Cronyism Strikes Again: Ex-Microsoftee Married To Democrat Congresswoman Set To Take Over Obamacare Exchange

Tyler Durden's picture

Having done a bang up job on the rollout (after retaining virtually every private sector company with relevant skills to fix the 500 million-lines-of-code monster), Jeff Zients, as we reported previously, is set to become director of the National Economic Council (perhaps he will next roll out a database where America's unemployed sign up). But what is more notable is that his replacement in leading the overhaul of the Obamacare exchanges is a former executive from Microsoft. Kurt DelBene, whose wife just happens to be Democratic Congresswoman Suzan DelBene. What could possibly go wrong as cronyism brings Blue Cross together with the Blue Screen of Death?



Via Xconomy,

Kurt DelBene, previously president of the company’s Office division, is “retiring” from Microsoft. He’s only 52, so this is more about an up-or-out decision.


Office, which is still the dominant work software suite for most businesses of any scale, is a big revenue generator for Microsoft. It’s also been undergoing a major transition to become “Office 365,” the final stroke in the long-term move from the old boxed software days to software-as-a-service, sold in subscriptions to consumers and business customers alike.


DelBene managed the release of the cloud-based Office 365, but his former domain is now being stuffed into the company’s new “applications and services group.” That group will be led by Qi Lu, previously the head of Microsoft’s not-terribly-successful search and online services business.

and his wife, Democratic Congresswoman Susan DelBene,

Congresswoman Suzan DelBene represents what has been described as one of the most evenly divided districts in the country. The redrawn First Congressional District of Washington state also contains several geographical and economic elements—from agricultural and high-tech businesses to a lengthy stretch of Canadian border—that have a major stake in the outcome of the immigration reform effort under way in Congress.


DelBene, a Democrat who spent some $2.8 million of her own money on last year’s campaign, returns to Washington, DC, this week with immigration high on the agenda in the House of Representatives. But so far there’s little sign that the Republican-controlled chamber plans a comprehensive approach to match the bill passed by the Senate last month.


“I think everyone agrees that on many different levels our current immigration policy is broken, and so this is our opportunity to put a new foundation in place and to reset,” DelBene says. “If we’re doing a good job and being good stewards of policy, we’ll see what’s working and continue to update it and fix it as we go along, as opposed to leave it sitting there as we have, knowing it’s broken, letting it in many cases get worse and not touching it.”


Her position on the House Judiciary Committee gives her a front-row seat for the immigration debate, as well as several other reform efforts important to technology businesses, including electronic privacy and sales tax collections by online retailers (hello, Amazon).


DelBene—a former startup entrepreneur and executive at Microsoft, where her husband Kurt DelBene still works, leading the Office Division—sat down with Xconomy in her Bothell district headquarters to discuss these issues and her approach to legislating in a body that bears little resemblance to the tech world from which she comes.

Her latest public financial disclosures can be found here.

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hedgeless_horseman's picture



DelBene managed the release of the cloud-based Office 365

We are all doomed. 

Pladizow's picture

Obama"dont"Care = Permanent Run Time Error!

Havent both Gernmay and Nasa chosen not to use Windows 8?

hedgeless_horseman's picture



The hiring of this absolute failure, Kurt DelBene, has finally convinced me of the hypothesis that Obamacare is designed to fail. There can be no stronger evidence.  Don't believe me?  Just experience the joy of buying Office 365.

It looks like we are going to need LINUX open source healthcare!

Here is one option...

dryam's picture

As an General Internist I give.......


TeamDepends's picture

Donde esta my healthcare or how I stopped worrying and learned to love the Spanglish.

NotApplicable's picture

Mega kudos to the genius behind the graphic.

Comedy Gold!

pupdog1's picture

It's like the signs McDonalds used to have...

18 trillion served, 186 billion eaten, 12 digested.

LawsofPhysics's picture

+1000, although I would like to see the "# who have paid for their plan" at the bottom of that top funnel...

Grinder74's picture

Paid with what though?  Fed Reserve toilet paper or Bitcoins?

