Did Rep. John Doolittle (R-CA) lawyer up as a result of the spreading Abramoff scandal?
Just three weeks after fallen superlobbyist Jack Abramoff agreed to cooperate with prosecutors, Doolittle's 2006 campaign committee cut a $10,000 payment for "legal fees" to the firm of Williams Mullen, government records show.
There were no other payments to the firm in the months before or after that check was cut, according to reports filed with the Federal Elections Commission.
We can't determine conclusively what the check was for -- neither the campaign nor the firm will return phone calls. But we can rule out some possibilities. It doesn't seem to be for Doolittle's traditional campaign law counsel; for that, the campaign appears to pay the firm Wiley Rein & Fielding roughly $1,000 a month.
Nor is it for providing a treasurer for his campaign; records show that role is filled by David Bauer, who is not listed among Williams Mullen's attorneys.
Since Abramoff became the target of government and media investigations, Doolittle's name has repeatedly surfaced as one of the lawmakers likely to face legal problems as a result of their dealings with Abramoff. He took over $140,000 from Jack, his associates and his clients; he held fundraisers in Jack's skybox and restaurant, but sometimes failed to report them; he took repeated actions on behalf of Abramoff's clients; and his wife took money from two Abramoff-connected operations.