Husband of Sen. Dianne Feinstein named in college admissions scandal

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The following editorial is written by a retired Chief of Police and current staff writer for Law Enforcement Today

BERKELEY, CA- It’s not what you know, it’s who you know. Apparently, Hollywood celebrities aren’t the only ones who can curry favor at California universities  in order to gain admittance for people they know. In the case of Felicity Huffman and Lori Loughlin, it was their children. Now, it is being widely reported that husband of Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), Richard Blum, has been involved in an admissions scandal of his own.

According to the New York Post, Blum, an alumnus of the University of California and a regent since 2002, apparently used his influence (and no doubt his wife’s name) in order to help underqualified students get into UC Berkeley, a recently released report says.

Blum apparently wrote a letter to the school chancellor’s office on behalf of an unnamed student, who had been waitlisted and who stood only a 26 percent chance to get into the school, the San Jose Mercury News said on Thursday.

An audit of UC’s admission practices showed that Blum’s letter had been forwarded to the university’s admissions office, which moved the student’s application forward over more qualified applicants, the News said.

“It is therefore likely that the applicant whom the regent recommended would have been on a list that received priority admission from the waitlist,” the audit said.

“Given the low likelihood of this applicant’s admission and the prominent and influential role that regents have within the university, we conclude that the decision to admit this applicant was likely influenced by the regent’s advocacy.”

While the audit didn’t mention Feinstein’s husband by name, a university spokeswoman, Margarita Fernandez confirmed to the Mercury News that it was indeed Blum.

The audit instead of naming the individuals involved referred to them in generic terms such as “coach” and “donor.” The auditor said that was done in order to protect student privacy.

Blum was nonplussed about the report, claiming that he had written letters of recommendation for years which he said he didn’t believe “ever had much influence.”

Blum was unapologetic, saying, “This is the first time I’ve heard that maybe I did something that wasn’t right. I think it’s a bunch of nonsense.”

Of course it’s a bunch of nonsense. After all, he is a wealthy investment banker and his wife, 87, is a United States Senator. 

Feinstein is also the ranking member of the Judiciary Committee who will be theoretically holding confirmation hearings for President Trump’s nominee for the Supreme Court, a nomination which is to be made Saturday afternoon.

So in other words, Feinstein will be deciding who should go to the high court while she’s married to someone with an ethics problem. That might call her judgment into question. And here she has been one of the ones leading the charge calling into question President Trump’s ethics.

The UC audit discovered that the school had considered “inappropriate factors” in the admission of 64 applicants over more qualified students across four campuses—Berkeley, Los Angeles, Santa Barbara, and San Diego. Some, as in the case of Huffman and Loughlin’s daughters, got in with jacked-up athletic resumes. Forty-two were tied to wealthy and influential donors and staffers such as Blum.

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For their part in the college admissions scandal, both Huffman and Loughlin received jail time. It will be interesting to see if Blum suffers a similar fate. We will not hold our breath.

The audit noted that the majority of students who benefited from the scam were white, while around half came from families with annual incomes of $150,000 and above.

UC policy says that letters of recommendation from regents should only go through normal admissions channels, which Blum appeared to go around.

The current audit was not related to the scandals that ensnared Huffman and Loughlin.

The Wall St. Journal reached out to Blum for comment, which he refused to provide.

The East Bay Times said that UC Berkeley spokeswoman Janet Gilmore responded in an email saying that the university “didn’t have enough information yet to ‘weigh in on the matter.’”

This isn’t Blum’s first dalliance into controversy,. The Times said that two years ago, Feinstein didn’t disclose that Blum owned over $100,000 in Facebook shares prior to Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg testifying before the Senate.

Feinstein tried to cover for the “oversight” at the time, saying that “she doesn’t discuss her husband’s financial transactions with him.” She claimed it was reported when the mistake was discovered; it is unknown if she said the above with a straight face.

When questioned by the Times about the scandal surrounding the audit, that UC admission practices gave less qualified students admission to the schools while leaving more qualified students behind, Blum was unimpressed and more so unmoved, claiming the process was fair and merit based.

“I find this to be much ado about nothing”

Of course it is, especially when your wife is a United States Senator.

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Sen. Dianne Feinstein wants to withhold economic support for states unless they have a mask mandate

July 19, 2020

WASHINGTON DC – California Senator Dianne Feinstein shocked the nation this past week when she threatened to withhold any additional economic support from states that do not have mandatory mask laws during the COVID-19 pandemic.

According to Feinstein, masks reduce transmission and she will “propose amendments to [the] next coronavirus aid legislation that would withhold aid to states that do not have a mask mandate.”

She quoted CDC Director Robert Redfield in her statistics when she said that we have a surge in COVID-19 cases, and countries that have adopted “universal masking” have been very successful in controlling this virus.

According to the New England Medical Journal, universal masking helps to prevent spreading virus laden secretions by those who are infected with COVID-19 and are asymptomatic, or presymptomatic, but still highly contagious.

The medical journal said:

“[There is a] growing body of research [that] shows that the risk of SARS-Cov2 transmission is strongly correlated with the duration and intensity of the contact.”

