Jet-set Dianne Feinstein gave colleagues a Christmas Eve lift
By Paul Kane
Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) is the Senate's ultimate car pooler.
When two of her colleagues were having trouble finding flights home for the holidays, Feinstein gave them last-minute lifts to the West Coast on her family's private jet.
According to congressional financial disclosure forms released Wednesday, Feinstein gave Senate Majority Leader Harry M. Reid (D-Nev.) and Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.) rides on her husband's jet back to San Francisco on Christmas Eve 2009 -- just hours after the trio had cast key votes in favor of President Obama's health-care legislation.
Boxer and Reid accepted the rides as gifts, according to the disclosure forms, which were valued by each at $3,625.
The Feinstein helping hand came at the end of an unusually intense period of legislative action. Christmas Eve marked the 25th straight day the Senate had been in session in a furious push by Reid to pass a health-care bill before Christmas Day. Some lawmakers hadn't seen their families since Thanksgiving weekend, and a blizzard had pummeled the District a few days earlier, making flight arrangements even more difficult.
Enter Feinstein and her jet, which was purchased by her husband, investor Richard Blum.
Because the travel involved was not political, it was approved under the chamber's new rules that forbid corporate-financed travel for political purposes. (All three parties are intimately familiar with the rules:As the rules committee chairman in 2007, Feinstein helped write the new ethics laws, while Boxer oversees the rules as ethics chairman. Reid served as the main promoter of implementing the new rules.)
After casting their votes for the health-care bill -- part of the 60-39 vote early on the morning of Christmas Eve -- the three senators flew into San Francisco, near where Feinstein and Boxer both have homes.
But Reid still had to take a circuitous route back to his family in Nevada.
"Because of the bad weather, the holidays and various flight delays, Senator Reid opted to fly to San Francisco with them. He then took a flight to Reno to be with Mrs. Reid and their son's family for Christmas," Reid spokesman Jim Manley said Wednesday.
The majority leader was home in time to celebrate the holidays with his family.
June 16, 2010; 2:19 PM ET
Categories: 2010 Election , 44 The Obama Presidency , 50 States , Capitol Briefing , Cast of Characters
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