How Microsoft’s Co-Founders Are Spending Their Political Bucks

“Often” would be too convenient an explanation.

Who are Seattle's two filthy richest backing for president? With less than two months to go, Bill Gates and Paul Allen aren't clearly tipping their hands. Gates has given John McCain $2,500—but that was for the Republican's Senate campaigns back in 1998 and 2003. (Gates also gave George Bush $2,000 in 2003.) Allen gave Hillary Clinton $2,300 for her unsuccessful White House bid, but so far isn't on the federal record as backing Obama, the candidate she's since endorsed. Each multi-billionaire gave $5,000 to Microsoft's PAC, which doles out funds to both parties. Likewise, the two have individually spread their hefty political dollars to both sides of the aisle. Gates has given Yakima Republican Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers $3,300 for her current re-election bid, and supports Republican Rep. Dave Reichert with $4,600 in donations. (Gates' father, Seattle attorney William H. Gates, has given Reichert opponent Darcy Burner $1,500.) Allen gave Reichert $2,300 for his re-election campaign, but, like Gates junior, has also supported Democrats, including congressmen Norm Dicks, Rick Larsen, Adam Smith, and Jay Inslee. Gates, who has leaned to the right in the past, is listing a bit left this time. He has doled out money to five GOP political action committees and five Dem PACs this election cycle. And while he gave $8,000 to Republicans, he donated $16,000 to Democrats, including $10,000 to the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee. The elder Gates, however, is on the record as a solid Dem backer, and has given $2,300 to both Clinton and Obama.

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