Dianne Goldman Berman Feinstein (born Dianne Emiel Goldman, June 22, 1933) is an American politician serving as the senior United States Senator from California, a seat she has held since 1992. A member of the Democratic Party, she previously was Mayor of San Francisco from 1978 to 1988. Feinstein's paternal grandparents were Jewish immigrants from Poland. Her maternal grandparents, the Rosenburg family, were from Saint Petersburg, Russia.
[In] 1984, Feinstein proposed banning handguns in San Francisco, and became subject to a recall attempt organized by the White Panther Party. She won the recall election and finished her second term as mayor on January 8, 1988.
In 1990, Feinstein made an unsuccessful bid for Governor of California. Although she won the Democratic Party's nomination for the office, she lost in the general election to Republican Senator Pete Wilson, who vacated his seat in the Senate to assume the governorship. In 1992, she was fined $190,000 for failure to properly report campaign contributions and expenditures associated with that campaign.
When Feinstein in 1990 first ran for statewide office, she favored capital punishment. By 2018, she opposed capital punishment.
On July 12, 2009, Feinstein stated her belief that Sonia Sotomayor was assured for confirmation by the U.S. Senate and praised her for her experience and overcoming "adversity and disadvantage".
In September 2016, Feinstein backed the Obama administration's plan to sell more than $1.15 billion worth of weapons to Saudi Arabia.
On May 12, 2011, Feinstein co-sponsored PIPA. In January 2012, Feinstein met with representatives of technology companies, including Google and Facebook. According to a spokesperson, Feinstein "is doing all she can to ensure that the bill is balanced and protects the intellectual property concerns of the content community without unfairly burdening legitimate businesses such as Internet search engines".
In November 2013, she promoted the FISA Improvements Act bill which included a "backdoor search provision" that allows intelligence agencies to continue certain warrantless searches as long as they are logged and "available for review" to various agencies.
After the 2016 FBI–Apple encryption dispute, Feinstein, along with Richard Burr, sponsored a bill that would be likely to criminalize all forms of strong encryption in electronic communication between citizens. The bill would require technology companies to design their encryption so that they can provide law enforcement with user data in an "intelligible format" when required to do so by court order.
Feinstein introduced the Federal Assault Weapons Ban, which became law in 1994 and expired in 2004. In January 2013, about one month after the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting, Feinstein, along with Representative Carolyn McCarthy from New York, proposed a bill that would "ban the sale, transfer, manufacturing or importation of 150 specific firearms including semiautomatic rifles or pistols that can be used with a detachable or fixed ammunition magazines that hold more than 10 rounds and have specific military-style features, including pistol grips, grenade launchers or rocket launchers". The bill would have exempted 900 models of guns used for sport and hunting.
In September 2017, after Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced the rescinding of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, Feinstein admitted the legality of the program was questionable while citing this as a reason for why a law should be passed. In January 2018, in her opening remarks to a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing, Feinstein said she was concerned there might be racial motivation in the choice by the Trump administration to terminate the temporary protected status, based on comments he made denigrating African countries as well as Haiti and El Salvador.
On June 7, 2017, Feinstein and Senator Bernie Sanders issued dual statements urging the Senate to forgo a vote for sanctions on Iran in response to the Tehran attacks that occurred earlier in the day.
Speaking on the Senate floor on December 9, 2014, Feinstein called the government's detention and interrogation program a "stain on our values and on our history", following the release of 600 pages declassified out of a 6000-page report about CIA methods.
On January 9, 2018, Feinstein caused a stir when she, as ranking member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, released a transcript of the committee's August 2017 interview with Fusion GPS co-founder Glenn Simpson about the dossier regarding connections between the president's campaign and the Russian government. She did this unilaterally after the committee's chairman, Chuck Grassley, refused to release the transcript of Simpson's testimony. She was derided by President Trump as "sneaky Dianne".
Feinstein was criticized in 2009 when she introduced a bill directing $25 billion to the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) the day after the agency awarded her husband's company a contract to sell foreclosed properties at compensation rates higher than the industry norms. Feinstein and her husband have been tied to questionable dealings between the world's largest commercial real estate firm and the U.S. Postal Service. Feinstein has also been accused of abusing her position to award her husband’s companies billions of dollars in military contracts.
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