James-Morrison's picture

Bitcoins or shitcoins. What a choice.

czardas's picture

Agree all except RX Medications.  Folks who have not traveled the world have no idea how preventive medicines and vaccinations (or even penicillin) have transformed us.  We protest these things for one reason - diseases that were once taken for granted are no longer with us.   Even a few decades ago, death by TB, small pox, malaria and measles was considered "normal".  Otherwise great chart and you pointed out something few ever mention.   Getting healthy does not require lots of money, Obama's approval or a federal program and it will cut costs far more than "coverage" can do.  Ask the millions with Medicaid "coverage" and no doctor.

Clycntct's picture

I see you had 3 odama bots drive by.

Doubleth1nker's picture

Ohh ohh wait for it -- wait for it -

"if you like your current medical plan, you can keep it (*snicker*)... and if you like your cronyism, you can keep your cronyism too."

DosZap's picture

Obummmer will be a multi billionaire when he finishes his crown jewel,the book deal(with MSM mini series to debut shortly after).

"How to lose friends and win over enemies!!."

Dr. Engali's picture

Well if anybody can fix bugs in the system, we know it's somebody from Microsoft. Because Mr. Softy's systems are all so stable and free from bugs.

DaveyJones's picture

Blue Cross, Microsoft, and Obama - all known for their competence, champion of the little man, and fair play 

hedgeless_horseman's picture



Blue Cross, Microsoft, and Obama - all known for their competence, champion of the little man, and fair play

...and confidentiality!

James-Morrison's picture

Obamacare 2014:
If you like your blue-screen, you can keep your blue-screen.

TheFourthStooge-ing's picture


What could possibly go wrong as cronyism brings Blue Cross together with the Blue Screen of Death?

Just more of the same Red, White, and Blue Dick of Taxpayer Assrape.

NoDebt's picture

If it wasn't for cronyism, I doubt they could get anybody to take on this job.  Who in their right mind would want anything to do with that disaster on their resume?

Dr. Engali's picture

My nephew could have gotten this thing up and running. And he probably would have taken payment in the form of Xbox games.

W74's picture

Are you implying nepotism requires having a resume at all?

DaveyJones's picture

they're even having trouble with people in their left mind

Ps. another hour with the insurance broker last night, after giving him all the leads on the articles, schedule C and "net income" and we still couldn't get the Washington site to respond

that's good because, as a small businessman and bankrupt state, we both have extra resource and time for this. 

Miffed Microbiologist's picture

Frankly I'm glad. Any more idiocy thrown at this pile of shit may provide a much needed monkey wrench to grind this to a halt. It's sickening watching my field implode and being powerless to stop it.


czardas's picture

Former IT consultant here.  I had someone who worked on the "middle stages" of the project over for a Christmas party.  He had us rolling over with the screwups, conditions, unbelievable lack of testing, instant changes of direction, the look on the faces of folks who viewed a program with hundreds of thousands of line of undocumented spaghetti code.  They are now devoting the majority of effort to "fixing" processing run errors -not writingn code.  Some systems have been changed to process "good data" and simply create a report of errors.  Of course, the databases and historical backup are completely inaccurate.   Merry Christmas

Miffed Microbiologist's picture

My husband, who is a software architect, is aghast over the idiocy of this. He and his cohorts have designed systems that are used by many global corporations. Needless to say they must run in extremely demanding environments. Crashing is not an option or millions would be lost. A product such as this would be unacceptable, would be never released for sale and the developers would be fired for presenting such garbage. Before release, his software is rigorously tested and stressed to reveal bugs. Of course, customers find more in the field but they are generally quite mild unless the software is used in a way not covered in the contract. My field is exacting as well because of the potential for serious harm to a patient. We both don't understand any of this. Did they gather all the new pimply-assed computer grads in a room and assigned them random parts? This seems too impossibly shoddy to be work of professionals.


Motorhead's picture

This country is just so fucked up.

Blues Traveler's picture

Exactly Buzzz....they kept the focus on web sites' failures not the failure of the actual policy. Amongst the carnage of Ocare is the catasrophic impact of employment, unemployment and jobs, it is a Mega-Pattern shift on the level of plate tectonics, from 40 hours to 29.5 hours a week across all industries and "right sizing"s

There is NO NARRATIVE in the news how Barry created THE PART TIME ECONOMY.   

