Feinstein's husband named in audit of preferred admission for connected students at Calif. schools

The audit found that students connected to major donors and individuals of influence routinely gained admission over more qualified peers

Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-Ca.)
Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-Ca.)
(Alex Wong / Getty Images)
Updated: September 25, 2020 - 8:41am

The husband of California Sen. Dianne Feinstein has been linked to an audit by the University of California admissions system that found wealthy and connected high school students were given significant preference over more academically qualified students. 

The audit, which was released earlier this week, determined that from 2013 to 2019, 64 high school students with connections to major university donors, leaders or other individuals with influence were admitted to four of California's top public universities, beating out peers with superior academic and athletic records.

In one case, which the audit identified as "particularly problematic," a university regent, Feinstein's husband, Richard Blum, sent a letter of support on behalf of a student on the waitlist.

In addition to the student having just a 26% chance of gaining admission based on the submitted application, Blum's effort violates policy on regents sending letters of recommendation on behalf of prospective students.

Blum told the San Francisco Chronicle that "no one" had ever told him the practice of recommendation letters "was wrong." 

"My cousin's brother wanted to get into [UC] Davis. They'd send me a letter and tell my why it's a good kid, and I'll send it on to the chancellor. Been doing it forever," said Blum. 

The audit also found that 22 students, in the reviewed cases, has been admitted to California's public universities as athletes "even though they possessed little athletic talent." 

The investigation comes about a year and a half after the a scandal broke that wealthy parents across the country were bribing college athletic departments and admissions offices to gain spots for their children at elite institutions including the University of Southern California. 

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