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Feinstein's Daughter Assumes Power of Attorney

Barring the unexpected passing of Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), this was bound to happen sooner or later, and now it has. Katherine Feinstein, the Senator's daughter, has been given power of attorney over her mother's affairs. This gives Katherine the authority to handle legal and financial matters on Dianne's behalf.

We pass this news along for the obvious reason, namely that it's a meaningful step on the path to the Senator throwing in the towel. That could mean that she herself realizes that she's not... well, herself, and so chooses to resign. Or, it could mean that a court might examine the weight of the evidence, decide the elder Feinstein is no longer competent, and grant a conservatorship to the younger Feinstein. No senator has ever had a conservator resign on their behalf, so it would be somewhat uncharted legal territory. That said, conservators often do things like resign a seat on a corporate board on the part of their conservatee, so it's surely acceptable.

All of this said, while the Senator is potentially a little closer to exiting, stage right, she's not that much closer. The primary reason that power of attorney was given to Katherine is that there is an ugly dispute going on right now between the Feinsteins and the Blums—the three adult daughters of Dianne Feinstein's recently-deceased husband, Richard Blum. Even if the Senator was 100%, she might need someone to handle the various legal matters on her behalf. It's still a pretty big leap from this to Feinstein concluding that "I can't handle much of anything," or a court decreeing the same.

It's also worth noting that while the Senator clearly has moments where she's not lucid, she does do what she's told when a colleague tells her "Just say 'Aye.'" That has happened at least twice... in the last week. It's not an ideal arrangement, but since Feinstein's voting record and political stances are well known, it's not quite the crime against her right of self-determination as it would be if, say, Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-KY) was maneuvered into voting for the Democratic Party line. (Z)

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