By: Marilyn Assenheim
Senator Dianne Feinstein’s husband, Richard Blum, created the investment firm, Blum Capital. Blum Capital is part owner of the construction firm, Perini-Zachary-Parsons. Dots connected so far? Perini-Zachary-Parsons has won the bid to build high speed rail track that will link Madera to Fresno, California. Once built, the Reason Foundation estimates that the railway will lose between $124 million to $373 million a year.
If you’ve never heard of Madera California and have barely heard of Fresno, you are not alone. But California’s mania in pursuing this fiscally suicidal venture is not what is spotlighted, here. As Mr. Rogers might have asked, ‘can you say “Conflict of interest”?’ Or “graft”?
How did Perini et al manage to snag this prize? With the “lowest” bid of five, competing groups. Blum’s company, miraculously, came up the victor. Their bid, $985,142,530, comes to $35 million per mile. To this moment, no one is asking the musical question, how did this happen? The project is state funded. And, once again, Senator Feinstein’s dynasty makes out while the state and nation she represents tunnels ever deeper into the septic tank.
Feinstein has been tied to cronyism, using taxpayer funds, several times in the past. According to Breitbart.com, in a report from June, 2012, Feinstein used her position and the information she was privy in order to:
- Appropriate funds through the U.S. Senate Military Construction Subcommittee. Feinstein was serving on this committee and forced funding to companies owned by her husband. The pair netted somewhere around $5 million for their pains. Oh yes; the company prominently concerned was Perini.
- Allocate TARP Funds to the FDIC. Feinstein proposed legislation to funnel $25 billion in taxpayer funds to the FDIC. The FDIC had just awarded Blum’s real estate organization (he served on the board), the CB Ellis Group, a contract to resell foreclosed properties at rates higher than industry norms. The problem with Feinstein’s redirection of tens of billions of taxpayer dollars? According to the Washington Times: “the California Democrat (Feinstein) isn’t a member of the Senate Committee on Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs with jurisdiction over FDIC; …the agency is supposed to operate from money it raises from bank-paid insurance payments–not direct federal dollars.”
- Obtain a mysterious grant from the U.S. Department of Energy. In 2009 Feinstein and her husband invested in a “green,” renewable fuels company, Amyris. Weeks later, the DOE awarded Amyris a grant of $24 million; yes, taxpayer money. Amyris then took the stock public with an IPO that snagged the company another $85 million. Think Feinstein and Blum made their investment back?
Even if one believed in the miraculous regularity with which Feinstein/Blum’s “luck” occurs, Tom Fitton, President of Judicial Watch, a non-profit organization dedicated to monitoring Washington ethics, says Feinstein’s explanation isn’t kosher. His research confirms that: “…neither the FDIC nor MILCON connections pass muster under the U.S. Senate Ethics Rules or the U.S. Criminal Code.”
Senator Feinstein excels at creating scenes of high dudgeon when she is confronted with facts she doesn’t like. And she still gets away with fiscal murder at taxpayer expense. If California wants to bloat the sewer that was the Golden State until it explodes, that’s their problem. But if Californians continue to re-elect venal specimens like Feinstein to the Senate, term after term, the billions it costs the rest of America is our problem.