DelBene, TPP, and Microsoft stock: should she recuse herself?
Rep. Suzan DelBene is apparently going to vote in favor of trade promotion authority (“fast track”) for the Trans-Pacific Partnership, unlike Reps McDermott, Smith, and Heck.
A friend called DelBene’s office and an aide said she is voting for fast-track.
Last fall I spoke to her and asked her to oppose it. She was very polite but said that progressives aren’t the only people she represents. She is not a member of the Congressional Progressive Caucus. Instead, she is a New Democrat (a centrist Dem).
Furthermore, according to this Seattle Times article from January of this year, President Obama named DelBene to the Export Council. This is an indication that Obama is confident of her support for TPP.
Microsoft would benefit from TPP. DelBene is an ex-Microsoft executive, as is her husband Kurt. Could her support for TPP be related to their ownership of Microsoft stock?
According to ThinkAdvisor.com, DelBene is the 10th richest member of Congress and is worth $37.8 million. “DelBene’s wealth, which increased $14 million over last year, comes from the sale of Microsoft stock. She and her husband, Kurt, were both executives at the software behemoth. Besides investments, they own a home worth $5 million, which was purchased in the last year.” It doesn’t say whether they still own Microsoft stock.
KUOW reported in 2012: “According to DelBene’s financial disclosure reports (PDF), she and her husband have a net worth of between $23 and $83 million (candidates are not required to report the exact amount of their assets). DelBene’s husband Kurt DelBene is president of Microsoft’s Office division. Securities and Exchange Commission filings show Kurt DelBene owns 635,693 shares of Microsoft stock.” Other than #1 Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Calif.(net worth $357 million) and #2 Rep. Michael McCaul, R-Texas ($117.5 million), the other eight richest members of Congress are Democrats.
Here is her filing with the SEC.
My question is: do DelBene and her husband still own stock in Microsoft? If so, shouldn’t she recuse herself from voting on the issue, since it is a conflict of interest?