REDMOND, Wash., April 27 (UPI) -- The Microsoft Corp. is paying social conservative Ralph Reed $20,000 a month to act as a consultant, the Seattle Post-Intelligencer reported Wednesday.
Microsoft spokesman Mark Murray said the company has hired Reed on several occasions to provide advice on "trade and competition issues." He said Reed's consulting relationship with the software company has existed "several years."
The newspaper suggested the relationship with a Republican closely tied to the White House -- and to evangelist Pat Robertson -- may have persuaded the company to recently announce its opposition to oppose gay rights legislation in the state of Washington.
The gay rights bill, which would have made it illegal to discriminate against gays and lesbians in housing, employment and insurance, failed in the state Senate last week by a single vote.
Murray rejected suggestions that Reed had any part in the company's decision to withdraw its previous support for gay rights laws.