01.04.11

Gemini version available ♊︎

Yet More Microsoft Staff (Now Suzan DelBene) Enters Government to Assist Microsoft’s Looting of the System

Posted in Finance, Microsoft at 7:33 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Seattle by night

Summary: Microsoft veterans sneakily take over key positions in government and enable Microsoft to not pay tax, passing all the burden to poor people and leading to cancellation of state programmes

FROM a Microsoft employee who at last saw the light and decided to expose his former employer for what it does to avoid paying tax (financial misconduct notwithstanding) come some new posts that help reveal how Microsoft uses politics to essentially loot the public at large. The latest posts are:

i. Thank Ross Hunter for Making Microsoft’s Record Profit Untaxable

Under Democratic Rep. Ross Hunter’s leadership in the Washington State Legislature, Microsoft’s licensing revenue is no longer taxable in Washington. Hunter led the change to Washington’s royalty tax so that only licensing revenue sold to Washington State customers is taxable. Prior to 2010, worldwide royalty revenue was taxable.

Hunter is a former 17 year veteran of Microsoft, now head of the powerful finance committee. Rather than apportion the royalty tax (which resulted in only a tiny gain in state revenues), Hunter could have adopted stricter enforcement language around out of state tax transactions such as was proposed by the state’s Department of Revenue. Since 1998, Microsoft has used a small office in Reno, Nevada to record its worldwide royalty profits – avoiding nearly $1.25 billion in tax liabilities.

ii. Now for what really matters…

If there’s one thing I learned the past year working the Microsoft tax dodge issue, it’s that the state legislature is pretty well bought and paid for by corporations like Microsoft. Who would have thought Rep. Ross Hunter would lead the charge to raise taxes on voters while giving Microsoft a giant back door tax cut? Well, at least today, we’ll see what voters think of Ross Hunter’s efforts.

iii. Microsoft’s Nevada Employees Probably Shouldn’t Joke About Criminal Activity

If you want to know what the Kool-Aid tastes like at Microsoft, check out this clip of its Nevada Licensing employees offering up their own “I’m a PC” anecdotes. It’s not quite as cringeworthy as the Windows 7 Launch Party and not as bizarre as the IE8 vomit girl ad, but it’s definitely painful to watch.

I was most intrigued by this brief segment in which an apparent Reno-based Microsoft Licensing employee jokes, “I’m a P.C. and I’m a criminal.” On the wall in the background, there appear to be pictures of two to three other mugshot photos – perhaps also Reno employees? Exactly what is she referring to?

iv. An Update on Microsoft’s Nevada Tax Operations and Washington State’s Budget Deficit

* Most people in Seattle (and Washington State), know nothing at all about Microsoft’s Nevada tax practice in part due to the fact that The Seattle Times has never reported the story.

* Local coverage of this issue does not appear to be improving. e.g. The Gates Foundation gave $400,000 to local news blog Crosscut.com, which later was caught removing anti-Microsoft sentiment from a published editorial by the University of Washington’s Bill and Melinda Gates Chair of the Computer Science and Engineering Department.

* Perhaps due to the lack of awareness of his actions, King County voters re-elected Rep. Ross Hunter. Diane Tebelius, Hunter’s Republican opponent never mentioned the Microsoft tax dodge, though she was briefed on it (by me), presumably because she did not want to alienate Microsoft employees in her district.

v. Ex-Microsoft Executive to Lead Washington State Department of Revenue

Today, Governor Gregoire appointed former nine year Microsoft executive Suzan DelBene to run Washington State’s Department of Revenue. DelBene’s husband Kurt is President of Microsoft’s Office Division. DelBene’s basically a marketing executive, although she recently ran unsuccessfully to unseat Congressional GOP Rep. Reichert. As far as I know she has no formal background in tax law. Full disclosure: I used to work with Ms. DelBene and for her husband Kurt at Microsoft in the early 1990s.

[...]

