JULY 27, 2007
A veteran California senator recently forced to resign as chair of a powerful military committee for abusing the position to enrich herself has endorsed Hillary Clinton for president.
At a pep rally in Washington this week, longtime Democratic Senator Dianne Feinstein enthusiastically announced that her good friend Hillary would shatter a great barrier to become the nation’s first female president.
A former San Francisco mayor, Feinstein was first elected to the U.S. Senate in 1992 and she is one of California’s most powerful and popular politicians as well as one of the wealthiest members of Congress with a net worth of about $42.6 million.
Earlier this year, however, Feinstein resigned as chair of the powerful Military Construction Appropriations subcommittee after reports surfaced that for years she abused her position to award her husband’s companies billions of dollars in government contracts.
During her six years as the committee’s chair, Feinstein annually supervised the appropriation of billions of dollars for military construction projects and she made sure her husband got a chunk of the lucrative deals. In fact, one of his companies earned $792 million from military construction cleanup projects approved by the senator and another $759 million.
No mention of the scandal at this week’s celebration and when a reporter dared to inquire about a separate fiasco involving another Clinton supporter and Feinstein pal, the veteran San Francisco lawmaker snapped and interjected angrily.
A radio reporter asked Clinton if she was concerned about the recent scandal involving her campaign co chair, Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, who got busted having an affair with a much younger television reporter covering his office.
The mayor’s longtime wife subsequently filed for divorce and the reporter, who worked for a Spanish-language division of NBC, got suspended and is under a media ethics investigation.
An expert on high-profile marital infidelities, Clinton immediately shifted the focus to Villaraigosa’s work on behalf of “many of the issues” she cares about. The New York senator also reminded the reporter that the self-professed Chicano politician is the mayor of the nation’s second-largest city and a mere infidelity would not change that.
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