DiFi’s $25 Billion Dollar Conflict of Interest

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

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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.”

This entry was posted in Conflict of Interest, Congress, Dianne Feinstein, News, Politics, Senate and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

12 Responses to DiFi’s $25 Billion Dollar Conflict of Interest

  1. Prairiedog says:

    Excellent post, Christopher.

    I’ve never understood why most lefty blogs refuse to tackle a Democratic congress person or senator.

    It’s as though there’s a thin, blue line and we can’t examine and discuss one of our own who behaves unethically. Thanks for reporting this about Lady Feinstein.

  2. Thanks, Prairiedog.

    DINO Democrat Feinstein is arguably one of the most ethically challenged members of Congress because her voting record helped to perpetuate a brutal and lethal war leading to the deaths of more than 4,400 American soldiers and 500,000 Iraqis.

    I’m tired of members of Congress like Feinstein who pretend to be Democrats and are in fact, anything but Democrats.

  3. Stephan Iversonn says:

    I had to laugh when they ran Ted Stevens out of Washington over a house renovation in Alaska. Compared to Dianne Feinstein, Ted Stevens is a choir boy.

    Feinstein’s ethics challenges don’t begin and end with her introducing legislation to funnel $25 billion in taxpayer money to an agency that awarded her husband’s real estate firm a lucrative contract.

    There’s the matter of Michael R. Klein, a top legal adviser to Feinstein and hee vice-chairman of Perini’s board of directors. Klein was a partner in Wilmer, Cutler & Pickering, a powerful law firm with close ties to the Democratic Party, for nearly 30 years. Klein and Blum co-own ASTAR Air Cargo, which has military contracts in Iraq and at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. ASTAR Air was said to be the contractor airline who flew the detainees to GITMO to undergo torture. Klein also sits on the board of SRA International, a large defense contractor.

    Klein said in an interview that he routinely informed Feinstein about specific federal projects coming before her in which Perini had a stake. The insider information, Klein said, was intended to help the senator avoid conflicts of interest. Although Klein’s startling admission was intended to defuse the issue of Feinstein’s conflict of interest, it had the effect of exacerbating it.

    Klein said that he regularly gave Feinstein’s chief of staff, Mark Kadesh, lists of Perini’s current and upcoming contractual interests in federal legislation, so that the senator would not discuss, debate, vote on or participate in matters that could affect projects in which Perini was concerned. “Earmarks, you know, set asides, you name it, there was a system in place which on a regular basis I got notified, I notified her office and her office notified her,” Klein said.

    Yet, this woman is the likely next governor of the state of California? What am I missing here?

  4. VicoDANIEL says:

    This is a stunning revelation about a senior member of the US Senate.

    Dianne Feinstein is a dangerous hawk who lacks the moral compass to direct her decision making. For me, it has less to do with expectations due to her being a Democrat — we’ve all seen terrible Democrats elected to public office before her, but the disturbing image of a senator who made war profiteering her priority.

    I hope she isn’t elected California’s next governor but California, or more specifically, San Francisco reelected Nancy Pelosi, so I’m not very hopeful.

    vicodaniel1987@yahoo.com

  5. Rachel says:

    Where is the Senate Ethics Committee? Is this harpy in charge of it, too? I’m really so tired of the Congress not able to clean its own house and if needed, discipline those who take advantage of their positions. Feinstein is a monster. I have no doubt the people of California will continue their love affair with her and elect her governor.

  6. Harry says:

    You can tell DiFi’s lying because her lips are moving.

  7. Arizona Leatherneck says:

    It always comes down to money.

    No matter who decent, or moral, or well-intentioned a person is when they’re elected, once they get to Washington, it’s like heroin and they sell their souls to the highest bidder.

  8. Fran says:

    This is more a case of “actual conflict of interest”, as opposed to “appearance of a conflict.”

    Release the ethics hounds!

  9. Joaquin says:

    I find it a little ironic that Feinstein is telling the Obama administration to hold-off on protecting the CIA agents who tortured detainees during the Bush administration until the senate investigates the issue while it is Feinstein herself who appears to be embroiled in yet another ethics matter.

    What am I missing here?

  10. Estacada says:

    Why isn’t the mainstream media covering this?

    How was is decided that DiFi gets a pass but idiots like Ted Stevens gets nailed?

  11. Aunt Peg says:

    The mainstream media is very careful about who they cover.

    Unless its FOX and the intended target is a Democrat then the gloves come off. Since I don’t watch FOX (I have them blocked on my TV), for all I know they’re reporting about Feinstein?

  12. JollyRoger says:

    DINO Feinstein is a subject we’ve also covered many times. She’s a Rushpublican in cheap blue clothing, and she needs to go-right along with her press-suppressing, AIPAC whore buddy “Crawford Jane” Harman.

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