Dianne Feinstein

From SourceWatch
Jump to: navigation, search
This is a profile of a U.S. senator. (See all the California portal for all incumbents, candidates and blogs.)
California state flag.png

Things you can do:

Dianne Feinstein currently serves as the Sr. Senator for California

Dianne Goldman Berman Feinstein, a Democrat, has represented California in the United States Senate since 1992. She is married to Richard Blum.

Record and controversies

General information about important bills and votes for can be found in Congresspedia's articles on legislation. You can add information you find on how Dianne Feinstein voted by clicking the "[edit]" link to the right and typing it in. Remember to cite your sources!

Michael Mukasey nomination

Sen. Feinstein voted FOR the confirmation of Bush appointee Michael Mukasey as Attorney General of the U.S. on Nov. 8, 2007. Six Democrats and Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.) joined most Republicans in the 53-40 vote confirming Mukasey. No Republicans voted against him. Mukasey's nomination was surrounded by controversy; while he called waterboarding "repugnant," he refused to say whether it was illegal under anti-torture laws.

Environmental record

For more information on environmental legislation, see the Energy and Environment Policy Portal

Electric Utility Cap and Trade Act

Sens. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) and Tom Carper (D-Del.) introduced the Electric Utility Cap and Trade Act of 2007 (S.317) on January 17, 2007 to "to amend the Clean Air Act to establish a program to regulate the emission of greenhouse gases from electric utilities." It was referred to the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works.[1] The legislation would set an emissions "cap and trade" system for electric utilities.

Main article: U.S. congressional action on climate change#Electric Utility Cap and Trade Act of 2007 (S.317)

Air pollution earmark

In July, 2007, Feinstein secured an earmark in the Interior-Environment spending bill that would provide funds for a major air-pollution reduction program in two heavily polluted areas of California: the San Joaquin Valley Air Pollution Control District and the South Coast Air Quality Management District. The earmark would specifically direct $15 million to help states and localities retrofit diesel engines. Opponents of this move argue that this money should be spread throughout the country, not just in areas that fail to meet air quality standards. S. William Becker, executive director of the National Association of Clean Air Agencies, argued that diesel emissions pose human health threats all over the country, even in regions that are attaining federal air quality standards. Scott Gerber, a spokesman for Feinstein, argued "These are the two worst air quality districts in the nation, and it’s critical that we address the air quality problems."[2]

Main article: Congressional actions on the federal budget/110th Congress#House considers Financial Services and Interior-Environment measures

Iraq War

Feinstein voted for the Authorization for Use of Military Force Against Iraq in Oct. 2002.

For more information see the chart of U.S. Senate votes on the Iraq War.

Executive power

In July 2006, Feinstein gave her support to a bill by Sen. Arlen Specter (R-Pa.) that would allow Congress to file a lawsuit to get presidential signing statements declared unconstitutional. [1]

Positions on tobacco issues

This article is part of the Tobacco portal on Sourcewatch funded from 2006 - 2009 by the American Legacy Foundation.

  1. OpenCongress: S.317
  2. Avery Palmer. "Earmark Directs Hefty Share of Pollution-Control Funding to California," CQ. July 10, 2007.

On July 17, 2001 Senator Feinstein wrote a scathing letter to Geoffrey C. Bible, CEO of Philip Morris (PM) about a Wall Street Journal article that appeared describing a report PM had commissioned in Czechoslovakia that concluded the Czech government derives economic benefits from tobacco products, including cost savings due to the premature deaths of smokers. Feinstein wrote,

Phillip Morris has stepped well-past the lines of decency and demonstrated,once again, that it conducts business in a manner completely disconnected from any sense of right and wrong.[2]

Bible responded in a letter saying everyone at Philip Morris was "extremely sorry" for the report.[3]

National security and foreign policy

Closing the detention facility at Guantanamo Bay

In late June, 2007, Sen. Feinstein and Sen. Tom Harkin (D-Iowa) began working on an amendment to the FY2008 Defense Department authorization bill that would close the U.S. detention facility at Guantanamo Bay.

