OCTOBER 12, 2007
A grand jury has subpoenaed a congressional aide in the corruption investigation of the top Republican on the powerful House Appropriations Committee, California Representative Jerry Lewis.
A well-connected 15-term U.S. Congressman, Lewis has been under federal investigation for nearly a year and he has spent close to $1 million on top criminal attorneys while refusing to publicly deny the serious corruption allegations.
The veteran lawmaker is suspected of steering hundreds of millions of dollars in federal earmarks to family and friends in exchange for contributions to his campaign and political action committees. Now federal authorities are probing the connection between Lewis and a former congressman turned lobbyist who personally donated hefty sums to Lewis and got wealthy clients to do the same.
In return, the lobbyistâ??s (Bill Lowery) clients received federal tax dollars in the form of earmarks approved by the House Appropriations Committee, which Lewis chaired until Republicans lost control of Congress last year. He still maintains quite a bit of power as the highest ranking Republican on the committee.
If Lewis exchanged legislative favors for campaign cash, he will be charged with bribery and honest services fraud. One group that closely tracks crooked politicians has extensive documentation of Lewisâ??s misdeeds over the years and concludes that he is among the nationâ??s most corrupt members of Congress.
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