SDShack's picture

Exactly! The more these idiots focus on the website, the more obvious it is that they have NO CLUE about what the real disaster 0zer0care is. It's not the website. It's the absolute destruction of the economy. 2014 is going to be a disaster because of 0zer0care. Already the risk pools are being obliterated by the failure of people to enroll in 0zer0care, whether it be from a non-functioning website, or more importantly, the sticker shock at having to pay $100-200 more per month for premiums, PLUS double copays and deductibles. The healthy people just can't afford it and are staying away in droves! The only ones signing up are the sick and bad risks. This will cause the insurance industry to jack up rates 20-25% to cover this higher risk pool. The result is businesses will get the rate increases in the fall of 2014 when they do their annual budgets for 2015. Their is no way businesses are going to absorb another 20-25% increase in premiums so it will either be passed on to their workers, or more likely, they will just drop employer sponsored HC for all their employees and let them fend for themselves. The result will be MASSIVE cancellations of EMPLOYER HC in October 2014 to meet the 60 day WARN requirements for employee benefit changes effective 1/1/2015. The shitstorm that happened in October/November over 5 million people that lost their PRIVATE HC will look like a picnic compared to the 50 MILLION EMPLOYEES that are going to lose their EMPLOYER HC in 2014. And there is nothing 0zer0 and the dumbcrats can do about it. Even delaying the employer mandate another year is not going to stop it this time. This disaster is about to cross over the Rubicon from a website glitch to a full blown economic meltdown. Plan accordingly.

trader1's picture

oh, the irony....

trying to expand quality and affordable health care to the entire population (it's about damn time! usa is decades behind the power curve of other industrialized nations), and crashing the economy?  why so pessimistic?  

now get to work and take care of your elderly and fellow brothers and sisters...  ;-)

insanelysane's picture

At least now when they tell us they can't give us the numbers for enrollments we'll know why, having issues running Excel in Windows x.

ZH Snob's picture

this guy, unfortunately, is a good fit for the position, cronyism or not.  I say unfortunately because if anyone has a chance of raising this beast from the dead it is probably him.

Pure Evil's picture

Someone should tell DelBene that immigration is broken because the Feds refuse to enforce the laws currently on the books.

Of course being a microdouche toady she wants open borders and an unlimited supply of H-1B visa workers so that Microcrap can get away with hiring insourced labor at the cheapest rates possible.

You think Microsoft software is bad, wait until they insource the needed foreign doctors and nurses after all native doctors and hospitals refuse to accept ObamaShitteCare.

pupdog1's picture

Hollywood wouldn't make this shit up, because nobody would believe it.

The horrible, buggy, unstable quality of the Microsoft products I am forced to use is the #1 enemy of my small business. And this is stuff that's on its zillionth version.

So, it's a perfect choice for Obamacare.

czardas's picture

What's more incredible than this national humiliation are those insisting that things are working fine and besides, it's a "great system."  It's as if they inhabit an alternative universe where bugs, screwups, missed forecasts and inability to enter data are new defintions of success.

WTFUD's picture

Aah the sweet revolving door of crony puke!
One door closes and another bitches legs open.

JR's picture

Not only is it revolving door cronyism, it the systematic, revolving-door transfer of American economic decisions to an international cabal. It has the same look of the suggestions for bringing Israeli central banker Stanley Fischer on board the Federal Reserve.

Are the Constitutional guarantees to protect American citizens and their economic property now to be sold, stolen and transferred to these personages who have no national loyalty? The answer is yes. Zients is just one of the many internationalists who have been moved to the levers of power; to reiterate:

Jeffrey Zients, Obama’s top economic adviser

From Wikipedia :

Jeffrey "Jeff" D. Zients (born November 12, 1966) is an American CEO, management consultant and entrepreneur. On January 17, 2012, he was named acting director of the Office of Management and Budget and assumed office on January 27, 2012, his second turn as acting director, a position he held until April 24, 2013. In 2009, President Obama appointed him to the new position of United States Chief Performance Officer and Zients was confirmed by the Senate to be Deputy Director for Management of the Office of Management and Budget in the federal government of the United States.[1] Zients left the Office of Management and Budget in April 2013. On September 13, 2013, it was announced that Zients will replace Gene Sperling as Director of the National Economic Council. Sperling, who has held this post since January 2011, plans to step down January 1, 2014 for personal reasons.[2][3]

Zients was tasked by president Obama with fixing the problems of Officials of the U.S. administration announced that QSSI, one of the 55 contractors working on the website, will be responsible for getting the site working by the end of November, 2013.[4]