The Seattle Times has reported in the past that Mrs. DelBene is also a longtime friend of Representative Ross Hunter. Hunter is the 17 year ex-Microsoft veteran who as Democratic chair of the powerful legislative finance committee led the move to apportion the state’s royalty tax, getting Microsoft off the hook for up to $145 million annually in taxes and potentially over $1.24 billion in back taxes, interest and penalties. Since 1998, Microsoft has recorded the bulk of its software licensing revenue in Nevada to avoid Washington State’s royalty tax. This blog regularly questions the legality of this accounting practice.

Rick Perry is already pulling a fast one and it is worth emphasising that Microsoft has debt to repay while it claims to have possession of money (we are sceptical of it). To quote a recent article:

Microsoft (Nasdaq: MSFT) just borrowed $6 billion even though it has roughly $40 billion in idle cash. Crazy.

Crazy indeed. Why borrow money when you already have money? As other sites have been pointing out, this may indicate that Microsoft is hiding or distorting something, just as it distorts numbers in its reports to the SEC. But anyway, sticking to the subject of tax, here is some information about the Microsoft veteran who enters the government to become head of Department of Revenue. Amazing!

DelBene, a former vice president for marketing on Microsoft’s mobile communications team, contributed $2.3 million of her own money to her campaign. She is married to Kurt DelBene, the current president of Microsoft’s Office business.

Crony capitalism in action. For more about her, see the text here. Todd Bishop claims that “Microsoft pedigree isn’t enough to ensure a Congressional victory in the company’s home region.” That’s a straw man argument. Nobody suggested that Microsoft pedigree alone is enough to assure such a position. Bishop at least mentions this: “Also of note on the state level: Incumbent state Rep. Ross Hunter, another Microsoft veteran and Democrat, is facing a tough fight for his seat. He’s leading Republican challenger Diane Tebelius, but the race was still too close to call as of early this morning. Hunter has come under criticism for helping to enable the company’s practice of recording software royalty revenue in Nevada, reducing its tax bill in its home state by an estimated $100 million a year.”

The same blog said right in the headline that “Ex-Microsoft exec DelBene to head state revenue department” and ABC (Bill Gates-sponsored) hosted content from AP, saying that “Gov. Gregoire Appoints Suzan DelBene to Cabinet” (nothing at all about the Microsoft tax controversy).

Former congressional candidate Suzan DelBene was appointed director of the state Department of Revenue on Tuesday, with Gov. Chris Gregoire saying that the former Microsoft executive “has the knowledge, skills and experience needed to guide the agency through what is a transformative time for the department and the state.”

This article from AP also appeared in MSN. Microsoft ought to like such shallow reporting which bothers not at all with the real issues. There is more news from Reno, where Microsoft manages to arrange the Washington tax avoidance. “Angle Appears at Reno’s Microsoft Licensing” says the headline.

Lately, every day feels like Election Day. The frenzy is everywhere from those TV commercials, to sign-crowded intersections. And protestor-frenzy, in Reno to greet Sharron Angle as she made a Monday visit to Microsoft Licensing off Neil Road. Microsoft would not let us in…we weren’t exactly invited. Angle’s campaign did not even tell us ahead of time that she was appearing. Outside was a group of protestors, comprised of a man in a chicken outfit, 2 Reid campaign workers, one unemployed volunteer, and 3 members of local 3, the operators-engineers union. They told us they’re not getting any work. Union apprentice Ronald Feemster told us he’d “like to see somebody in office that might actually do some good for northern Nevada.” As to why he doesn’t blame the current administration, including Harry Reid, he told us, “Because I feel it was inherited.”

Elsewhere in the news it’s now announced that many programmes are being cut in Washington and citizens are furious. One site has nearly 1000 comments posted in response. It contains a lot of finger-pointing, with Microsoft and xenophobia being the lead topics.

It ought to be added that Microsoft’s avoidance of tax and the cronyism which enables it were never a US-only issue. Microsoft was found guilty in other countries and in Europe it is using Ireland as a tax haven, with severe consequences to the whole of Europe. From the new article titled “Consequences of the Irish Bailout”:

The key bailout test was whether or not Ireland would retain its 12.5% corporation tax, which has attracted a number of giant multi-nationals to relocate there — such as Google (GOOG), Pfizer (PFE), and Microsoft (MSFT) — much to the annoyance of other European countries, especially France and Germany who had this at the top of their conditions hit list. The fact that Ireland has apparently retained sovereignty over the corporation tax bodes well for eventual economic recovery as the relocated multi-nationals account for more than 70% of Irelands exports and generate more than 50% in corporation tax revenues, without which Ireland truly would be bust for the next decade.

