Sunday, March 19, 2006

Doolittle And Earn Big Bucks

Rep. John Doolittle (R-CA) appears to be the next congressman in line to earn an indictment for political corruption according to TPM Muckracker. Rep. John Doolittle's wife, Julie, shows us all how to "doolittle" and earn big bucks.

The congressman had his wife to set up a phony fundraising consulting firm, Sierra Dominion Financial Solutions. Of course, two of her clients were her husband's own political action committees. Ms. Doolittle earned a 15% commission for every dollar raised by her husband's political action committees, even if he made the fundraising calls himself, as long as she furnished him with the list of names to call. Since 2001, Ms. Doolittle has made $180,000 in commissions.

According to TPM Muckraker, Rep. Doolittle insists that he is not his wife's major client. He will not, however, identity who her other clients are. TPM Muckraker has been able to identify some of her clients, and they are the usual suspects. A restaurant and charity owned by disgraced lobbyist Jack Abramoff are a couple of her clients. Another client is a business connected to Ed Buckham, another D.C. lobbyist who is also in hot water for questionable lobbying activities, and who is tied to Abramoff and Rep. Tom DeLay.

So now we have another suggestion for congressional lobbying reform:

All immediate family members of a Member of Congress shall be barred from accepting compensation in any form for services performed for any of the following: the member's campaign committee; any political action committee established by the member; any nonprofit organization established by the member; any business in which a controlling interest is owned by a person registered to lobby Congress; or any nonprofit organization in which a person registered to lobby Congress serves as an officer or key employee.

As for the new lobbying reforms already under consideration by Congress, lobbyists tell the Washington Post they don't pose a problem. The Post writes today, "Some of Washington's top lobbyists say that they expect to find ways around congressional efforts to impose new restrictions on lobbyists' dealings with lawmakers in the wake of the Jack Abramoff corruption scandal, and that any limits will barely put a dent in the billions of dollars spent to influence legislation." Isn't that comforting?

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