Early years

Zients was raised in a Jewish family[5] and is a native of Kensington, Maryland,[6] and lives in the Washington, D.C. area.[7] ...Zients worked in management consulting for Mercer Management Consulting and Bain & Company until his appointment as chief operating officer of DGB Enterprises, a holding company for the Advisory Board Company, Corporate Executive Board and Atlantic Media Company.[8]

Zients was the chairman (2001–2004), chief executive officer (1998–2000), and chief operating officer (1996–1998) of the Advisory Board Company and former chairman (2000–2001) of the Corporate Executive Board.[9] Both companies were founded by David G. Bradley and provide research and advice to corporations around the globe on best practices in management, strategy and operations. Zients and Bradley took each of the companies public through successful initial public offerings that made both men multimillionaires.[7][10] At age 35, Zients was named to Fortune Magazine's "40 under 40" with an estimated wealth of $149 million.[11]

Zients also cofounded the Urban Alliance Foundation...

jballz's picture

The Blue Cross of Death.

Nostradamus had a lot to say about it actually.

Thank God I'm not an American, I will pray for all of you infidels as you get the karma you so rightly deserve for your years of sloth and indolence towards the peaceful people's of the world.

You have the government you deserve, at last,

enjoy your death panels and crony fatcats laughing all the way to the bank with your ever dwindling paycheck and salaries, yankee bitches.

orangegeek's picture

who cares - Barry just forced through socialized medicine (just like the rest of the world already has) to expand union membership and increase Democrat Party donations.


line up and die healthcare is just a minor detail/fallout

trader1's picture

harsh man.  

go easy.

kchrisc's picture

Seems fitting. An exec from a company that is known for its product crashes, over pricing and bullying will be managing the same for the criminals of the US government.

I will bet that he will also institute having a Website that one will need to check periodically for "changes" to ones health insurance policy.

"You may be the victim of a fascist robbery. The health insurance that you are being gouged for is may not be genuine."

jballz's picture


Paid 600 bucks for msft shit right off the Staples shelf and got that message "Not a genuine msft product". Took me days to get it resolved. 

In a way I am lucky to have had that experience. I had thought I knew what true, pure hate was. I thought I had really felt what hate was. But it was all make believe. I got to feel true hate while on hold with Rajnish the paki in hindustan making 8 cents an hour to tell me I had to pay tech support another $40 to unlock my $600 product that cost the cocksuckers the price of a cd rom but can't be bothered to hire a native English speaker to resolve their self-hijacking farce of a protection racket.

I'm feeling the hate again and that was five years ago. I have bought not one things from those cocksuckers since and I never will.

I'm going to go punch a squirrel in the face now. I hope you're happy Bill Gates. No. I hope you feel the hate.


czardas's picture

Don't tell Tyler but it's why I use Apples. I have an app that prevents ANY popups.  Unlike MSFT, there are no constant crashes, boatload of error messages or freezes.  I've used IE only once in the past year (had to) and remarked that it seemed as if progress had gone in reverse.  I got my wife an IPAD, put on Pages, an Excel equivalent and she no longer has to use "that damn thing" (Dell PC).

earnyermoney's picture

OpenOffice runs on my PC.

kchrisc's picture

I have experience in the PC business and am convinced that they do this on purpose to a certain amount of PCs (Search the issue for verification). Had a less than knowing client have his legit PC go "Genuine Crazy" on him one night and so he followed M$' Web-road and paid them for another license. "Can you say fraud? Sure you can!"

My fav is how far M$ will go to try to get you to pay for another copy of Windows that was installed on your PC when you purchased it--the original of which was paid for by the manufacturer.

I know that M$ also requires that "refurbished" PCs be outfitted with a new Windows license that they will sell you even though the PC came from the manufacturer with one and the key-sticker is still stuck to the side of the case. They even have snitches going around trying to catch mom-and-pop stores that don't do this. LOL


Fascist greed. Next thing you know they'll be invading Poland or something.

earnyermoney's picture

BCBS is running these adverts on the radio in North Carolina. People can keep their old plan ... until you hear the fast talk/ small print at the end of the ad. Offer extends to individulas who had coverage on or before Oct. 1. I'd wager 100% of the cancelled policies happened on or befoere Oct. 1.

trader1's picture

what do you have against Rajnish, who is just trying to earn those 8 cents for food and drink?

are you sure you're the only one being exploited in this transaction?