Posted by: As I See It by Arnie | May 13, 2007

Duke Cunningham and Dianne Feinstein

Are there any similarities between these two? What do you mean, what are you getting at? Diane has not done anything wrong and has not been charged with a crime. Duke Cunningtham has been charged with a serious bribery crime. Confessed, convicted and sentenced.

“Cunningham acknowledged a conspiracy to commit bribery, mail and wire fraud and tax evasion. He also pleaded guilty to a separate tax evasion violation for failing to disclose income in 2004.”

“Prosecutors said Cunningham had taken bribes from contractors, which enabled him to buy a mansion, a suburban Washington condominium, a yacht and a Rolls Royce.” That’s what Duke did. CNN reported it in November of 2005.

“The citizens who elected Cunningham assumed that he would do his best for them,” said U.S. Attorney Carol Lam. “Instead, he did the worst thing an elected official can do — he enriched himself through his position and violated the trust of those who put him there.” “ He served on a powerful defense appropriations subcommittee that approves spending for defense programs.

Basically, that’s the story of Duke Cunningham. While sitting on a powerful defense appropriations subcommittee he recommended and voted on the awarding of defense spending to contractors. By being on this committee it put him in a place where kickbacks for a vote is against the law, as it should be, but the lure of the money was too much for his integrity. He sold himself out for a buck or two million or so.

Now where does Diane Feinstein come in? Well, it appears that the Senator from California was on a military construction appropiations subcommittee (MILCON) until March when she resigned. This committee not only supervises military construction, but it also oversees “quality of life” issues for veterans, which includes building housing for military families and operating hospitals and clinics for wounded soldiers. Do you remember the outrage not long ago at the Walter Reed Hospital? “Two years ago, before the Washington Post became belatedly involved, the online magazine Salon.com exposed the horrors of deficient medical care for Iraq war veterans. While leading MILCON, Feinstein had ample warning of the medical-care meltdown. But she was not proactive on veteran’s affairs.” Read the report here. George Bush got the blame for the horrible conditions at Walter Reed, not the committee responsible for oversight of the Veterans Hospitals.

For six years Sen. Feinstein was the chairperson and ranking member of the committee, and you know that during those six years there were many contracts awarded to numerous contractors for work on military construction projects for which she, either investigated and recommended contractors, and/or voted on the awarding of these contracts. Right? So, what’s the big deal? She resigned in March, a month ago. Now why would she resign as chairperson of such a powerful committee? Did she resign just because of the neglect of the conditions at Walter Reed, which her committee was directly involved in overseeing it’s maintenance etc? Or, could there be some more to this story?

“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).”

It comes to light now that the husband of Senator Feinstein, Richard C. Blum owned and had a majority stake in several companies that received contracts for military construction while Diane was the chairperson on the committee. There is no record of Diane excusing herself from the vote on any of these contract awards. And, common law has it that the spouse has joint ownership rights along with the husband of any properties held separately or jointly. She knew of her husbands interest in these companies at the time of the award by the committee. Would you consider this as a conflict of interest? A stupid question.

“As of December 2006, according to SEC filings and http://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:”

“You would think that, considering all the money Feinstein’s family has pocketed by waging global warfare while ignoring the plight of wounded American soldiers, she would show a smidgeon of shame and resign from the entire Senate, not just a subcommittee. Conversely, you’d think she might stick around MILCON to try and fix the medical-care disaster she helped to engineer for the vets who were suckered into fighting her and Bush’s panoply of unjust wars.”

But yet, the mainstream press has given Senator Feinstein a pass. Little has been said in congress. How come? Why has there not been an official investigation by the ethics committee of the Senate? Remember how Nancy Pelosi came out and said the new congress was going to end the culture of corruption in Washington. Diane did her bit and resigned, so that ends the culture of corruption. Surely there is enough evidence to raise suspicion of a conflict of interest, of a personal gain, a personal enrichment of stock portfolio or whatever, while voting on a contract award. Duh. Here is the link to the story that started all this and it came out in January of this year, 4 months ago. Do you think the political party of Diane has anything to do with this story being looked over, or just outright buried hoping it will go away? Cunningham was a republican Congressperson. Feinstein is a democrat Senator. No, CNN is not interested, nor has the ABC’s picked it up, so I guess the story is just all made up garbage by the republican right wing hoping to discredit the good reputation of a very fine Senator. You think?

Sorry, but this will not go away. “–he enriched himself through his position and violated the trust of those who put him there.”

Why does Diane continue using her maiden name instead of changing her last name to that of her husband? It’s been that way in traditional marriages for a long long time, so can we conclude that her marriage is one of convenience, of power, of retaining name recognition above the commitment to each other for a unity of two people in a mutually loving relationship. Secular liberal feminist progressiveness. These seem to define her values.

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