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April 21, 2009
Connecting the dots in Feinstein's intervention with FDIC
No one will be able to prove that a quid pro quo existed, but Senator Diane Feinstein has some explaining to do about a contract awarded to her husband by the FDIC immediately after she steered $25 billion to the agency's coffers: Chuck Neubauer of the Washington Times writes:
Mrs. Feinstein's intervention on behalf of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. was unusual: the California Democrat isn't a member of the Senate Committee on Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs with jurisdiction over FDIC; and the agency is supposed to operate from money it raises from bank-paid insurance payments - not direct federal dollars.
Documents reviewed by The Washington Times show Mrs. Feinstein first offered Oct. 30 to help the FDIC secure money for its effort to stem the rise of home foreclosures. Her letter was sent just days before the agency determined that CB Richard Ellis Group (CBRE) - the commercial real estate firm that her husband Richard Blum heads as board chairman - had won the competitive bidding for a contract to sell foreclosed properties that FDIC had inherited from failed banks.
About the same time of the contract award, Mr. Blum's private investment firm reported to the Securities and Exchange Commission that it and related affiliates had purchased more than 10 million new shares in CBRE. The shares were purchased for the going price of $3.77; CBRE's stock closed Monday at $5.14.
Spokesmen for the FDIC, Mrs. Feinstein and Mr. Blum's firm told The Times that there was no connection between the legislation and the contract signed Nov. 13, and that the couple didn't even know about CBRE's business with FDIC until after it was awarded.
That's her story and she's sticking with it.
The problem is that it doesn't explain why she sponsored the legislation when the subject was so far out of her legislative interest. And when you consider the timing of everything, you can bet if she were a Republican, the ethics committee would open a case file on her in a minute.
Instead, this will simply be another story of Washington corruption that disappears down the rabbit hole while everyone makes out quite nicely. Feinstein and her husband are enriched, the FDIC gets more taxpayer funds to play with, and everyone's "Give a damn" is busted.