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U.S. SENATE : Huffington Ad Cites Parts of News Story in Assailing Foe


A full-page ad placed in today's editions of the Los Angeles Times by Republican Mike Huffington's Senate campaign quotes passages and cites information from a Times story about Sen. Dianne Feinstein's handling of potential conflicts related to her personal and political finances.

The political advertisement quotes or makes reference to several paragraphs of the nearly 3,000-word Times story that ran Oct. 28. But some of the quotes and references in the ad are incomplete, and, in one case, it does not cite other facts in the story indicating that Feinstein's actions did not violate any rules.

Citing the story, the ad points out that two longtime clients and friends of Feinstein's husband, merchant banker Richard C. Blum, have connections to a San Francisco firm, Catellus Corp. The ad says Feinstein's original Desert Protection Act would have given Catellus special allowances to swap its 366,000 acres of desert land for other government surplus property.

What the ad does not say is that after Republicans objected to the Catellus provision, the Senate Natural Resources committee pulled it from the bill. The measure, without the Catellus provision, was later signed into law.

Huffington's campaign has already cited the Catellus matter in television commercials as an example of Feinstein's going to bat for special interests. Feinstein said she took the provision directly from the House of Representatives' version of the legislation and did not support it, although the provision stayed in the bill through more than 50 revisions she made.

The ad also quotes The Times' passage that on May 25, "in a speech delivered on the Senate floor, Feinstein urges Clinton to increase favorable trade relations with China at the same time Blum is planning to invest up to $150 million there. . . ." The ad does not include the five words at the end of the sentence, "on behalf of several clients." Blum has said he would put $2 million to $5 million of his own money into the investment.

Similarly, the ad quotes the story as saying "(Feinstein) voted for appropriations bills that provided more than $100 million a year in federal funds to three companies in which her husband is a substantial investor."

The story also noted that under Senate rules, Feinstein may vote on bills that affect her husband's finances so long as the legislation is not designed to specifically benefit Blum or his investments.

The ad did not mention that in some cases Feinstein has taken actions that adversely affected her husband's myriad investments in everything from cable television and an airline to container products.

Feinstein has released the couple's tax returns back to their 1980 marriage, and has challenged Huffington to do the same. Blum released his client list in 1990 but has declined to release his corporate returns until Huffington makes his tax records available.

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