Dianne Feinstein faces fresh pressure to step down as she passes power of attorney to daughter

California senator continues to face questions about her age

Eric Garcia
Monday 07 August 2023 18:38 BST
Feinstein corrected, told to 'just say aye' at Senate hearing

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Sen Feinstein (D-CA), the oldest senator currently serving, is facing fresh calls to resign amid news that she handed power of attorney over to her daughter.

The San Francisco Chronicle first reported last month that the senior senator had handed over power of attorney.

The longtime senator from California’s only daughter Katherine Feinstein is engaged in a feud with the three children of Ms Feinstein’s late husband Richard Blum, who died last year, The New York Times reported.

In one lawsuit, they two are debating Ms Feinstein’s desire to sell a beach house in a neighbourhood in San Francisco, and in another, they are arguing about money from Mr Blum’s life insurance.

A number of commentators renewed calls for Ms Feinstein to step down after the latest revelation.

Earlier this year, Ms Feinstein was sidelined from Senate activities as she recovered from shingles. As a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, it put a halt to Democrats’ attempts to confirm some of President Joe Biden’s judicial nominees who lacked Republican support.

When she returned to the Senate, she seemed to not recall her absence, according to a conversation with Slate. She has at times not understood basic questions from reporters. During a vote in the Senate Appropriations Committee last week, Sen Pattty Murray (D-WA) told her to “Just say aye” when she supported a bill.

Katherine Feinstein, who has power of attorney, filed the two lawsuits on her mother’s behalf, arguing the beach house is in a disheveled state and accused Mr Blum’s children of limiting the senator’s ability to sell off parts of her trust.

The second lawsuit says that the senator “incurred significant medical expenses” and despite her late husband’s “intent to support his spouse after his death, the purported trustees have refused to make distributions to reimburse Senator Feinstein’s medical expenses.”

The suit challenges whether trustees to Mr Blum’s estate were properly appointed. The attorneys for Mr Blum’s private equity firm disputed the claims, saying it never denied payment for medical expenses.

Similarly, a statement said that Katherine Feinstein had not provided documentation that she had been appointed power of attorney. “Nor has Katherine made it clear, either in this filing or directly to my clients, why a sitting United States senator would require someone to have power of attorney over her,” they said.

This article was amended on 7 August 2023 to attribute the reporting of the latest line to the San Francisco Chronicle, and not the New York Times as was originally the case.

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