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Intel CEO, known for diversity efforts, cancels Trump fundraiser

TechCrunch TechCrunch 1/06/2016 Kate Conger

Intel CEO Brian Krzanich, widely known for his efforts to improve diversity in the technology industry, planned to host a fundraiser at his home for Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump this week. But after an Intel spokesperson fielded questions from the New York Times about the fundraiser, the event was cancelled.

An Intel spokesperson said that the fundraiser would include “a full exchange of views,” according to the New York Times. Intel did not give a reason for the cancellation, and Trump announced that he would hold a rally in San Jose on the same evening.

Financial support for Trump, who famously called Mexican immigrants “rapists” and speculated this week about the race of the judge overseeing a lawsuit against Trump University, seems incongruous with Krzanich’s diversity activism. Krzanich has invested heavily in increasing diversity at Intel, spending $300 million on diversity efforts and working with Rev. Jesse Jackson on his PUSHTech 2020 initiative.

But a closer look at Intel’s political donations suggests that the company’s political ideals may be more right-leaning than expected. Intel’s PAC, which is funded by contributions from the company’s employees, donated a total of $781,784 to politicians in 2015, according to Intel’s annual corporate responsibility report. Fifty-five percent of the money went to Republican members of Congress and their PACs, with the remainder going to Democratic leaders.

The Intel PAC has donated to high-profile Republican leaders, contributing $10,000 to former House Speaker John Boehner last May, months before Boehner resigned his post as speaker. The PAC also gave $5,000 to Marco Rubio in his capacity as a senator, and $1,000 to the pro-life advocate Sen. Mitch McConnell.

In addition to Intel’s contributions to members of Congress, the company also donated to several Republican groups in the last year, including a $5,000 donation to the Freedom Project last May and a $2,500 donation to Invest in a Strong and Secure America this January. Both groups provide financial backing for Republican members of Congress; Invest in a Strong and Secure America also donated $5,000 dollars to Marco Rubio’s presidential campaign.

Intel’s PAC also spends generously on the Democratic side of the aisle, contributing $10,000 a piece to Sen. Ron Wyden, Sen. Dianne Feinstein, Rep. Mike Honda, and others.

Krzanich does not appear to regularly donate to political candidates himself, making his willingness to host a fundraiser for Trump even more striking. In 2009, Krzanich donated $1,500 to Sen. Wyden’s Senate campaign, according to data from the Center for Responsive Politics. Senator Wyden is known for his advocacy on behalf of technology and has supported strong encryption in Congress.

“We recognize that it is impractical and unrealistic to expect that we or our stockholders and stakeholders will agree with every issue that a politician or trade association may support,” Intel wrote in its 2015 responsibility report. “In such cases, we base our decision on the issues that will have the greatest benefit for our stockholders and key stakeholders. Should we identify significant incongruencies between a candidate’s record and our own policies, we will disclose this information as part of our political accountability disclosure process.”

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