Veteran California Senator Dianne Feinstein (D), who is 90 years old, is under increasing pressure to resign from office amid growing controversy surrounding her decision to grant power of attorney to her only daughter, Katherine Feinstein.
The San Francisco Chronicle initially reported this development last month, spotlighting the ensuing discord between Katherine Feinstein and her three step-siblings, children of Senator Feinstein’s late husband Richard Blum.
A key issue causing strife is Sen. Feinstein’s wish to sell a beach house located in San Francisco, a matter which has resulted in legal disputes. Additionally, the parties are clashing over finances linked to Richard Blum’s life insurance policy. Both lawsuits have been filed by Katherine Feinstein, wielding her mother’s power of attorney.
Critics have cited this turmoil and instances of the senator’s failing health as significant reasons for her to step down. Earlier in the year, Feinstein was temporarily absent from Senate activities due to a bout of shingles. This health concern resulted in a disruption to the Democratic Party’s attempts to confirm some of President Joe Biden’s judicial nominees lacking Republican support.
Upon her return, Feinstein seemed to display memory lapses, including not recalling her absence, as reported by Slate. In addition, there have been moments where she appeared to not understand basic questions from reporters. During a recent Senate Appropriations Committee vote, fellow Democratic Sen. Patty Murray (D-WA), had to guide Feinstein on how to vote on a bill.
The first lawsuit, filed by Katherine Feinstein, alleges the beach house is in a deteriorating state. She further accuses Richard Blum’s children of restricting Senator Feinstein’s ability to liquidate parts of her trust.
The second lawsuit addresses the senator’s significant medical expenses, claiming the trustees of Mr. Blum’s estate have refused to cover these costs despite his intention to financially support his spouse posthumously. This claim is contested by the lawyers of Blum’s private equity firm, who dispute any refusal to pay for Feinstein’s medical expenses.
Controversially, a statement released by those involved with Blum’s estate states that Katherine Feinstein has not provided necessary documentation proving her appointment as power of attorney. The statement also queried why a currently serving United States senator would necessitate a power of attorney.