A blog on progressive news and politics on both the California and Nevada sides of Lake Tahoe which aims at helping to elect Democrats and Turn Tahoe Blue. The blog is written from Germany by a former German exchange student at George Whittell High School in Zephyr Cove, Nevada.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

CREW: Doolittle Among 20 Most Corrupt In Congress

The watch-dog group Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) today released its list of the 20 most corrupt members of Congress. 17 Republicans and 3 Democrats made this unhonorable list and Tahoe's own Representative John Doolittle features prominently.

Here's the summary of the report on Doolittle:

John Doolittle is an eighth-term Member of Congress representing the 4th congressional district of California. His ethics issues stem from his wife’s relationship to his campaign and political action committees, as well as campaign contributions and personal financial benefits he accepted from those who sought his legislative assistance.

Julie Doolittle

Rep. Doolittle’s wife Julie is the owner and president of Sierra Dominion Financial Solutions, a fundraising company retained by Rep. Doolittle’s campaign committee and his Superior California Leadership PAC. Ms. Doolittle has received at least $215,000 from Rep. Doolittle’s campaign committees since 2001, and has taken in nearly $100,000 for the 2006 campaign alone. Notably, the Association of Fundraising Professionals sent a letter to Rep. Doolittle stating that its long-standing ethics code, “explicitly prohibits percentage-based compensation” and urged the campaign to cease this practice with Sierra Dominion Financial Solutions.

Ms. Doolittle’s payments by her husband’s campaign appear to violate federal campaign finance laws and House rules, which prohibit converting campaign funds to personal use. By using his position as a member of Congress to financially benefit his wife, Rep. Doolittle may be depriving his constituents of his honest services, using his position for personal gain, and engaging in conduct that does not reflect creditably on the House.

Ties to Jack Abramoff

In 1999, Rep. Doolittle also assisted Jack Abramoff in securing a lucrative lobbying contract with the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, helped Mr. Abramoff stave off legislation protecting workers in the CNMI and wrote letters on behalf of some of Mr. Abramoff’s tribal casinos. In return, Rep. Doolittle, an alleged gambling foe, has received $130,000 from gambling tribes with ties to Mr. Abramoff. If Rep. Doolittle has received contributions from Mr. Abramoff in return for legislative assistance he may have violated prohibitions against bribery, honest services fraud and House rules.

You can read the entire report (pdf) here.

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