Also see this new case of blackmail, titled “Microsoft, Hewlett-Packard Warn Ireland on Tax, Telegraph Says”. Well, via a lobby group, the Chamber of Commerce, Microsoft is driving its interests in Europe, at the expense of mere people as opposed to corporations. The article says: “The American Chamber of Commerce in Ireland warned the country that an increase in its corporate tax as part of a European Union and International Monetary rescue package may damage foreign investment, the Sunday Telegraph reported.” The Irish Times has published an article titled “The people person at Microsoft”, but Microsoft does not care about people; it cares only about its shareholders who are mostly in the US.

One can conveniently ignore all of this, but Techrights will not.

Share in other sites/networks: These icons link to social bookmarking sites where readers can share and discover new web pages.
  • Reddit
  • email

Decor ᶃ Gemini Space

Below is a Web proxy. We recommend getting a Gemini client/browser.

Black/white/grey bullet button This post is also available in Gemini over at this address (requires a Gemini client/browser to open).

Decor ✐ Cross-references

Black/white/grey bullet button Pages that cross-reference this one, if any exist, are listed below or will be listed below over time.

Decor ▢ Respond and Discuss

Black/white/grey bullet button If you liked this post, consider subscribing to the RSS feed or join us now at the IRC channels.

DecorWhat Else is New


  1. Links 4/12/2021: Gedit Plans and More

    Links for the day



  2. Links 4/12/2021: Turnip Becomes Vulkan 1.1 Conformant

    Links for the day



  3. IRC Proceedings: Friday, December 03, 2021

    IRC logs for Friday, December 03, 2021



  4. Links 4/12/2021: EndeavourOS Atlantis, Krita 5.0.0 Beta 5, Istio 1.11.5, and Wine 6.23; International Day Against DRM (IDAD) on December 10th

    Links for the day



  5. Another Gemini Milestone: 1,500 Active Capsules

    This page from Balázs Botond plots a graph, based on these statistics that now (as of minutes ago) say: “We successfully connected recently to 1500 of them.” Less than a fortnight ago more than 1,800 capsules overall were registered by Lupa, almost quadrupling in a single year



  6. [Meme] António Campinos and Socialist Posturing

    Staff of the EPO isn’t as gullible as António Campinos needs it to be



  7. António Campinos as EPO President is Considered Worse Than Benoît Battistelli (in Some Regards) After 3.5 Years in Europe's Second-Largest Institution

    The EPO's demise at the hands of people who don't understand patents and don't care what the EPO exists for is a real crisis which European media is unwilling to even speak about; today we share some internal publications and comment on them



  8. Media Coverage for Sale

    Today we're highlighting a couple of new examples (there are many other examples which can be found any day of the year) demonstrating that the World Wide Web is like a corporate spamfarm in "news" clothing



  9. Links 3/12/2021: GNU Poke 1.4 and KDDockWidgets 1.5.0

    Links for the day



  10. IRC Proceedings: Thursday, December 02, 2021

    IRC logs for Thursday, December 02, 2021



  11. Links 3/12/2021: Nitrux 1.7.1 and Xen 4.16 Released

    Links for the day



  12. Links 2/12/2021: OpenSUSE Leap 15.4 Alpha, Qt Creator 6

    Links for the day



  13. The EPO's “Gender Awareness Report”

    There’s a new document with remarks by the EPO’s staff representatives and it concerns opportunities for women at the EPO — a longstanding issue



  14. IRC Proceedings: Wednesday, December 01, 2021

    IRC logs for Wednesday, December 01, 2021



  15. EPO Staff Committee Compares the Tactics of António Campinos to Benoît Battistelli's

    The Central Staff Committee (CSC) of the EPO talks about EPO President António Campinos, arguing that “he seems to subscribe to the Manichean view, introduced by Mr Battistelli…”



