Dianne Feinstein's husband admits to role in alleged UC admissions scandal
Feinstein’s husband Richard Blum wrote countless letters to help wealthy and connected students get into UC-Berkeley.
UC Berkeley called the findings “unacceptable.”
Blum maintains he did nothing wrong, and that he has been doing it for years.
California state auditors named Richard Blum, Sen. Dianne Feinstein’s (D-Calif.) husband, as a key figure in a recent report that uncovered questionable practices within the University of California's admissions process.
The report, released by California State Auditor Elaine M. Howle, revealed that 42 University of California-Berkeley students were admitted as a result of their financial status and political connections. In the document, Howle detailed that a member of the University Board of Regents helped wealthy students get accepted into the University of California system, over more qualified candidates.
A spokesman for the California state auditor's office told The Washington Post that the UC Regent referenced in the report is Blum.
The report states that in one case, this individual sent an “inappropriate letter of support” to the Berkeley chancellor in favor of an applicant with only a 26 percent chance of being accepted from the waiting list. The action strictly violated the school’s rule against regents attempting to influence decisions by not following typical protocols, according to the Associated Press.
This comes a year and a half after the news broke that dozens of parents paid to get their children into top schools, including USC, Stanford, and Georgetown. Celebrities like Felicity Huffman and Lori Loughlin were charged, resulting in jail time and hefty fines.
Blum is the founder and chairman of Blum Capital and a graduate of Berkeley, having received both his undergraduate degree and MBA from the school. He was the Chairman of the University of California Board of Regents, before serving as a Regent.
When speaking to The San Francisco Chronicle Thursday, Blum was unapologetic for his actions.
“I did it a bunch of times,” Blum told the outlet. “Usually [for] friends. My cousin’s brother wanted to get into Davis. They’d send me a letter and tell me why it’s a good kid, and I’ll send it on to the chancellor. Been doing it forever.”
In light of the news, UC-Berkeley released a statement, vowing to investigate the matter further and ensure a more honest admissions process in the future, calling the allegations “unacceptable” if true.
“While we know that there is always room for improvement — and that any policy depends on individuals acting with integrity — we have confidence that our current admissions policies and protocols are sound,” the statement read. “We remain committed to continuing to refine our processes to protect the sanctity of our admissions process.”
This is not the first time Feinstein and her husband have been at the center of controversy.
For years, Feinstein has faced criticism for encouraging trade relations between China and the U.S. while her husband invested millions into companies conducting business with Chinese businesses. The two were also condemned for Blum’s large stake in contractor Tutor Perini, a corporation that received hundreds of millions of dollars for defense work in Iraq and Afghanistan, while the U.S. was involved in conflicts in both countries.
Feinstein’s office has not publicly commented on the matter.
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