Want a Pulitzer?

Matthew Hoy
By Matthew Hoy on May 2, 2007

The San Diego Union-Tribune won a Pulitzer Prize in 2006 for exposing Rep. Randy "Duke" Cunningham as a thoroughly corrupt politician. In fact, if there's a sure way of winning a Pulitzer, it's discovering and documenting corruption by a national politician.

It appears as though a Pulitzer Prize may be waiting for any news organization intrepid enough to look into Sen. Dianne Feinstein's dealings as the top Democrat on the Military Construction, Veterans Affairs and Related Agencies sub-committee.

If the inferences finally coming out about what she did while on Milcon prove true, she may be on the way to morphing from a respected senior Democrat into another poster child for congressional corruption.

The problems stem from her subcommittee activities from 2001 to late 2005, when she quit. During that period the public record suggests she knowingly took part in decisions that eventually put millions of dollars into her husband’s pocket — the classic conflict of interest that exploited her position and power to channel money to her husband’s companies.

In other words, it appears Sen. Feinstein was up to her ears in the same sort of shenanigans that landed California Rep. Randy “Duke” Cunningham (R) in the slammer. Indeed, it may be that the primary difference between the two is basically that Cunningham was a minor leaguer and a lot dumber than his state’s senior senator.

Melanie Sloan, the executive director of Citizens for Responsible Ethics in Washington, or CREW, usually focuses on the ethical lapses of Republicans and conservatives, but even she is appalled at the way Sen. Feinstein has abused her position. Sloan told a California reporter earlier this month that while”there are a number of members of Congress with conflicts of interest … because of the amount of money involved, Feinstein’s conflict of interest is an order of magnitude greater than those conflicts.”

And the director of the Project on Government Oversight who examined the evidence of wrongdoing assembled by California writer Peter Byrne told him that “the paper trail showing Senator Feinstein’s conflict of interest is irrefutable.”

The key question is: Where are California's major newspapers when it comes to this story? Nothing of note has appeared in Feinstein's hometown paper, The San Francisco Chronicle, nor the Los Angeles Times or the Sacramento Bee.

C'mon boys, this story is there for its taking.

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