Skip to comments.Feinstein's Office Denies Conflict of Interest Charges
Posted on 04/04/2007 8:38:15 PM PDT by CutePuppy
Feinstein's Office Denies Conflict of Interest Charges
By Fred Lucas
April 04, 2007
(CNSNews.com) - Breaking nearly a week of silence, Sen. Dianne Feinstein's office Tuesday called allegations of a conflict of interest "nonsense" and said the California Democrat played no role in awarding military contracts that benefited companies owned by her husband.
It was reported last week that Feinstein no longer serves on a Senate subcommittee that oversaw military construction.
Earlier this year, Metro Newspapers accused Feinstein of a conflict of interest because the subcommittee had oversight of military contracts that often went to defense contractors owned by her husband, Richard Blum.
Feinstein's departure from the Senate subcommittee on military construction appropriation, also called MILCON, had nothing to do with reports in the Silicon Valley weeklies, said Feinstein spokesman Scott Gerber. In fact, she had already left the panel before the reports were published in late January.
"It is nonsense to suggest Sen. Feinstein resigned from the military construction subcommittee," Gerber told Cybercast News Service Tuesday. "At the beginning of Congress, following the historic shift in power, Sen. Feinstein had the opportunity to be the chair of the interior appropriations subcommittee."
This Senate panel offered her more ways to help the state of California, Gerber said, adding, "She is still on the full defense appropriations subcommittee."
Feinstein's service on the committee never presented a conflict of interest, Gerber said, because she didn't have the power to direct contracts to her husband's business or any other company.
"Sen. Feinstein never sought to award military contracts," Gerber said. "That procedure is done by the defense department. Congress plays no role in that process."
That's only technically true, said Kenneth Boehm, chairman of the National Legal and Policy Center, a conservative government watchdog group. He said Tuesday it was disingenuous for Feinstein's office to claim she had no role in awarding contracts.
"The Pentagon does award contracts, but when the Pentagon wants money it goes to the appropriation subcommittees in the House and Senate for money," Boehm noted. "It's hard to imagine a more textbook example of a major financial conflict of interest."
When the Pentagon or any federal agency submits its wish list to Congress, Boehm explained, the appropriations committee members select which programs and projects are funded and often have knowledge of what companies might be suited for the project based on geography, specialization and other factors.
This is well known on Capitol Hill, he said.
"To say she didn't actually do the contract is fall-down-laughing material," Boehm said.
Metro Newspapers first reported in late January several instances in which Feinstein seemed directly involved in issues that could benefit Perini Corp. and URS Corp. Her husband has ownership in both, according to the newspapers.
The examples include a subcommittee hearing where Feinstein asked Pentagon officials about increasing anti-terrorism protection for army bases.
The next year, in March 2003, Feinstein asked why the funds for anti-terror protection had not been spent. Just over a month later, URS announced a $600 million contract to provide services for U.S. Army bases that include anti-terrorism force protection.
In another instance, Feinstein asked another military official when money would be spent on a maintenance facility for the C-17 Hickam Air Base in Hawaii. URS later announced a $42 million contract to build it.
Also, Feinstein's subcommittee in mid-2005 approved funds to reinforce roofs at military stations in Iraq, and in October of that year, Perini got a $185 million federal contract for that purpose, the papers reported.
Feinstein at the very least had knowledge about what the military wanted and when, said Chris Farrell, research director for Judicial Watch.
The conservative group is working on a complaint to the Senate Ethics Committee and a freedom of information request to the U.S. Department of Defense.
"She had a preview of what was coming down the pipeline," Farrell told Cybercast News Service. "It's a sneak preview for him [Blum]. It's like ordering off a menu."
Feinstein chairs the Senate Rules Committee, which sets both procedural rules and ethical guidelines for members.
No, MSM and Mz. DiFi, it’s NOT a “conflict of interest,” at least not when Duke Cunningham tried that one, it’s called bribery and corruption (and those are felonies for us Republicans and mere mortals.)
...and Duke Cunningham is in jail......
Yup..I fully expected this corrupt senator to fully say that she HAS CONFLICT OF INTEREST...I was born yesterday..please send me a birthday card next Tuesday..
An investigation and close scrutiny is in order for this RAT.
I’m sure we will be hearing the cries for justice from the media soon. (sarc)
And he’s a decorated veteran, unlike her. But the media never mentioned that, although they made sure to mention it about Democrats like Kerry, Murtha, Ahmadinejad, etc.
This is going to be a test on just how corrupt the RAT party is, and the Senate Ethics Committee. My guess this will go nowhere.
from 2001 to 2005, URS earned $792 million from military construction and environmental cleanup work approved by MILCON, while Perini collected $759 million for the same.
Michael R. Klein, an adviser to Feinstein and business partner with Blum, said that starting in 1997 he routinely told Feinstein about federal projects coming before her in which Perini had a stake, in order for her to avoid those votes and as such, a conflict of interest.
However, instead of withholding a vote, she did act on those pieces of legislation, Byrne reported. Ultimately, "the Congressional Record shows that as chairperson and ranking member of MILCON, Feinstein was often involved in supervising the legislative details of military construction projects that directly affected Blum's defense-contracting firms," Byrne's report said.
Breaking nearly a week of silence, Sen. Dianne Feinstein's office Tuesday called allegations of a conflict of interest "nonsense" and said the California Democrat played no role in awarding military contracts that benefited companies owned by her husband.
OH....."nonsense"..... my bad....what was I thinking?.... Sorry Dianne, obviously I was mistaking....wont happen again.
The Republicans should start demanding an investigation.
Feinstein’s conflict of interest is “nonsense”. Yet, if there is even a hint of Pub conflict of interest, the RATS pull on their investigative team with huge clubs until that pub either resigns or thrown in jail. Yep, hyprocisy is the RATS middle name.
Did she use that week of silence to confer with her lawyers and shred documents?
No conflict of interest? Yup, I just done rolled out of the pumpkin patch. Wish my fellow Californians would get a clue, and vote her out of office.
Another reason that Republicans need to pursue this: If Feinstein has to resign, Ahnold gets to appoint her replacement—and control of the Senate shifts to the Republicans again.
GOP—wake up out there!
You California Freepers have a great chance with this to make something happen. Have the two drive time guys on KFI talked about this?
OK, that’s it. If she says there is nothing. There is nothing. Move along now. There’s important liberalism to be done here.
Of course, because of "seriousness of the charges".
I would through it right back in their faces. I’d have every Republican member of Congress seek out every camera in DC and pound that home 100 times a day, every day until they crack.
I’m actually in the other massive Moonbat enclave - Boston.
Wow. 1.5 billion and the MSM is nowhere to be found.