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April 22, 2020

Lee Smith: What's Good for Communist China Is Good for America, Dianne Feinstein Says, As She Gets Rich on China Deals

China Queen Dianne Feinstein Used Her Senate Power to Push Most-Favored-Nation Status for the CCP’s Corrupt Dictatorship. Why?

No one represents the marriage of American policy toward China and doing business with the PRC better than Feinstein. Her promotion of trade with China to advance the interests of her constituents turned into apologetics on behalf of the Communist Party, as it aided her political ascent and augmented her husband’s portfolio. In October, USA Today listed Feinstein as the sixth-richest member of Congress, with a net worth of $58.5 million—a sum that vastly understates her actual wealth. Richard Blum, her husband, is himself worth at least another $1 billion.

...

In 1994, Blum’s company, Blum Capital, had entered a joint venture to found Newbridge Capital, specializing in emerging markets, including Asia. Blum said in 1997 that less than 2% of the approximately $1.5 billion that his firm managed was committed to China. He held a $300 million stake in Northwest Airlines when it operated the only nonstop service from the United States to cities in China. In 2002, Newbridge was negotiating to acquire 20% of Shenzhen Development Bank. After some rough seas, it paid $145 million for an 18% share two years later, marking the first time a Chinese bank came under control of a foreign entity.

Feinstein says that Blum’s business in China had no effect on her foreign policy or trade positions regarding the country. "We have built a firewall," she said of her relationship with her husband. "That firewall has stood us in good stead."

Yet the record shows that the marriage between Blum's business and Feinstein's political career is a very close one. Journalists from Feinstein's home state's two largest media markets, Los Angeles and San Francisco, covered that relationship thoroughly and often quite skeptically throughout the 1990s and early 2000s. The fact that relationships that should have come under serious scrutiny have rarely been portrayed in anything other than a favorable light--the New Yorker breathlessly reported in a 2015 profile that China’s former President Jiang Zemin had spent Thanksgiving as a guest at the Blum-Feinstein home in San Francisco--reveals the extent to which the American elite has subscribed wholesale to the unproven theory that business with the Chinese Communist Party was good for America.

What began as faith in the inherent goodness of relations between the United States and China eventually transformed into something dark, crude, and cynical. As Benjamin Weingarten recently reported, Feinstein has repeatedly criticized Trump's tariffs on China, turning her advocacy for the Communist Chinese government into an instrument of domestic political warfare--and cementing a pro-China policy as a foreign policy touchstone to rival support for the JCPOA, President Obama's Iran deal, within the Democratic Party.

...

And the relationship [with China's soon-to-be-president] benefited Feinstein personally. In 1993, Jiang became president of China and invited Feinstein and Blum to Beijing to meet with party leadership. According to a 1994 Los Angeles Times story, Blum was planning to bundle $2 million to $3 million of his own with another $150 million from other investors to invest in state-owned enterprises, including telecommunications equipment.

Feinstein said at the time that Blum's economic interest in China was "news to me." The couple denied that his business in China profited from her then 15-year friendship with the president of China. "He is in San Francisco running his business, I am in Washington being a United States senator, and they are two separate things," Feinstein told reporters. "I don't know how I can prove it to people like you. Maybe I get divorced. Maybe that is what you want."

There's a logic to Feinstein's self-pity--she was being singled out for doing what everyone else was also doing, or dreamed of doing. Taking a piece of the action was good for America, the winners told themselves.


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posted by Ace at 01:13 PM

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