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Rep. Suzan DelBene. Photo courtesy Greg Gilbert / The Seattle Times
Rep. Suzan DelBene made her fortune working for Microsoft in the early '90s as a marketing director. Her Husband is a Microsoft executive. Now the two term representative from Medina is facing a serious conflict of interest in her role on the judiciary committee as it relates to immigration reform, a topic that is very important to the the Washington based technology giant. The Seattle Times' D.C. bureau chief Kyung M. Song did an excellent job of bringing this issue to light.

Immigration reform has been set up to be the major issue of the first half of Barack Obama's second term as president. He announced early in his first term that immigration reform would be the next big issue he would try and tackle after he passed health care reform, but was not able to get it done in the fist term. In this year's State of the Union address he announced it would be the first major issue he would approach. Outside of the Sequester, this is the biggest issue facing congress right now.

In her role on the Judiciary committee, DelBene holds a great amount of influence over what bill will make it out of committee hearings on the subject. This constitutes a significant conflict of interest for her as her former employer is one of the biggest supporters of immigration reform. Technology companies like Microsoft are constantly searching China and India where they can find highly educated, highly intelligent young minds to come work for them at a cheaper rate than their American counterparts. The problem is that it is not always easy to get these folks visas to come work in the U.S.

Kyung does a good of of attacking this potential conflict of interest directly while presenting the issue fairly. As journalists we deal with these ethical questions on a daily basis. Anyone who follow politics to any degree understands the ethical questions that face lawmakers are very similar. If you are to close to a subject how can you be fair is your work towards it? I was drawn to this article for these reasons and appreciate Kyong's ability to navigate the rough waters of an issue like this while still creating a narrative that tells the whole story. It is a difficult task, even though he is reporting the issue not living it.

I do have a few complaints about Kyung's piece. I dislike how he breaks up the article into sections. I can understand how that is effective in telling the different aspects of the story, but I have never like that tool. I prefer to read my stories as one single flow of storytelling. When he breaks up the article to tell the story in pieces it becomes distracting to me.
 





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