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March 3, 2013 at 8:43 AM
Is Rep. Suzan DelBene’s role on House committee overseeing immigration laws a conflict of interest?
My colleague, Kyung Song, has an interesting piece looking at whether U.S. Rep. Suzan DelBene’s role on the House Judiciary Committee, which has jurisdiction over immigration laws, is a conflict of interest, given Microsoft’s advocacy on certain immigration issues and DelBene’s ties to the company.
DelBene is a former Microsoft exec who received contributions from Microsoft execs and employees for her congressional runs, and she’s married to Office president Kurt DelBene. Microsoft, meanwhile, is pushing for more H-1B visas for skilled foreign workers, saying the current number of computer science-trained workers in the U.S. isn’t enough.
From Song’s story:
For DelBene, it adds up to an uncommon convergence of the personal and the political over one of the thorniest issues facing this Congress.
She sees no conflict between her background and the role she may play in shaping immigration legislation, including the H-1B visa program for skilled foreign workers. Ethics watchdogs agree, though they caution that her extensive ties to Microsoft should temper her involvement on the issue.
Read her story here.