Feinstein's War Profiteering- Democratic Blood Money
By Joshua Frank
05 April, 2007
Senator Dianne Feinstein of California silently resigned from her post
on the Military Construction Appropriations subcommittee (MILCON) late
last week as her ethical limbo with war contracts began to surface in
the media, including an excellent investigative report written by Peter
Byrne for Metro in January. MILCON has supervised the appropriations
of billions of dollars in reconstruction contracts since the Bush wars
Feinstein, who served as
chairperson and ranking member for the committee from 2001-2005, came
under fire early last year in these pages for profiting by way of her
husband Richard Blum who, until 2005, held large stakes in two defense
contracting companies. Both businesses, URS and Perini, have scored
lucrative contracts in Iraq and Afghanistan in the last four years,
and Blum has personally pocketed tens of millions of dollars off the
deals his wife, along with her colleagues, so graciously approved.
Here's a brief rundown of
the Feinstein family's blatant war profiteering. In April 2003, the
U.S. Army Corps of Engineers gave $500 million to Perini to provide
services for Iraq's Central Command. A month earlier in March 2003,
Perini was awarded $25 million to design and construct a facility to
support the Afghan National Army near Kabul. And in March 2004, Perini
was awarded a hefty contract worth up to $500 million for "electrical
power distribution and transmission" in southern Iraq.
But it is not just Perini
that has made Feinstein and Blum wealthy. Blum also held over 111,000
shares of stock in URS Corporation, which is now one of the top defense
contractors in the United States. Blum was an acting director of URS,
which bought EG&G, a leading provider of technical services and
management to the U.S. military, from the neocon packed Carlyle Group
back in 2002.
"As part of EG&G's
sale price," reports the San Francisco Chronicle, "Carlyle
acquired a 21.74 percent stake in URS -- second only to the 23.7 percent
of shares controlled by Blum Capital."
URS and Blum have since banked
on the war in Iraq, attaining a $600 million contract through EG&G,
which Sen. Feinstein permitted. As a result, URS has seen its stock
price more than triple since the war began in March of 2003. Blum has
cashed in over $2 million on this venture alone and another $100 million
for his investment firm.
And it is not just the Feinstein
family that has benefited from the war -- so too has the Democratic
Party. Since 2000, the Democrats' Daddy Warbucks has donated over $100,000
to the Democratic Senatorial Committee including leading Democrats including
John Kerry, Robert Byrd, Ted Kennedy, and even Barbara Boxer.
Feinstein's resignation from
MILCON was the least the senator could do to atone for profiting off
the spoils of war. But Feinstein wasn't trying to atone, she seems to
have been trying to cover her tracks instead by distancing herself from
her post. If the Democratic Party had any foresight whatsoever it would
return all the Blood Money donated by Blum. From there the Senate ought
to hold hearings and examine Feinstein's tenure as the chair and ranking
member of MILCON and analyze every single contract she approved which
benefited her husband's respective companies.
There is absolutely no question
-- Sen. Dianne Feinstein has a plethora of ethics violations she needs
to account for at once.
Joshua Frank is the author of Left Out! How Liberals
Helped Reelect George W. Bush and edits www.BrickBurner.org
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