  16. Prof. Thomas Jaeger in GRUR: Unified Patent Court (UPC) “Incompatible With EU Law“

    The truth remains unquestionable and the law remains unchanged; Team UPC is living in another universe, unable to accept that what it is scheming will inevitably face high-level legal challenges (shall that become necessary) and it will lose because the facts are all still the same



  17. Links 1/12/2021: LibrePlanet CFS Extended to December 15th and DB Comparer for PostgreSQL Reaches 5.0

    Links for the day



  18. EPO Cannot and Will Not Self-Regulate

    The term financialisation helps describe some of the activities of the EPO in recent years; see Wikipedia on financialisation below



  19. [Meme] Germany's Licence to Break the Law

    Remember that the young Campinos asked dad for his immunity after he had gotten drunk and crashed the car; maybe the EPO should stop giving diplomatic immunity to people, seeing what criminals (e.g. Benoît Battistelli) this attracts; the German government is destroying its image (and the EU’s) by fostering such corruption, wrongly believing that it’s worth it because of Eurozone domination for patents/litigation



  20. EPO Dislikes Science and Scientists

    The EPO's management has become like a corrupt political party with blind faith in money and monopolies (or monopoly money); it has lost sight of its original goals and at this moment it serves to exacerbate an awful pandemic, as the video above explains



  21. Links 1/12/2021: LibreOffice 7.3 Beta, Krita 5.0, Julia 1.7

    Links for the day



  22. Links 1/12/2021: NixOS 21.11 Released

    Links for the day



  23. IRC Proceedings: Tuesday, November 30, 2021

    IRC logs for Tuesday, November 30, 2021



  24. Links 1/12/2021: Tux Paint 0.9.27 and WordPress 5.9 Beta

    Links for the day



  25. [Meme] EPO Administrative Council Believing EPO-Bribed 'Media' (IAM Still Shilling and Lying for Cash)

    IAM continues to do what brings money from EPO management and Team UPC, never mind if it is being disputed by the patent examiners themselves



  26. The EPO's Mythical “Gap” Has Been Found and It's Bonuses for People Who Use Pure Fiction to Steal From Patent Examiners

    The phony president who has the audacity to claim there's a budget gap is issuing millions of euros for his enablers to enjoy; weeks ahead of the next meeting of national delegates the Central Staff Committee (CSC) tells them: "Events show that the delegations’ concerns about functional allowances have materialised. The lack of transparency and inflation of the budget envelope gives rise to the suspicion that high management is pursuing a policy of self-service at the expense of EPO staff, which is difficult to reconcile with the Office’s claimed cost-saving policy, and to the detriment of the whole Organisation."



  27. Video: Making the Internet a Better Place for People, Not Megacorporations

    Following that earlier list of suggested improvements for a freedom-respecting Internet, here's a video and outline



  28. Links 30/11/2021: KDE Plasma 5.23.4, 4MLinux 38.0, Long GitHub Downtime, and Microsoft's CEO Selling Away Shares

    Links for the day



  29. A Concise Manifesto For Freedom-Respecting Internet

    An informal list of considerations to make when reshaping the Internet to better serve people, not a few corporations that are mostly military contractors subsidised by the American taxpayers



  30. Freenode.net Becomes a 'Reddit Clone' and Freenode IRC is Back to Old Configurations After Flushing Down Decades' Worth of User/Channel Data and Locking/Shutting Out Longtime Users

    Freenode is having another go; after “chits” and “jobs” (among many other ideas) have clearly failed, and following the change of daemon (resulting in massive loss of data and even security issues associated with impersonation) as well as pointless rebrand as “Joseon”, the domain Freenode.net becomes something completely different and the IRC network reopens to all


RSS 64x64RSS Feed: subscribe to the RSS feed for regular updates

Home iconSite Wiki: You can improve this site by helping the extension of the site's content

Home iconSite Home: Background about the site and some key features in the front page

Chat iconIRC Channel: Come and chat with us in real time

Recent Posts