- The Washington Times - Tuesday, April 21, 2009

WASHINGTON (AP) - Sen. Dianne Feinstein offered to help secure federal funds for the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. just days before the agency awarded a contract to her husband’s company in the housing foreclosure crisis.

On Oct. 30, Feinstein expressed backing for FDIC Chairwoman Sheila Bair’s proposal to stem home foreclosures through the use of federal bailout funds for the agency.

Days later, the career staff at the FDIC awarded an unrelated, competitively bid, contract to CB Richard Ellis Group, a commercial real estate services company where Feinstein’s husband, Richard Blum, is board chairman.

Blum’s firm is selling foreclosed properties that are held by the FDIC.

Feinstein’s office said Tuesday the senator was unaware that her husband’s company had received an FDIC contract until The Washington Times inquired about it on Jan. 21.

The Times first reported the story on Tuesday, and Bair learned of the contract by reading about it in the newspaper, the FDIC said in a statement. A CBRE spokesman said Blum didn’t know of the pending contract until after the award of the contract was publicly announced Nov. 26.

The decision on the contract was made by a team of FDIC permanent staff and no one outside of the group was aware that CBRE was under consideration, the FDIC’s statement said.

At no time was Blum involved in the FDIC bid process, nor did he even know that CB Richard Ellis was competing until after the contract award announcement, the firm said in a statement.

Blum, who is CBRE’s non-executive board chairman, does not participate in the firm’s day-to-day activities and he has no operational role, the company added.

Bair was unable to get the Treasury Department to adopt her foreclosure relief proposal.

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