On Wednesday (March 28, 2007), Sen. Diane Feinstein resigned as chairperson and ranking member of the Military Construction Appropriations subcommittee (MILCON) after serving on it for six years. Beginning in January, Metro, a weekly newspaper serving California's Silicon Valley, reported that Feinstein "voted for appropriations worth billions to her husband's firms." Her husband is Richard C. Blum. Conflict of interest, anyone?
So, exactly how many syllables has the Los Angeles Times dedicated the past week to this potentially explosive ethical problem that Feinstein appears to have? Choose one: A. Zero, B. Zilch, C. Nada, D. Nil. (Hint: Feinstein is a Democrat.)
After Feinstein's resignation, Peter Byrne at Metro also added these tidbits to his article:
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.
There's lots more to this. Peter Byrne's article is a must-see for those interested in this.
A few reminders: Sen. Feinstein is a Democratic Senator from California. Los Angeles is a city in California. The Los Angeles Times operates in Los Angeles. Hello? Is anyone at the Times home? Hello? Oh, wait. Feinstein is a Democrat. Ignoring and/or downplaying unflattering stories about Democrats is nothing new at the Times, as we've illustrated in the past here, here, here, here, here, and here.
(By the way, it was only two weeks ago that Sen. Diane penned this op-ed for the Times about "why the Democrats are raising a stink" over the Gonzalez-attorney-firings issue. In the article, she harped that the firings were "a clear abuse of power." Cue the laughter.)