Senator Dianne Feinstein has reportedly given power of attorney to her daughter, Katherine Feinstein.
The news comes amid concerns from progressives that the 90-year-old should step down.
The California senator’s 66-year-old daughter is said to now have control over her mother’s legal affairs so that she can deal with a lawsuit stemming from a dispute involving the estate of Feinstein’s late husband, Richard Blum. Feinstein’s office declined Newsweek’s request for comment and instead called the issue a private family matter.
“Katherine Feinstein has filed two lawsuits on her mother’s behalf in an effort to gain access to Blum’s estate,” reports the outlet. “One suit states that Senator Feinstein wishes to sell a beach house near San Francisco owned by Blum that is in disrepair.”
With power of attorney, the senator’s daughter would also be able to oversee a second lawsuit involving Blum’s life insurance which is being kept from dispersal by his trustees.
Feinstein has been in office for 30 years. She announced in February that she will retire at the end of her term in 2024. Prior to her time in the federal government, Feinstein was the mayor of San Francisco from November 1978 to January 1988.
“I campaigned in 2018 on several priorities for California and the nation: preventing and combating wildfires, mitigating the effects of record-setting drought, responding to the homelessness crisis, and ensuring all Americans have access to affordable, high-quality health care,” Feinstein said in a statement. “Congress has enacted legislation on all of these topics over the past several years, but more needs to be done — and I will continue these efforts.”
Her announcement brought into focus preexisting concerns about Feinstein’s mental well-being.
Reporters noticed the senator seemed confused when asked about her statement, with some noting the senator said “I haven’t made that decision. I haven’t released anything” before being corrected by a staffer.
Later in the day, Feinstein told a different reporter, “Oh, no, I’m not announcing anything. I will one day,” per Fox News.
Feinstein spent several weeks away from Washington DC while recovering from shingles earlier this year and asked Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer of New York to allow a temporary replacement to fill in for her on the Judiciary Committee. Senate Republicans objected to the request and her absence ultimately stalled confirmation hearing for multiple of President Joe Biden’s judicial nominees.
Several members of Feinstain’s own party have called for her resignation.
Congressman Ro Khanna of California, a fellow Democrat, tweeted in April that “we need to put the country ahead of personal loyalty.”
“While she has had a lifetime of public service, it is obvious she can no longer fulfill her duties. Not speaking out undermines our credibility as elected representatives of the people.”
A coalition of 60 liberal groups in California – including Activate America, Berkeley Now, Change begins with ME, Democracy Action Marin, Feminists in Action Los Angeles, and Generation Blue – sent Feinstein a letter asking her to step down.
The co-signers called her a “Senate icon” but stressed that her illness was a threat to her legacy.
“Your absences hobble the elected Democratic Senate majority from doing the work of the people of California and our nation,” the letter states. “Therefore, at this key moment and with great respect and affection, we ask that you resign from the Senate to focus on your health. Please allow Governor Newsom to appoint an interim Senator who can provide robust and constant representation for California through the election of 2024.”