Sen. Conrad Burns (R-MT) has spent at least $91,500 in campaign funds on a white collar defense lawyer this year.
Last November, both The Wall Street Journal
and The New York Times
reported that Burns is on the short list for Abramoff investigators. Burns finally hired defense attorney Ralph Caccia of Powell Goldstein in April of this year. At the time, Burns' spokesman said that Caccia had been retained to "[help] review all the facts in this matter."
The review must be continuing, as Burns' recent FEC disclosure shows a $27,460 payment to Caccia's firm in September. Together with the $64,000 that Burns had paid out since April, that makes approximately $91,500 in fees.
Burns joins Rep. John Doolittle (R-CA), his companion on the Justice Department's short list (which also includes former Rep. Tom DeLay (R-TX) and soon-to-be-former Rep. Bob Ney (R-OH)), in both shelling out money
for a top-flight defense lawyer and publicly proclaiming
that he's not a target of the DoJ's probe. To see why Burns has got investigators so interested, see our reference section
. Recent polls
show Burns trailing his Democratic challenger, Jon Tester.