Tuesday, April 21, 2009
DINO Democrat, Sen. Dianne Fienstein (CA), has a troubling history of engaging in behaviors that some might say meet the definition of conflict of interest.
A few years ago, during the run-up to Iraq war, Sen. Feinstein, AKA, “DiFi,” quickly established herself to be a staunch Bush ally, not only voting for the original Iraq war authorization but in favor of every appropriations bill to keep the flames of conflict raging in Iraq.
Her chirpy support for the Iraq war angered many Democratic voters in California and left many scratching their heads in disbelief. Her voting record wasn’t fully understood until it was revealed that Feinstein, as chairperson and the ranking member of the Military Construction Appropriations Subcommittee (MILCON) from 2001 through the end of 2005, supervised the appropriation of billions of dollars a year for specific military construction projects. Two defense contractors whose interests were largely controlled by her husband, millionaire financier, Richard C. Blum, benefited from decisions made by Feinstein as leader of this powerful subcommittee. MILCON’s members decide which military construction projects will be funded from a roster proposed by the Department of Defense. Richard C. Blum was a majority owner of two of these companies: URS Corp. and Perini Corp.
Now comes word that “DiFi” is up to her old tricks again. On the day the new Congress convened earlier this year, Sen. Dianne Feinstein introduced legislation to route $25 billion in taxpayer money to a government agency that awarded her husband’s real estate firm a lucrative contract to sell foreclosed properties at compensation rates higher than the industry norms.
Feinstein’s intervention on behalf of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. was unusual: the California Democrat isn’t a member of the Senate Committee on Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs with jurisdiction over FDIC; and the agency is supposed to operate from money it raises from bank-paid insurance payments – not direct federal dollars.
According to Melanie Sloan, executive director of the watchdog group Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW):
[The FDIC contract] “highlights the problem of a senator with a spouse who has extensive business interests that intersect frequently with the Federal government. Even if there is no actual conflict of interest, it often has the appearance of a conflict.”