Main article: FY 2008 Defense Department authorization

Animal Enterprise Terrorism Act

The Animal Enterprise Terrorism Act became law on November 27, 2006 upon receiving President Bush’s signature. Its stated purpose is “to provide the Department of Justice the necessary authority to apprehend, prosecute, and convict individuals committing animal enterprise terror.” Originally introduced by Sens. James Inhofe (R-Okla.) and Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) on September 8, 2006, the bill ultimately passed by unanimous consent in the Senate and a voice vote in the House.

Main article: Animal Enterprise Terrorism Act

Digital Copyright laws


Of those legislations to be introduced in Congress, the The PERFORM Act (S.2644) caused a shakedown in Congress especially as it brought the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) head to head with XM Satellite Radio over XM’s release of Pioneer Inno, Helix, and XM2GO in a lawsuit.[1]

Introduced April 25, 2006 and reintroduced on January 25, 2007 into the Senate by Sen. Feinstein, the bill sought to protect the music industry from piracy by limiting the ability to record digital radio broadcasts. It aimed to create parity among all digital media broadcasters—satellite, cable and Internet radio service—by harmonizing rate setting standards for copyright licenses on a fair market rule under Sections 112 and 114 in the Copyright Act. According to Feinstein in a 2007 statement, “what was once a passive listening experience has turned into a forum where users can record, manipulate, collect and create personalized music libraries. As the modes of distribution change and the technologies change, so must our laws change.” [2]

Specifically, addressing Section 114 of the Copyright Act it singled out satellite radio companies XM and Sirius, in which legislators and proponents of the bill argued that the issued compulsory licenses given to these companies were meant only for listening-only services, not recording. Bill proponents were concerned these portable devices allowed consumers to record, sort, and store digital broadcasts, resulting in them turning these broadcast into downloads and creating an unlicensed music library without adequately paying the artist. In this regard, they further argued that the service would bypass the marketplace.[3]

However, opponents such as the Home Recording Rights Coalition said that the legislation would stifle innovation while the Electronic Frontier Foundation argued that the bill would require DRM-laden streaming formats for satellite and digital radio stations as well as Internet webcasters.[4]

XM fired back in Congress and the courts defending its devices which were designed to comply with the 1992 Audio Home Recording Act and the 801(b) standard of the Copyright Act, which governs performance license under section 114. Under the standard, a specific formula for performance royalties is put forth taking into consideration technological contribution, capital investment, cost, risk and contribution to the opening of the new market. Both the Home Recording Rights Coalition and the Consumer Electronics Association sided with XM in the suit supporting its defense.[5]

Main article: Digital Copyright

Senate Campaign Disclosure Parity Act

Sen. Feinstein, along with Sen. Russ Feingold (D-Wis.) sponsored the Senate Campaign Disclosure Parity Act of 2007, which would require senators to file their campaign finance reports electronically to the Federal Election Commission. Currently reports are disseminated in paper form often long after they are initially filed, preventing voters from obtaining financial disclosure information in a timely fashion. On April 17, 2007, Sens. Feinstein and Feingold brought the bill to the floor for a unanimous consent motion. Upon asking for unanimous consent on this seemingly non-controversial bill, Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) objected to the bill for an anonymous senator from the Republican side. This anonymous objection amounted to a senator placing a “secret hold” on the bill, effectively stopping it. Despite efforts to determine who the anonymous hold was, when the Senators attempted again to bring the bill to the floor for unanimous consent, Sen. Jim Bunning (R-Ky.) registered another anonymous objection from the Republican side, blocking it again. On May 7, 2007, Sen. Feinstein sent a letter to Sen. McConnell asking for his help in passing the bill. Feinstein wrote, "I am ready to meet with [the objecting] Senators to discuss their amendments and try to address their concerns." McConnell has not publicly responded. As of yet, the bill has not been allowed to proceed.