A study from Mass General Brigham in Massachusetts shows the correlation between close contact with those wearing masks and those not wearing masks.

Mass General, which is a large network of hospitals and includes 12 hospitals and employs over 78,000 people, instituted universal masking for all employees of the hospital network in early April after many employees fell ill.

Pre-universal masking, the hospital giant had a 21% positivity rate among all employees. After universal masking, the rate fell below 11%. Their findings are similar to what other research has already shown: requiring masks for all employees, regardless of role, is important to protect the entire hospital community. 

As short-duration research studies roll out, Americans are slowly beginning to adopt universal masking laws.

However, citizens are very wary to accept information being rolled out by our top scientists and medical professionals after the initial claims that masks don’t work and the first call to stop wearing masks.

Americans typically look to guidance from leaders that they have put their trust in and right now they need leaders to be united in their stance on masks.

The CDC reported:

“Immediately after the White House Coronavirus Task Force and CDC advised Americans to wear face cloth coverings when leaving the home, 75% of Americans reported they adopted the recommendation.” 

Unfortunately, masks have become the newest symbol of partisan division, and Feinstein seeks to force that division further apart with her threat of new legislation.

There are currently 20 states that have universal masking mandates and the majority of those are blue. Conservative-run states are slow to accept masking mandates because they do not want to violate their citizens‘ civil liberties.

Georgia Governor, Brian Kemp, recently struck down a statewide mask mandate because he thought it was unenforceable.

According to Richard Seamon, a constitutional law professor at the University of Idaho:

“The government can restrict civil liberties, but only when it has called substantial interest. While a facemask requirement can limit an individual’s freedom of expression, the government can impose these mandates because they serve an interest to the greater good of the public.”

He went on to say that they cannot burden speech more than necessary and must serve a rational and non-arbitrary interest. Having the CDC and other medical consensus that universal masking reduces COVID-19 and an inclusive list of restrictions make these mask mandates constitutional.

Lindsay Wiley, director of the Health Law and Policy Program at American University stated that this is not the first time the US has been at odds over government mandated safety laws.

Through history there was resistance to seat belt laws, motorcycle helmet laws, smoking laws, and adult smallpox vaccines mandates. 

When Congress goes back into session on Monday, July 20th, they will be working on a plan for the next round of stimulus money.

Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin wants congress to pass another round of stimulus aid and should focus on industries who were affected the most by COVID-19 and will need major concessions from both party sides.

It is clear, though, that Sen. Feinstein isn’t looking to make concessions. She doesn’t want to work with Governors to help educate their states and help ease their fears.

She wants to threaten and force people to abide by her laws.

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Here’s more on Feinstein brought to you recently by Law Enforcement Today.

 Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), who recently padded her pocketbook by selling stock prior to the stock market crashing relative to coronavirus, wants to send hard-earned American money to Iran, while Democrats are blocking aid to American businesses. Sen Ted Cruz (R-TX) is having none of it.

The United States is currently facing our largest economic crisis since the Great Depression. Governors across the country have been panicked into closing businesses across their states even in areas that haven’t been impacted by the coronavirus. In some cases, but for the grace of God people are still working.

With Americans not knowing in many instances where their next meal may come from, we have a United States senator proposing that we send OUR money to Iran. Yes, Iran, a country which has demanded the destruction of Israel and which has been responsible for the deaths of thousands of Americans worldwide.

In a Tweet, Feinstein said the following:

“The coronavirus has hit Iran hard, with the potential for even greater spread in the region. In the interest of international security, President Trump should support Iran’s request to the IMF for emergency funds to contain this virus.”

She also attached a letter to the president in which she says she is “disappointed” that the administration was going to block Iran’s receiving of $5 billion in aid from the International Monetary Fund (IMF). 

She claims that with Iran’s alleged inability to control the spread, Iranians will flee the country to others in the area, including Afghanistan. She posits that this could provide “additional challenges for U.S. and collation forces there [Afghanistan].”

Of course, given Iran’s history, the administration is no doubt concerned that Iran would take that $5 billion in aid and flip it for weapons to use against said U.S. and coalition forces in the region. Their history indicates that is exactly what they would do.

Feinstein also apparently recognizes this and suggests that the aid be “contingent upon IMF oversight on how Iran spends the funds.”

Cruz responded:

The Ayatollah leads chants of “death to America.” He pledges to destroy America, which he calls “the Great Satan.” And Senate Dems want to send him millions??? At the EXACT SAME TIME, Senate Dems are blocking desperately need relief to small businesses in America #Priorities

One really needs to wonder, why is Feinstein worrying about what is going on in Iran when so many American citizens are suffering? Why isn’t Feinstein pushing for American governors to open up selected portions of their states where the coronavirus is not an issue, so Americans can get back to work and earning income?

With that being said, how do we even know that if the money is given to the mullahs in Iran, it will end up trickling down to those in the country who truly need it? Senator Cruz is correct in saying that sending aid and comfort to an avowed enemy is basically irresponsible.

Especially given the history of the regime in that country. Look nobody wants to see every day Iranians suffering due to a lack of funds, but simply put, the people in charge over there cannot be trusted.

 

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