So do we have a preview now of where the investigation into House Appropriations Chairman Jerry Lewis (R-CA) is going?
As we've discussed before, Lewis and at least two of his former staffers -- Jeffrey Shockey
and Letitia White -- are now targets of the expanded Cunningham investigation. The investigation appears to center on Lewis and the two staffers' interconnected ties to the lobby shop of Copeland Lowery. Lewis has longstanding ties to Copeland Lowery honcho, Bill Lowery, as Copley's Jerry Kammer explained
last December. Shockey and White left Lewis' employ to go to work for Copeland Lowery. White, you'll remember, among other things, bought the Capitol Hill house with one of the big earmark cronies and then rented the House to the PAC she set up, which is run by Lewis' step-daughter
Anyway, it's a complicated world in Lewisland. But bear with me.
This isn't an investigation into Lewis' various staffers. This is an investigation of Lewis. The probes into the staffers are means to that end. And given the nature of these investigations, where alleged criminal acts are extremely difficult to prove without a cooperating witness, they need someone to flip on Lewis.
And here's where the significance of yesterday's story
by Justin Rood comes in. As Justin and the TPMmuckraker staff showed by analyzing Copeland Lowery's flurry of lobby fee restatements earlier this year, the folks at Copeland appear to be in serious legal jeopardy.
In the Abramoff case, prosecutors have been rolling up cooperating witnesses by charging with statutes that are seldom enforced. But legal experts told us that given the systematic nature of the failure to report lobbying work that shows up in the Copeland papers, prosecution seems likely even setting aside the desire to get folks to flip on higher-ups. And Lowery, Shockey and White are each on the line for those failures to report.
So Copeland Lowery's problems are Jerry Lewis' problems. And Copeland Lowery has a lot of problems.