Main article: Senate Campaign Disclosure Parity Act of 2007

Oil royalties

On May 18, 2006, the House of Representatives voted for an amendment offered by Reps. Maurice Hinchey (D-N.Y.) to the 2007 Department of Interior Appropriations Bill (H.R. 5386). According to a statement from Rep. Hinchey, "While the Hinchey amendment doesn't require energy companies to rework their contracts, it does bar them from receiving future contracts unless they work with the Interior Department to redo the existing contracts that contained the royalty-free clerical error, thus providing energy companies with a large incentive to rework the existing contracts."[6]

On June 29, 2006, the Senate Appropriations Committee approved a similar amendment to the House language. Sponsored by Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) and Sen. Judd Gregg (R-N.H.), the amendment was attached to the FY 2007 Interior Appropriations Bill.

However, the amendments sponsored in the House and Senate were never enacted because the 2007 Interior Appropriations Bill was one of nine budget bills never finally approved during the 109th Congress.[7] In early 2007, Congress passed and the President signed the Fiscal Year 2007 Joint Resolution (P.L. 110-5) providing funding for the Interior Department at its 2006 enacted level.[8]

Main article: U.S. federal oil and gas royalties#House of Representatives passes legislation to address missing price thresholds; Senate passes language out of committee

Probes into the dismissal of U.S. attorneys

On February 27, 2007, The Hill newspaper reported that the Justice Department released to senate members, the performance evaluations of six U.S. attorneys, which further confirmed suspicions that the attorneys were asked to resign for political purposes. [4]

On February 26, 2007, Feinstein forwarded the six evaluations to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) and Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) along with a letter urging floor time for her bill, which would reverse a statutory change last year that allows the Bush administration to indefinitely install federal prosecutors without seeking Senate confirmation. [5]

Several of the fired attorneys were involved in political corruption investigations in the months before their dismissals were sought by Justice, including San Diego’s Carol Lam, who secured three indictments in the investigation of former GOP Rep. Randy "Duke" Cunningham (Calif.). Judiciary Committee Democrats had vowed to subpoena the performance evaluations if the administration did not produce copies, but the reports only heightened Feinstein’s misgivings about Justice’s explanation that the dismissed attorneys had performance problems. [6]

Reparations for Japanese Latin Americans

Feinstein cosponsored The Commission on Wartime Relocation and Internment of Latin Americans of Japanese Descent Act in the 110th Congress which would establish a commission that would determine the facts and circumstances involving the relocation, internment and deportation of Japanese Latin Americans.[9]

Main article: Redress for Japanese Latin Americans/ U.S. legislation#Commission on Wartime Relocation and Internment of Latin Americans of Japanese Descent Act of 2007


Feinstein was born June 22, 1933 in San Francisco. She received her B.A. in history in 1955 from Stanford University. She is San Francisco's first (and to date, only) woman mayor.

In 1969, Feinstein won a position on the San Francisco Board of Supervisors which she held for nine years, becoming the first female president of the Board. During her tenure, she unsuccessfully ran for mayor of San Francisco twice, in 1971 and then in a 1975 contest for a runoff slot.

In November 1978, San Francisco mayor George Moscone and supervisor Harvey Milk were assassinated by a rival politician, Dan White, who had resigned from the Board of Supervisors only two weeks prior. As president of the Board of Supervisors, Feinstein automatically ascended to the mayoral position. She served out the remainder of the term and was elected in her own right in 1979 and re-elected in 1983. In 1984 she proposed banning handguns in San Francisco, and became subject to a recall attempt organized by the White Panther Party. She won the recall election and finished her second term as mayor in 1988.

In 1990 Feinstein made an unsuccessful bid for Governor of California, losing to Republican Senator Pete Wilson, who vacated his seat in the Senate to assume the governorship. In 1992, she was fined $190,000 for failure to properly report campaign contributions and expenditures associated with that campaign.[7]

In 1992, Feinstein won a special election to fill the Senate seat which became vacant in 1990 when Pete Wilson was elected governor (in an election against Feinstein). She was re-elected in 1994, again in 2000, and is running for a third full term in 2006. In 1998 and 2003, some advised her to run for governor, but she declined.

