APRIL 21, 2009
The Democrat senator who abruptly resigned as chair of a military construction committee after awarding her husband billions in government contracts has found another unethical way to enrich him.
California Senator Dianne Feinstein simply introduced legislation to keep the taxpayer dollars flowing into the family bank account after relinquishing power to annually distribute billions during six years as chair of the Senate’s Military Construction Appropriations subcommittee.
A Washington newspaper reports that the veteran lawmaker actually sponsored a law to route $25 billion to a government agency (Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation—FDIC) that had just awarded one of her husband’s firms a lucrative contract to sell foreclosed properties at compensation rates higher than industry norms.
Feinstein obviously intervened to help her wealthy investment banker hubby (Richard Blum) since she isn’t a member of the Senate committee that has jurisdiction over the FDIC and would normally not be involved in such matters. Furthermore, the FDIC is supposed to operate with funds from bank insurance payments and not direct federal infusions.
Feinstein graciously offered to help the FDIC secure public funds to stem the rise of home foreclosures days before the agency awarded her husband’s real estate firm a lucrative contract to sell properties it had inherited from failed banks. Feinstein assures that there was no connection between the legislation and her husband’s sweet deal although it appears that there is.
Senate ethics rules, which have become a bit of a joke in recent years, state that members must avoid conflicts of interest as well as even the appearance of a conflict of interest. When news broke a few years ago that Feinstein helped her spouse get billions in military construction deals (most of them non competitive bids) she denied playing any role in determining which companies actually got the contracts and assured that she never sought to influence the process in any way.
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