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Congress' Latest Porkmeistress

In 2002, the Veterans Administration started reviewing its properties to see where money could be saved and facilities improved.

Enter Sen. Diane Feinstein (D-California). Citizens Against Government Waste has named her September 2007’s Porker of the Month, a dubious honor for those grandees showing a “blatant disregard for the interests of taxpayers.” She received the monthly award:

“for a provision inserted into the 2008 Military Construction and Veterans Affairs Act that would obstruct the Department of Veterans Affairs’ (VA) attempt to improve the West Los Angeles VA Medical Center.”

CAGW went on to explain:

“Sen. Feinstein would prohibit enhanced use leases on the West LA property as well as outlaw any sale of the land for private use.  The VA is not planning on selling any of the land; however, it would like to enter into more enhanced use leases to stop wasting money on maintaining vacant and underused buildings.  The VA is already engaged in contracts with UCLA, a Hollywood production company, a rental car company, and a theater.  These agreements bring revenue to the VA through rent, save the VA money on maintaining excess buildings, and often provide discounts and services to veterans.  Current leases bring in about $5 million a year.”

According to CAGW:

“Critics have speculated that Sen. Feinstein is going to bat for wealthy constituents concerned that development on the land would ruin the views from their homes and hurt property values.  The VA center is surrounded by the ritzy towns of Beverly Hills, Brentwood, and Bel-Air, home to many celebrities and country clubs.”

Ah yes, taking care of those who take care of you.


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