APRIL 19, 2007
The FBI raided the home of a California congressman with close ties to convicted lobbyist Jack Abramoff on the same day the veteran lawmaker’s former top aide abruptly resigned from a prestigious law firm.
The search of Republican John Doolittle’s Virginia home indicates that the longtime Northern California legislator could very well represent the next conviction in the ongoing congressional corruption investigation involving the Abramoff scandal.
So far nine people have been convicted in the mega corruption and bribery scheme and federal authorities continue to investigate several well-known politicians – including Doolittle and Montana Senator Conrad Burns – for their shady dealings with Abramoff and his wealthy clients. The last big name to fall was Ohio Rep. Bob Ney who pleaded guilty to taking bribes and is currently in prison.
Doolittle, a close friend of Abramoff’s, accepted $14,000 in direct campaign contributions from the convicted lobbyist and $130,000 more from his clients and associates. Additionally, Abramoff paid a consulting company owned by Doolittle’s wife more than $66,000 and records relating to that questionable deal have been subpoenaed by a federal grand jury.
Last year Abramoff pleaded guilty to conspiracy, mail fraud and other charges after admitting that he bilked wealthy Indian tribe clients out of tens of millions of dollars with promises to influence decisions coming out of Congress and the Interior Department. In his plea agreement he admitted bribing legislators in exchange for their acts of influence on behalf of his clients.
In 2000 Abramoff hired Kevin Ring, one of Doolittle’s top aides and the man who abruptly quit his law firm job this week. Ring served as an intermediary between Abramoff clients and his former boss on Capitol Hill. Many are speculating that Ring will follow the path of other congressional aides who have pleaded guilty to lesser charges in the Abramoff scandal in exchange for delivering their former bosses to prosecutors.
If that is the case, Doolittle will undoubtedly be in trouble. Information on his questionable actions during his nine years in the House of Representatives are available on a web site called Dump Doolittle which has tracked his storied career and features links to media coverage of his wrongdoings.
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