After a months-long bout with shingles that kept her away from the Capitol, Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) is asking for greater control of the finances from her late husband’s trust to help pay off “significant” medical bills.
Attorneys for Feinstein and her daughter, Katherine Feinstein, argued in a Monday petition that the senator requested — and was denied — reimbursement from a marital trust established in 1996 by her husband, investor Richard Blum, who died last year. Feinstein is the “sole income beneficiary” of the trust, according to the filing.
“Despite the settlor’s intent to support his spouse after his death, the purported trustees have refused to make distributions to reimburse Senator Feinstein’s medical expenses,” the lawsuit reads.
The California Democrat and her daughter further claimed that the “purported trustees” were not named in the 1996 Marital Trust and weren’t appointed in compliance with its terms. They asked the court to allow Katherine Feinstein, Blum’s stepdaughter, to take over managing the fund.
Steven Braccini, an attorney for “purported trustees” Mark Klein and Marc Scholvinck, told The Associated Press that the trust has “never denied any disbursement to Sen. Feinstein, let alone for medical expenses.”
“My clients are perplexed by this filing,” Braccini said.
Feinstein’s shingles diagnosis during the February recess sidelined her from the Senate for more than two months.
She returned to Washington in May to questions about her fitness to serve, especially given Democrats’ narrow majority on the Senate Judiciary Committee and in the chamber as a whole.
Several House Democrats, including Rep. Ro Khanna (Calif.), called for her resignation as Democrats struggled to move judicial nominations through the Senate.
Her doctors have advised her to work a “lighter schedule” as she continues to recover from the virus and its complications.
Feinstein is not seeking reelection next year, and the Democratic primary for her seat is shaping up to be one of the most competitive of the cycle.