Google donates to Cindy Hyde-Smith but backpedals after ‘public hanging’ comment, reports say

Google is backing away from its recent donation to Sen. Cindy Hyde-Smith’s campaign as backlash swells around the Republican’s remarks about attending a “public hanging.”

Required federal campaign finance filings from Hyde-Smith’s camp show the tech giant made the $5,000 contribution on Nov. 13 — two days after Hyde-Smith’s remarks brought national attention to the state’s approaching U.S. Senate runoff election. Hyde-Smith made the comments on Nov. 2, but they didn’t receive social media and state and national media attention until Sunday.

Judd Legum with nonprofit newsletter Popular Information first reported the donation on Nov. 13.

In a response to Legum, the company contends the contribution was made more than a week before Hyde-Smith’s comments.

“This contribution was made on Nov. 2 before Sen. Hyde-Smith’s remarks became public on Nov. 11. While we support candidates who promote pro-growth policies for business and technology, we do not condone these remarks and would have not made such a contribution had we known about them,” the statement reads.

The Clarion Ledger has reached out to the Hyde-Smith campaign for comment.

Google’s disclosure that the contribution was made on Nov. 2 raises additional questions.

The short window before the runoff election means candidates have to report contributions of $1,000 or more within 48 hours to the Federal Election Commission.

Legum highlighted the discrepancy in his report.

As Google seeks to create distance, a review of 48-hour reports filed by Hyde-Smith’s camp since Monday show not all donors are shying away.

As of Thursday morning, Cindy Hyde-Smith for U.S. Senate, the official fundraising arm for Hyde-Smith’s campaign, has received more than $120,000 in campaign donations. That figure does not encompass contributions to unaffiliated political action committees such as the Mississippi Victory Fund.

The Henry Barbour-led PAC spent more than $70,000 this week on advertisements opposing Hyde-Smith’s Democratic challenger Mike Espy.

Espy supporters are also mobilizing.

Espy’s campaign reported $9,500 in campaign contributions this week. Those figures, however, don’t include the efforts by the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee which send out a fundraising email this week with a subject line referencing Hyde-Smith’s comments.