Because of her record of compromising with Republicans, Feinstein is distrusted by some on the political left. She is often labeled unfavorably by them as pro-business, as she has voted for most lawsuit reform measures and was a co-sponsor of the Class Action Fairness Act of 2005. She voted for the first tax cuts in 2001 and also for the Medicare Prescription Drug, Improvement, and Modernization Act in 2003. Both positions were unpopular with many in her own party.

Senator Feinstein initially supported the use of military force in Iraq and recently has claimed that she was misled by President Bush on the reasons for going to war.

Feinstein is a firm supporter of capital punishment and of a constitutional amendment to ban the "desecration" of the American flag. Critics point out positions like these to indicate that she is not a "true" or "loyal" Democrat. Defenders point to her record on other issues: she voted against NAFTA (although she voted for CAFTA), the Defense of Marriage Act, school prayer, welfare reform, and the Bankruptcy Abuse Prevention and Consumer Protection Act of 2005.

She has numerous critics on the political right as well. Her support for abortion rights has earned her the ire of pro-life groups. She is also opposed by gun rights organizations.

In 1993, Feinstein, along with then-Representative Charles Schumer (D-NY), led the fight to ban many semi-automatic firearms and restrict the sale of firearm magazines deemed "assault weapons." The ban was passed as Public Safety and Recreational Firearms Use Protection Act, Subtitle A of the Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act of 1994. In 2004, when the ban was set to expire, Feinstein sponsored a 10-year extension of the ban as an amendment to the Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act; while the amendment was successfully added, the act itself failed. The act was then revived in 2005, and, despite Feinstein's best efforts, was passed without an extension of the assault weapons ban.

2006 elections

In 2006, the Republicans nominated Richard Mountjoy, and the Green Party nominated Todd Chretien to face Feinstein in her November 2006 bid for reelection. (See U.S. congressional elections in 2006) [8] Feinstein retained her seat.

2008 elections

This information was gathered by volunteer researchers as part of the Superdelegate Transparency Project on the superdelegates for the 2008 Democratic presidential primary. For more info see the California superdelegate tracker or visit the STP homepage.

Before Hillary Clinton conceded the race, Dianne Feinstein, as a superdelegate, had endorsed her for President.

For more information and sources, see the state page for this superdelegate linked to in the blue box above.

Money in Politics

This section contains links to – and feeds from – money in politics databases. <crpcontribdata>cid=N00007364&cycle=2006</crpcontribdata>

Links to more campaign contribution information for Dianne Feinstein
from the Center for Responsive Politics' OpenSecrets.org site.
Fundraising profile: 2006 election cycle Career totals
Top contributors by organization/corporation: 2006 election cycle Career totals
Top contributors by industry: 2006 election cycle Career totals

Committees and Affiliations


Committee assignments in the 109th Congress (2005-2006)

Candidate data

Wikipedia also has an article on Dianne Feinstein. This article may use content from the Wikipedia article under the terms of the GFDL.


DC Office:
331 Hart Senate Office Building
Washington, D.C. 20510-0504
Phone: 202-224-3841
Fax: 202-228-3954
Web Email

District Office- San Diego:
750 B Street, Suite 1030
San Diego, CA 92101-8126
Phone: 619-231-9712
Fax: 619-231-1108

District Office- Fresno:
2500 Tulare Street, Suite 4-290
Fresno, CA 93721
Phone: 559-485-7430
Fax: 559-485-9689

District Office- San Francisco:
1 Post Street, Suite 2450
San Francisco, CA 94104
Phone: 415-393-0707
Fax: 415 249-4785

District Office- Los Angeles:
11111 San Monica Boulevard, Suite 915
Los Angeles, CA 90025-3343
Phone: 310-914-7300
Fax: 310-914-7318

