Shame on those who profit from war

Posted: Friday, June 01, 2007

Apparently to Carol Hozid (May 18) it is OK for the husband of Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., to make millions from the war in Iraq; I don't see Hozid calling for Feinstein to be impeached.

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The Center for Public Integrity has reported that Feinstein and her husband, Richard C. Blum, are making millions of dollars from Iraq and Afghanistan contracts through his company, Perini.

In 2003, Feinstein was ranked the fifth wealthiest senator, with an estimated net worth of $26 million. By 2005, her net worth had increased to between $43 million and $99 million. Her 347-page financial disclosure statement, characterized by the San Francisco Chronicle as "nearly the size of a phonebook," draws clear lines between her assets and those of her husband, with many of her assets in blind trusts.

According to the Bay Area alternative Metro Newspapers, Feinstein resigned from the Senate Military Construction Appropriations subcommittee in March 2007, after her ethical problems were exposed in a series of articles partially funded by the progressive Nation Institute. Feinstein was chairwoman and ranking member of the subcommittee for six years, during which time Blum-owned contractors were awarded military construction projects approved by Feinstein mainly in Iraq and Afganistan.

Metroactive charged that Feinstein's subcommittee "left grievously wounded veterans to rot while her family was profiting from the occupations of Iraq and Afghanistan." Metroactive says Blum holds large investments in companies that were selling medical equipment and supplies and real-estate leases, without competitive bidding, to the Department of Veterans Affairs. In April 2007, Feinstein's office denied there was a conflict of interest and stated that her departure from the subcommittee had nothing to do with the reports in the Metro weeklies.

As of December 2006, according to Security and Exchange Commission filings and, 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.

Where is her shame? Should we impeach Feinstein, too, if we are going to follow Hozid's litmus test of impeaching public officials when it comes to Iraq and Afghanistan?

Hozid should take the political log out of her eye and take a good hard look at all of the politicians we send to Washington, D.C. Then maybe, we can take back our government.

Marc Ormsby


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