Wednesday, April 18, 2007

FBI searches Rep. Doolittle's home in Virginia

Roll Call reports that the FBI has served a search warrant on the home of California Rep. John Doolittle.
April 18, 2007 4:45 PM
The FBI has raided the Northern Virginia home of Rep. John Doolittle (R-Calif.), according to Congressional sources. No details are publicly available yet about the circumstances of the raid, but Doolittle and his wife, Julie, have been under federal investigation for their ties to the scandal surrounding imprisoned former lobbyist Jack Abramoff.
Faster than I really expected.

As I noted Monday, Kevin Ring resigned Friday, April 13, 2007 without advance warning from his cushy lobbyist job. Ring had previously been a key staffer for Doolittle, and then after 2000 was the principle go-between between now convicted lobbyist Abramoff and Rep. Doolittle.

FBI searches of the home also preceded the arrest and conviction of Rep. Randy "Duke" Cunningham. Doolittle's connections to ex-Rep. Cunningham suggest that both were being bribed to provide well-paying government contracts to defense contractors. If true, we can probably expect to hear about those connections soon.

The Hill has a longer story on the FBI search of Doolittle's home. Here is an excerpt:
Doolittle also has been under fire for paying his wife’s company, Sierra Dominion Financial Solutions, a 15 percent commission on all contributions that the company raised for Doolittle’s campaign committee and leadership PAC. Her only other clients were Abramoff’s former firm, Greenberg Traurig; Abramoff’s former restaurant Signatures; and the Korea-U.S. Exchange Council, which Ed Buckham, a former chief of staff to ex-Majority Leader Tom DeLay (R-Texas), created.

The Justice Department previously subpoenaed Julie Doolittle’s files.

Doolittle also received contributions from indicted defense contractor Brent Wilkes and his associates, and investigators are probing whether those contributions are linked to any official action Doolittle took to help Wilkes’ company obtain millions of dollars in government earmarks.

Wilkes recently was indicted in connection with his investigation stemming from former Rep. Randy “Duke” Cunningham’s (R-Calif.) bribery conviction and jailing.
Who knows? Maybe the FBI has even linked Tom DeLay into this web. Though I suspect that Rep. Jerry Lewis is more likely.

The connections? Cunningham, Lewis and Doolittle all had positions on the House appropriations Committee and all had associations with Jack Abramoff and Brent Wilkes. Tom DeLay had two of his staffers go to work for Jack Abramoff and operated the K-Street Project to get Republicans to work for lobbyists while getting lobbyists to contribute the the reelection of Republicans.

This will be interesting. Oh, and fun for Democrats.

[h/t to TPM Muckraker.]

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