by John Hawkins | March 29, 2007 3:58 am
Diane Feinstein: Was she, “leaving grievously wounded veterans to rot while her family” raked in the money? Some people seem to think so. From Metroactive,
“SEN. Dianne Feinstein has resigned from the Military Construction Appropriations subcommittee. As previously and extensively reviewed in these pages, Feinstein was chairperson and ranking member of MILCON for six years, during which time she had a conflict of interest due to her husband Richard C. Blum’s ownership of two major defense contractors, who were awarded billions of dollars for military construction projects approved by Feinstein.
…Perhaps she resigned from MILCON because she could not take the heat generated by Metro’s expose of her ethics (which was partially funded by the Investigative Fund of the Nation Institute). Or was her work on the subcommittee finished because Blum divested ownership of his military construction and advanced weapons manufacturing firms in late 2005?
…Feinstein abandoned MILCON as her ethical problems were surfacing in the media, and as it was becoming clear that her subcommittee left grievously wounded veterans to rot while her family was profiting from the occupations of Iraq and Afghanistan. It turns out that Blum also holds large investments in companies that were selling medical equipment and supplies and real estate leases–often without the benefit of competitive bidding–to the Department of Veterans Affairs, even as the system of medical care for veterans collapsed on his wife’s watch.
As of December 2006, according to SEC filings and www.fedspending.org, three corporations in which Blum’s financial entities own a total of $1 billion in stock won considerable favor from the budgets of the Department of Defense and the Department of Veterans Affairs:
# Boston Scientific Corporation: $17.8 million for medical equipment and supplies; 85 percent of contracts awarded without benefit of competition.
# Kinetic Concepts Inc.: $12 million, medical equipment and supplies; 28 percent noncompetitively awarded.
# CB Richard Ellis: The Blum-controlled international real estate firm holds congressionally funded contracts to lease office space to the Department of Veterans Affairs. It also is involved in redeveloping military bases turned over to the private sector.”
Republicans should be doing exactly what the Democrats would be doing right now if the situation were reversed: screaming about how corrupt the Democrats are and urging Diane Feinstein to resign from the Senate over her lapse in ethics. Then, let the Democrats explain why it was OK for Feinstein to essentially transfer taxpayer money from the treasury to her own bank account through her husband’s companies.
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