David Barrett, CEO of the San Francisco-based company, said in an email blasted out to all of Expensify’s customers on Thursday that the US is “facing an unprecedented attack on the foundations of democracy itself.” Anyone who votes for President Donald Trump, votes for a third-party candidate, or doesn’t cast a ballot is showing that they are “comfortable standing aside and allowing our democracy to be methodically dismantled, in plain sight,” he added.
Barrett didn’t detail how he thinks Trump is destroying democracy, saying only that he believes the president is trying to suppress votes. As a provider of expense-management software, he said, “Expensify depends on a functioning society and economy.
Not many expense reports get filed during a civil war.
Barrett made no effort to reconcile his doomsday views on Trump with the fact that Expensify is able to rank as the world’s most widely used and fastest-growing expense-management platform while the current president is in charge.
Ironically, his mass email may jeopardize that position more so than Trump’s re-election. In reaction, Newsmax TV host John Cardillo said he’s deleting his Expensify account and will never use the software again. The Hill TV host Saagar Enjeti called Barrett’s email “completely insane for a $100+ million financial services company and the logical end point of woke capital.”
So @expensify CEO literally emailed every single registered user/customer with a plea to vote for Joe Biden
Completely insane for a 100M+ financial services company and the logical end point of woke capital https://t.co/0wQhyP0GZL
— Saagar Enjeti (@esaagar) October 23, 2020
— John Cardillo (@johncardillo) October 23, 2020
Another Twitter user said that, when he notified Expensify that he intends to cancel his long-time subscription, the company’s response was, “To clarify, are you leaving because you dislike democracy and don’t want to defend it, or is there something else?”
Expensify’s response to my email notifying of my intent to cancel my long time subscription: “To clarify, are you leaving because you dislike democracy and don't want to defend it? Or is there something else?"
— darrentyler (@darrentyler) October 23, 2020
Barrett’s email could go beyond losing some customers and alienating voters with woke capitalism. Other Twitter commenters pointed out that making a political statement to a verified list of 10 million customers has great value to a campaign, and that value would likely need to be reported as an in-kind contribution under US election laws.
Is this even legal? Isn't expensify making a very large unreported campaign donation with this political advertisement? Is it legal for them to use private customer data to do so?
— D192 (@dhr192) October 23, 2020
I'm going down this legal rabbit hole right now. State privacy law violations. GDPR Europe violations. This has global legal implications. I would be intensely curious to know what outside counsel in his/her right mind rubber stamped this. This company is over. Finished.
— Walked Away (@Milliesmom1963) October 23, 2020
“Woke tech is shooting for new heights,” tweeted Aaron Ginn, co-founder of the Lincoln Network tech policy group. “Does this count as an in-kind contribution?”
“I love watching woke CEOs tank their companies,” said another observer.
I love watching woke CEOs tank their companies
— WDMoor (@wdmoor) October 23, 2020
Others supported Barrett’s approach, however, saying he may benefit from “free advertising” generated by the email controversy.
It’s not insane. Yes, it alienates non-Democrat customers but it brings the company an incredibly high level of free advertising. The number of customers he attracts simply through name recognition will dwarf the number of customers who leave.
— Independent Moderate (@Indimod) October 23, 2020
There were also executives who applauded Barrett’s move. CleanChoice Energy CEO Tom Matzzie, who promotes Black Lives Matter on his Twitter profile, called Barrett a “hero.” Another BLM-backing entrepreneur, Thomas Fuchs of the software firm Noko, thanked Barrett and said, “I’m in the same boat – I depend on a functioning society on being able to run my business.”
Thank you for speaking out. As the owner of a small business
I’m in the same boat—I depend on a functioning society on being able to run my business. A corrupt fascist state will hurt my business and my customers.
— Thomas Spooks #BLM (@thomasfuchs) October 23, 2020
— Tom Matzzie (@tommatzzie) October 23, 2020
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