California Senator Dianne Feinstein, vice chairman of the powerful Senate Intelligence Committee, is demonstrating how lowly paid lawmakers leave office filthy rich, according to a newspaper columnist that writes about the senior Democrat’s most recent scandal.
Like many of Feinstein’s past scandals, this one involves her enormous influence as a veteran federal lawmaker translating into big bucks for her husband, real estate mogul and investment banker Richard Blum. The U.S. Postal Service is selling 56 buildings and Blum’s commercial real estate company, CBRE, stands to make about $1 billion in commissions, the news report says. A few years ago CBRE was selected as the sole real estate agent for the huge deal, most likely with the help of his powerful wife.
Here’s a line from the article, which appears in a New York paper this month: “This feat of federal spousal support was ignored by the media after Feinstein’s office said the senator, whose wealth is pegged at $70 million, had nothing to do with the USPS decisions.” It’s not surprising that the mainstream media swallowed the unbelievable denial since Feinstein is the prototype of the liberal politician that seldom receives any real scrutiny. We’ve seen evidence of this in the mainstream media’s ongoing love fest with President Obama.
Judicial Watch has helped pick up the slack and in fact has exposed many of Feinstein’s transgressions over the years, mostly involving abuse of power to enrich her family assets. The atrocities were so rampant that in 2007 the San Francisco lawmaker was forced to resign as chair of the Military Construction Appropriations subcommittee, where she annually supervised the appropriation of billions of dollars. As chair Feinstein supervised her own staff of military construction experts and she lobbied Pentagon officials to support her favorite projects. During her tenure her husband’s companies got billions of dollars in government contracts.
But Feinstein’s ouster from that influential post didn’t stop the cash from flowing to her husband’s various businesses. A few years after getting booted from the Military Construction Appropriations subcommittee, the senator sponsored legislation to route $25 million to a government agency (Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation—FDIC) that had just awarded one of his firms a lucrative contract to sell foreclosed properties at compensation rates higher than industry norms. Feinstein wasn’t even a member of the Senate committee that has jurisdiction over the FDIC, which means she shouldn’t have been involved in the matter. Furthermore, the FDIC is supposed to operate with funds from bank insurance payments and not direct federal infusions.
Feinstein, a former San Francisco mayor, has also been under fire for using “private bills” to keep illegal immigrants in her district from being deported. In fact, Feinstein is the lawmaker who most abuses the unorthodox method to block the deportations of illegal aliens in her northern California district. Private bills are seldom introduced because, unlike public bills, they only benefit specified individuals and are therefore viewed as special treatment susceptible to fraud. Over the years the senator helped a deported family of Egyptians that overstayed their U.S. tourist visa by more than a decade, a Mexican family that lived illegally in her district for 20 years and an Asian couple that that entered the country as tourists and never left. Feinstein also intervened on behalf of Philippine woman who violated deportation orders for two decades and was denied asylum by a federal court.
More recently Feinstein has been embroiled in the CIA enhanced interrogation fiasco. Like many lawmakers she purported to be stunned over the CIA “torture report,” which she made public recently, though Congress knew for years that enhanced interrogation techniques were being used on terrorists and in fact dozens of members were repeatedly briefed on the subject. Nevertheless, Feinstein led the kabuki theater, comparing the CIA methods to those used by torturous regimes during the Cold War and proclaiming that the spy agency provided “extensive inaccurate information” about the program to policymakers. The CIA was “far more brutal” than it represented to Congress, Feinstein asserted.