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Feinstein Faces Scrutiny Over Husband's Biotech Stock Transactions Amid COVID-19 Market Freefall

SAN FRANCISCO (KPIX 5) -- In the wake of the stock market collapse spurred by the economic impact of the COVID-19 crisis, U.S. Senator Dianne Feinstein has had to answer questions about stock trades involving her husband just prior to the market tanking.

A spokesman for Senator Feinstein informed KPIX 5 that in April, she voluntarily spoke with law enforcement about her investment banker husband's stock trades, as well as providing additional documents.

Word of the scrutiny surfaces as North Carolina Senator Richard Burr stepped down as the chairman of the Senate's Intelligence Committee amid an FBI investigation into his stock trades.

Feinstein has served on the Senate's Intelligence Committee since 2001.

Stock trades her husband made earlier this year came under scrutiny last month.

"It turns out her husband Richard Blum did sell biotech stock right when word about the coronavirus was starting to peak," said Marc Sandalow, who teaches media and politics at the University of California in Washington. "And Dianne Feinstein, as a senator, certainly had some information the rest of the country didn't. So the question is, did Feinstein tip her husband into making this stock transaction?"

Through her spokesperson, the Senator disclosed that she "answered some basic questions by law enforcement about her husband's stock transactions" and "provided additional documents to show she has no involvement" in them.

"Richard Blum has done very well financially thanks to his wife's very successful political career. And that dates all the way back to the 1970s when she was mayor of San Francisco. But that doesn't mean anything illegal was done or corrupt was done," explained Sandalow.

He says for 40 years, reporters have investigated the couple, to see if there was any corruption.

"They never found anything," said Sandalow.

The stocks in question involved a California biotech company that pioneered cancer therapies.

Feinstein's husband sold millions of dollars of its stock twice before the market crashed.

The transaction might have received scrutiny if he hadn't sold.

"Had he kept his money in that stock, he'd be maybe a million dollars richer today. The stock has gone up, up, up," said Sandalow.

Senator Feinstein denies she's done anything improper. Her spokesperson told KPIX 5 that she has kept her assets in a blind trust ever since coming to Washington. She was elected in 2009.

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