Google donates $5000 to Cindy Hyde-Smith

U.S. Senator Cindy Hyde-Smith (R-MS) was caught on tape "joking" about her willingness to attend a lynching at a campaign event in November. "If he invited me to a public hanging, I’d be on the front row," Hyde-Smith said on November 2. The small crowd responded with laughter and applause.

Since the video became public on Sunday, Hyde-Smith has refused to apologize, claiming her remarks were a complement. “I used an exaggerated expression of regard, and any attempt to turn this into a negative connotation is ridiculous,” Hyde-Smith said in a statement.

One corporation that apparently was unbothered by Hyde-Smith’s remarks: Google. On Tuesday, Google donated $5000 to Hyde-Smith’s campaign, according to documents filed with the FEC.

Hyde-Smith faces Democrat Mike Espy in a run-off election on November 27. A group of ministers from the Jackson, Mississippi area called on her to apologize and resign.

At a press conference on Monday, Hyde-Smith robotically refused to answer any questions about her lynching comments. Eventually, Mississippi Governor Phil Bryant (R) intervened and attempted to deflect criticism by accusing black women of genocide.

Google previously donated $10,000 to the Making America Prosperous PAC, the leadership PAC of Congressman Kevin Brady (R-TX). Making America Prosperous gave Congressman Steve King (R-IA) a cash infusion after other corporate donors abandoned him over his ties to white nationalism.

UPDATE (11/14, 1:25PM): In a statement to Popular Information, Google claims they were not aware of Hyde-Smith’s lynching comments at the time of their donation and would not have donated had the company known about them:

This contribution was made on November 2nd before Senator Hyde-Smith's remarks became public on November 11th. While we support candidates who promote pro-growth policies for business and technology, we do not condone these remarks and would not have made such a contribution had we known about them

Google’s statement conflicts with the filing that the Hyde-Smith campaign made yesterday with the FEC, which lists November 13 as the date of the contribution. Federal regulations requires candidates, within 20 days of an election, to report contribution of $1000 or more within 48 hours.

We’ve asked Google to confirm when Hyde-Smith received their donation and will update this post if we hear more.

UPDATE (11/15, 5:04PM): The Hyde-Smith campaign told the Jackson Free Press that they did not receive the contribution from Google until November 13, raising questions about Google’s narrative on the timing of the donation.

Hyde-Smith communications director Melissa Scallan confirmed to the Jackson Free Press that the check is dated Nov. 2, but said the campaign did not receive it until Nov. 13.

"We received the check on Nov. 13 and reported it the same day," Scallan said. "Donations must be reported within 48 hours of receipt."

This is a special report from Popular Information, a political newsletter for people who give a damn — written by me, Judd Legum.

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