Articles and resources

See also


  1. Digital Copyright: In Converging World, Congress Continues to Tinker with Copyright, Center for Public Integrity, June 25, 2007.
  2. Press Release, Senators Feinstein, Graham, Biden, Alexander Continue Effort to Protect Copyrighted Materials, January 11, 2007.
  3. Digital Copyright: In Converging World, Congress Continues to Tinker with Copyright, Center for Public Integrity, June 25, 2007.
  4. Digital Copyright: In Converging World, Congress Continues to Tinker with Copyright, Center for Public Integrity, June 25, 2007.
  5. Digital Copyright: In Converging World, Congress Continues to Tinker with Copyright, Center for Public Integrity, June 25, 2007.
  6. "House Approves Hinchey Amendment To Help End Royalty Giveaways To Energy Companies Profiting On Oil & Gas Taken From U.S. Waters,"Office of Representative Maurice Hinchey, May 18, 2006.
  7. Lyndsey Layton. "Democrats Move Leftover Spending Measure," Washington Post. January 31, 2007.
  8. What's New at Budget?" Department of the Interior. June 26, 2007.
  10. Prostate Cancer Foundation Honorary Board, organizational web page, accessed July 11, 2013.

External resources

External articles

Local blogs and discussion sites

<tdo>resource_id=38730 resource_code=feinstein_dianne search_term=Dianne Feinstein</tdo>

Corresponding article on Wikipedia and Cause Caller. (If Cause Caller link does not work, pick from its list of senators and representatives.)

Current Office: U.S. Senate
111th Congress
Leadership Position:
Committees Chaired:
Ranking Member On:

110th Congress
Leadership Position:
Committees Chaired:
Senate Committee on Rules and Administration
Ranking Member On:

Committees: Joint Committee on the Library of Congress, Senate Committee on Appropriations, Senate Committee on Appropriations/Subcommittee on Agriculture Rural Development Food and Drug Administration and Related Agencies, Senate Committee on Appropriations/Subcommittee on Commerce Justice and Science and Related Agencies, Senate Committee on Appropriations/Subcommittee on Defense, Senate Committee on Appropriations/Subcommittee on Energy and Water Development, Senate Committee on Appropriations/Subcommittee on Interior Environment and Related Agencies, Senate Committee on Appropriations/Subcommittee on Transportation Housing and Urban Development and Related Agencies, Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, Senate Committee on the Judiciary, Senate Committee on the Judiciary/Subcommittee on Administrative Oversight and the Courts, Senate Committee on the Judiciary/Subcommittee on the Constitution Civil Rights and Property Rights, Senate Committee on the Judiciary/Subcommittee on Crime and Drugs, Senate Committee on the Judiciary/Subcommittee on Immigration Border Security and Citizenship, Senate Committee on the Judiciary/Subcommittee on Technology Terrorism and Homeland Security, Senate Committee on Rules and Administration
Congressional Career
First Elected to Current Office:
November 3, 1992
First Took Current Office:
November 10, 1992
Next Election:
November 6, 2012
Term Ends:
Freshman Member?
Previous Political Work?
Mayor of San Francisco 1978-88,San Francisco Board of Supervisors 1970-78 (President 1970-71,1974-75,1978)
Other Party Membership:
District Offices:
1. 750 B Street, Suite 1030 San Diego, CA 92101-8126
Phone: 619-231-9712 / Fax: 619-231-1108
2. 2500 Tulare Street, Suite 4-290 Fresno, CA 93721
Phone: 559-485-7430 / Fax: 559-485-9689
3. 1 Post Street, Suite 2450 San Francisco, CA 94104
Phone: 415-393-0707 / Fax: 415 249-4785
4. 11111 San Monica Boulevard, Suite 915 Los Angeles, CA 90025-3343
Phone: 310-914-7300 / Fax: 310-914-7318

Campaign Contact:

Webform Email: / Email:

Campaign Offices:

Phone: / Fax:

Zip Code Affiliations:

Date of Birth: June 22, 1933