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Diane Feinstein on MILCON

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  • Diane Feinstein on MILCON

    I heard this story briefly on the radio today, but I'm having trouble finding supporting news stories to reference. Apparently it was only considered a minor blip of a news story. Maybe you guys can help shed some more light on the topic.

    Here's what I've got so far: Diane Feinstein spent most of her last 10 years in the Senate on the Military Construction Appropriations subcommittee, or MILCON. She was the committee's minority leader a while, and was then made Chairperson in 2000.[edit--some sources say "chairperson", some say "ranking member". I'm not entirely sure what "ranking member" means, but thats the term used on her official government biography page, so I'm guessing thats the correct one.]
    During this time, her influence and votes were important in obtaining 1.5 Billion dollars worth of appropriations to defense contractors Perini and URS. (About $750 Mill each).

    One problem: Feinstein was kind of...shall we say...personally invested in the success of those companies. All in her husband's name, of course (Richard Blum). Back when Perini was a tiny defense contractor on the verge of going out of business in 1995 (about the time Feinstein was elected), Feinstein's husband Blum bought millions of shares of Perini stock on the cheap, enough to make himself the controlling shareholder. The details are a little fuzzy, since all I have to go on is this story, which seems to suggest that he is lead partner in a banking instution, and bought most of the shares through the bank, retaining personal ownership of about 100,000 shares. In 2005, he sold out his interest for a 500% gain, about $2 Million in profit on his personal shares in addition to whatever his bank made.

    Blum was also on the board of directors for URS, a much bigger defense company, and held 5 million shares of their stock, which was worth $200 Million when he sold it in 2005. It was worth far less than that in 2000, before Feinstein took over as Chair of the appropriations committee, and when URS had a far tinier piece of the defense budget.

    Some of these numbers don't add up quite right though, and I'm having trouble finding secondary sources for confirmation.

  • #2
    Re: Diane Feinstein on MILCON

    I think I saw something about this on Digg yesterday. If I see anything more, I'll post it here.

    One question: Is it your intent that this thread be about the story and its details (regardless of the level of coverage), or about media bias?

    [drill][medic][conduct][tg-c1][tpf-c1]
    [ma-c2][taw-c1]

    Principles of good Sandbox Etiquette:
    Assume good faith - Be polite, please! - Work toward agreement. - Argue facts, not personalities. - Concede a point when you have no response to it, or admit when you disagree based on intuition or taste. - Be civil. - Be prepared to apologize. In animated discussions, we often say things we later wish we hadn't. Say so. - Forgive and forget. - Recognize your own biases and keep them in check. - Give praise when due.

    Treat others as you would have them treat you

    Comment


    • #3
      Re: Diane Feinstein on MILCON

      A few links to some articles mentioning the matter. I'll let those interested read them and make up their own minds on how trustworthy and/or damning they are.

      http://www.themediareport.com/apr200...-feinstein.htm

      http://www.worldnetdaily.com/news/ar...TICLE_ID=54932

      http://www.kansascity.com/153/story/77595.html

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dianne_...nd_accusations

      And this dead link to a story at MarketWatch by DowJones...the link is found on the Wikipedia page citations section, but the story at DowJones doesn't seem to be there anymore.
      Dead Dow Jones Link

      Edit: @ Diceman: At this point I'm really just trying to dig for information. So far I find myself too short of details on the matter to say whether this is an example of media bias for not publishing or whether it really IS a non-story. Perhaps that will become clear after we learn more.

      Edit: added 1 more link
      Last edited by Kerostasis; 05-03-2007, 03:53 PM.

      Comment


      • #4
        Re: Diane Feinstein on MILCON

        The only story that I found which I view to be credible is Feinstein's Cardinal shenanigans (The Hill). I make no comment on Kero's stories, except to note that the Kansas City link is more about the story of the story.

        Hrm - the front-paged Digg story appears to be down. Reading the comments references me back to the MetroActive story you've already got posted, which is the most complete story I can see (having only skimmed it). The above link to the Hill is the other publication which appears to carry original work on the subject.

        There are blogs picking it up, but it appears to be - for the time being - the stuff that echo-chambers are made of. The blogs are all right-wing in character (not that there's anything wrong with that), and they look like they make liberal (heh) use of commentary in their reporting. Their sources all appear to refer back to the Hill article.

        These links are:
        http://www.investors.com/editorial/e...62912332276692 (Investor's Business Daily)
        http://newsbusters.org/node/12481 (Newsbusters.org)
        http://www.onebigdog.net/2007/05/02/...to-my-husband/ (OneBigDog)
        http://sayanythingblog.com/the_most_...congress_ever/ (SayAnythingBlog - a Member of Pajamas Media)

        A quick survey of the more significant right-wing news sources shows they aren't picking this story up either - yet.
        The Washington Times
        The New York Post
        Fox News

        Seeing as the MetroActive story broke in late January, all I can assume is that - for whatever reason - this story has been deemed not newsworthy by the larger media companies, left and right. However, the Hill story was only published April 30, so we may see something more on this yet.

        Just for a laugh, I also searched the NY Times and the Washington Post archives, but there was nothing there either.
        Last edited by Diceman; 05-03-2007, 04:50 PM.

        [drill][medic][conduct][tg-c1][tpf-c1]
        [ma-c2][taw-c1]

        Principles of good Sandbox Etiquette:
        Assume good faith - Be polite, please! - Work toward agreement. - Argue facts, not personalities. - Concede a point when you have no response to it, or admit when you disagree based on intuition or taste. - Be civil. - Be prepared to apologize. In animated discussions, we often say things we later wish we hadn't. Say so. - Forgive and forget. - Recognize your own biases and keep them in check. - Give praise when due.

        Treat others as you would have them treat you

        Comment


        • #5
          Re: Diane Feinstein on MILCON

          Thanks for the help Dice. I tend to agree with your analysis. I guess the only thing to do now is wait and see if the story goes anywhere. Unless anyone here wants to go investigate the public record themselves...

          Comment

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