Nancy Pelosi’s Daughter Caring for Sen. Feinstein Raises Questions About Schiff Campaign


OPINION: This article may contain commentary which reflects the author's opinion.

Nancy Pelosi’s daughter, Nancy Corrine Prowda, has become the primary caretaker of ailing Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), leading some to question whether the former House speaker is working behind the scenes to help Rep. Adam Schiff as he campaigns for Feinstein’s seat as she prepares to retire next year.

According to a report, some suspect that Pelosi is using her daughter to help keep Feinstein in the Senate as a means of assisting Schiff’s campaign.

After a months-long absence, reportedly due to a serious case of shingles, the 89-year-old Feinstein looked frail, gaunt, and feeble as she weakly acknowledged her well-wishers and her surroundings when she returned to the chamber last week in a wheelchair.

According to reports, as bad as Feinstein looked upon her return — the left side of her face appearing frozen with one eye almost shut —, the truth is she was worse off than previously disclosed.

The New York Times reported that Feinstein’s fragile appearance could be attributed to various complications that arose after her hospitalization for shingles in February, some of which had not been publicly disclosed. The shingles infection extended to her face and neck, resulting in vision and balance impairments, as well as facial paralysis known as Ramsay Hunt syndrome.


Additionally, the virus led to a previously undisclosed case of encephalitis, a rare but potentially debilitating complication of shingles. A spokesman confirmed on Thursday, following the initial report by The New York Times, that the encephalitis condition had “resolved itself” in March.

Post-shingles encephalitis, marked by brain inflammation, can result in persistent challenges for patients, including memory or language impairments, sleep disorders, confusion, mood disorders, headaches, and difficulties with mobility. Older individuals typically face more significant obstacles in their recovery.


Since her return to D.C., Feinstein has been accompanied by Prowda, with Politico quoting “people familiar with the arrangement” who said, “it’s only the most visible part of a quiet but critical role the Pelosi family has played in helping to take care of the ailing senator, both in Washington and San Francisco.”

That said, as Politico’s Rachael Bade reported further, the arrangement “has also raised uncomfortable questions about whether Nancy Pelosi’s political interests are in conflict with Feinstein’s personal interests. The intrigue surrounds the future of Feinstein’s seat.”

Pelosi endorsed fellow California Democrat Schiff shortly after he filed to run for Feinstein’s seat. However, if the long-serving senator becomes incapacitated or dies before the end of her term next year, Democratic California Gov. Gavin Newsom has vowed to appoint a black woman to her seat. And conveniently, Rep. Barbara Lee is one of the Democrats running against Schiff for the seat.

“If DiFi resigns right now, there is an enormous probability that Barbara Lee gets appointed — thus, it makes it harder for Schiff,” one Pelosi family confidant told Politico, who went on to say that the relationship between Pelosi, her daughter, and the senator is “being kept under wraps and very, very closely held.”

Prior to her recent illness, Feinstein had already experienced notable memory issues, leading to concerns about her cognitive abilities, the Times noted further:

The grim tableau of her re-emergence on Capitol Hill laid bare a bleak reality known to virtually everyone who has come into contact with her in recent days: She was far from ready to return to work when she did, and she is now struggling to function in a job that demands long days, near-constant engagement on an array of crucial policy issues and high-stakes decision-making.

Feinstein’s office declined to respond to specifics regarding Feinstein’s condition in the Times’ article except to say that the long-serving Democratic senator continues to deal with the after-effects of Ramsay Hunt Syndrome.

Test your skills with this Quiz!