The perfect lobbyists?
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The lobbying firm at the center of the federal investigation into Rep. Jerry Lewis (R-CA) had an astonishing record of success in delivering federal money to its clients. One client actually received nearly a hundred-fold return on the fees they paid the firm, ultimately winning more than $67 million in federal dollars over the past seven years.
What's more, the firm brought home the money by landing nearly every single earmark they requested -- at or near the amount of money they asked for. Such success, experts say, is virtually unprecedented.
While the firm finds itself under Justice Department scrutiny, our review of documents relating to its work for the client, Cal State University-San Bernardino (CSU-SB), turned up no evidence of illegal activity. Only the work of lobbyists who were diligent, experienced -- and, apparently, very lucky.
Of course, boosting that luck may be the longtime friendship which the firm's lead partner, Bill Lowery, shares with Rep. Jerry Lewis (R-CA), who oversaw all defense spending from his perch atop the powerful House Appropriations Committee. Two of Lewis' closest aides -- Jeffrey Shockey and Letitia White -- worked for the firm during this period of tremendous success.
Documents released to investigators by CSU-SB show that since 1999, the Copeland Lowery firm won at least 21 earmarks for the school, mostly from the Pentagon's budget.
"Itâs like an ATM," said Keith Ashdown of Taxpayers for Common Sense, who said he was "shocked" by how effective the firm was. "You put money in, you get a lot more out," he said.