Microsoft Plays Politics

In 2002, approaching a final deal with the Justice Department in its antitrust case, Microsoft flew one of Sen. John Warner's staffers to Seattle. During the two-day tour of Microsoft's campus, Chris DeLacy was briefed on the case.

DeLacy visit came one month before Microsoft and the federal government announced a settlement in the antitrust case that had dogged the company for more than a decade.

Paying for congressional travel is considered by some to be a form of lobbying, but one less closely watched than campaign contributions or the public disclosure forms. Lobbying has come under intense scrutiny since the arrest of lobbyist Jack Abramoff, who has pleaded guilty to conspiracy to bribe public officials, fraud, and tax evasion.

Members of Congress and their staff members took about 23,000 trips worth $48.9 million paid for by private interests between January 1, 2000, through June 30, 2005, according to an analysis of congressional travel documents compiled by Medill News Service, American Public Media and the Center for Public Integrity.

Read more at source: PC World

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