On February 22, footage of Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) lecturing pleading children about her opposition to Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Ed Markey’s Green New Deal resolution went viral. Several media commentators on both sides of the debate cast the video of the 85-year-old senator dressing down the children as a case of generational conflict.
But the episode was also a reminder of the peril of wealth inequality in politics, with Feinstein, one of the very wealthiest members of Congress, having a personal financial stake in industries whose bottom lines would be threatened by the measures in the Green New Deal resolution.
Feinstein, whose net worth stands at $58.5 million, has been married for nearly 40 years to Richard C. Blum, a wealthy investor who still runs the private equity firm he founded in 1975, Richard C. Blum & Associates, Inc. According to Feinstein’s most recent financial annual report, filed in May 2018 and covering the 2017 calendar year, Blum owns 100 percent of Yosemite Investments LLC, through which he has hundreds of thousands of dollars invested in several fossil fuel companies, some of which he has sold off since the Green New Deal began gaining increasing national attention.
According to an amendment filed in January, Blum in August 2017 invested more than $1 million in the Osterweis Strategic Income Fund, a mutual fund run by investment firm Osterweis Capital Management. Among Osterweis’s top ten holdings are logistics firm XPO, a subsidiary of methanol producer Consolidated Energy Limited, a subsidiary of commercial aircraft leaser Avation PLC, and mining company Teck Resources, which holds interests in a number of different oil sands projects across the border in Canada, including the controversial Frontier project.