Hmmmm. What was that about the “culture of corruption?”

SEN. Dianne Feinstein has resigned from the Military Construction Appropriations subcommittee. As previously and extensively reviewed in these pages, Feinstein was chairperson and ranking member of MILCON for six years, during which time she had a conflict of interest due to her husband Richard C. Blum’s ownership of two major defense contractors, who were awarded billions of dollars for military construction projects approved by Feinstein.

Feinstein abandoned MILCON as her ethical problems were surfacing in the media, and as it was becoming clear that her subcommittee left grievously wounded veterans to rot while her family was profiting from the occupations of Iraq and Afghanistan. It turns out that Blum also holds large investments in companies that were selling medical equipment and supplies and real estate leases—often without the benefit of competitive bidding—to the Department of Veterans Affairs, even as the system of medical care for veterans collapsed on his wife’s watch.

As of December 2006, according to SEC 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:

# Boston Scientific Corporation: $17.8 million for medical equipment and supplies; 85 percent of contracts awarded without benefit of competition.

# Kinetic Concepts Inc.: $12 million, medical equipment and supplies; 28 percent noncompetitively awarded.

# CB Richard Ellis: The Blum-controlled international real estate firm holds congressionally funded contracts to lease office space to the Department of Veterans Affairs. It also is involved in redeveloping military bases turned over to the private sector.

Dr. Rusty has a few questions related to this story, and an observation:

This is genuine news. Political corruption on a scale as big as Duke Cunningham, and the mainstream press is worried about 8 US attorneys losing their jobs in a completely legal hard-ball political axing-session.

The Culture of Corruption has ‘returned’ – bigger and better than ever before!

Actually, the “culture of corruption” never left.