It turns out that she may be going along with Bush Administration policies because she is, for all intents and purposes, a lot like the Bush Administration. An investigation by Peter Byrne, which was not covered by the mainstream press, discovered that from 2001 through 2005 Diane Feinstein used her position as Chairman of the Military Construction Appropriations Subcommittee (MILCON) to funnel huge amounts money to Perini Corporation and URS Corporation, companies that were, at the time, largely owned by her husband, Richard C. Blum. The enormous surge in profits for Perini Corporation and URS Corporation resulted in millions of dollars of additional personal wealth for Diane Feinstein’s immediate family, making her just as much of a war-profiteer as Dick Cheney via Halliburton.
During her tenure as Chairman of MILCON, the committee in charge of deciding which military construction projects will be funded from a list proposed by the Department of Defense, projects approved by Diane Feinstein resulted in $1.5 billion dollars worth of contracts for her husband’s companies, split almost evenly down the middle with Perini Corporation receiving $759 million and URS Corporation receiving $792 million.
This kind of money was unusual for these two companies. URS Corporation received $24 million dollars in 2000 for military construction work. One year later, before the
In theory, as Chairman of MILCON, Diane Feinstein would not have known which companies would be bidding on and/or receiving the contracts to complete the projects funded by MILCON. However, Michael Klein, a legal adviser to Diane Feinstein and business partner of her husband, admitted that he had consistently given lists to Diane Feinstein that told her which projects Perini Corporation would stand to benefit from. He volunteered this information to the investigator believing that Diane Feinstein had used the information to recuse herself from those appropriations. But, according to Byrne, “the public record shows that contrary to Klein's belief, Feinstein did act on legislation that affected Perini and URS.”
The Feinstein family is not just profiting from
The Feinstein family is not just profiting fromprojects related to the war. One of the more egregious and clear examples of Diane Feinstein’s conflict of interest involved the clean up of closed military bases in the United States. According to Peter Byrne, “Year after year, Feinstein has closely overseen the environmental cleanup and redevelopment of McClellan Air Force Base near
The following is a revealing excerpt of a March 2002 exchange between Diane Feinstein and Assistant Secretary of Defense Nelson F. Gibbs:
Sen. Feinstein. Is the Air Force capable of executing greater [cleanup] funding in 2003 at McClellan?
Mr. Gibbs. Yes, ma'am.
Feinstein. And how much would that be? How about $22 million?
Gibbs. That would be very close. That would be almost exact as a matter of fact. . . . If you would like, I can provide for you a list of those individual projects.
Feinstein. I would. If you would not mind. Thank you very much.
The week after this exchange took place, Diane Feinstein received a memo from Gibbs, showing the addition of $23 million to the McClellan Air Force Base clean-up project. This money was specifically set aside for groundwater remediation, a URS Corporation specialty.
And the cherry on top: CB Richard Ellis, the real estate company also headed by Diane Feinstein’s husband, Richard C. Blum, is redeveloping McClellan Air Force Base for the private sector.
This is just one of many examples of Diane Feinstein's conflict of interest issues provided by Peter Byrne in his investigative report.
According to Peter Byrne, “In 2005, Roll Call calculated Feinstein's wealth, including Blum's assets, at $40 million, up 25 percent from the year before.” In addition, Diane Feinstein’s husband, Richard C. Blum, resigned from the URS board of directors and sold 5.5 million URS Corporation shares, worth about $220 million at market price.
Diane Feinstein resigned as Chairman of MILCON in March 2007, after Peter Byrne’s expose was printed. But she took over as Chairman of the Senate Rules Committee in 2006, which is the committee in charge of oversight of conflict of interest situations. This is probably the reason that no investigation into her conduct has been launched.
And for any