self-interested claims.
Although it has not received much attention from the establishment media, the H-1B issue has played a critical role in the 2016 election.
In Florida, scores of Marco Rubio’s own constituents were laid off by Disney and were forced to train their low-wage foreign replacements brought in on H-1B visas. The American tech workers launched a discrimination lawsuit against Disney earlier this week.
As a result, Rubio has come under fire for being one of the most ardent champions of the cheap foreign labor program—having introduced his I-Squared bill, which would expand the H-1B program, as recently as last year.
The attorney for the Florida Disney tech workers, Sara Blackwell, blasted Sen. Rubio for his continued efforts to put the interests of his “corporate donors” ahead of his own constituents. “Sen. Rubio is a liar,” Blackwell told Breitbart in November, “I think Rubio lies. And the only motivation I can imagine he has to do so is the support he gets from his corporate donors.”
According to Open Secrets, the Walt Disney Corporation has been one of Rubio’s biggest financial boosters in the 2016 election— having donated more than $2 million. Disney CEO Bob Iger also co-chairs the Partnership For A New American Economy along with Microsoft’s Steve Ballmer, which has backed Rubio’s 2015 H-1B expansion bill.
Sen. Ted Cruz has similarly been subject to intense criticism for his position on the H-1B issue. Cruz has previously expressed his support for expanding the H-1B program– and even introduced an amendment to the 2013 Rubio-Schumer bill that would have resulted in a 500% increase of the H-1B program. During the Gang of Eight debate, Cruz said, “The best aspect of the so-called Gang of Eight bill is the reform that is found concerning legal immigration. I think it makes some positive steps with regard to legal immigration, but I don’t think it goes nearly far enough… if we want to improve high-skilled innovation in my view we should not do so by half measures. We should do so with a significant step that materially improves the status quo, and for that reason I’ve introduced this amendment to increase the cap by five hundred percent.” During the course of the 2016 race, however, Cruz has since changed his position. He has called for a temporary suspension of the program pending an investigation, and introduced a widely-praised reform plan to crack down on abuse.
In stark contrast to Rubio’s position, GOP frontrunner Donald Trump, who is self-funding his campaign, has taken a firm position against H-1B “job theft.” Trump has told Breitbart News that Rubio ought to “immediately rescind his sponsorship of the I-Squared bill and apologize to every Floridian for endorsing it… [as well as] return the money he [Rubio] has received from Silicon Valley CEOs and to donate the money to a charity helping unemployed Americans whose jobs Rubio has helped to destroy.