Ah, a whole new scandal involving Rep. Jim Gibbons (R-NV).
Yes, he's accused of sexual assault. And yes, he had an illegal domestic worker he hid in his basement. But now, we learn that Gibbons granted exceptional favors to a campaign backer and "friend" from whom he received gifts and campaign donations, according
to a lengthy and circuitous investigative piece in the Wall Street Journal
: From Nevada software entrepreneur Warren Trepp, Gibbons received generous gifts, including a week-long family cruise valued at $10,000 (which he failed to report) and $100,000 in campaign contributions. Trepp also gave Gibbons gambling chips worth money, as well as plain ol' cash, according to Trepp's old business partner.Step 2
: Gibbons gave Trepp at least one multi-million dollar earmark, and a "plus-up" -- adding more money onto an existing contract than was originally agreed to. He also set up numerous meetings between Trepp and defense officials, worked to get Trepp paid when the government checks weren't coming on time, and personally flacked for Trepp's products.
(There's no connection, the two men say, and of course Gibbons and Trepp deny any wrongdoing. Gibbons' wife even says she paid back $1,654 of the cruise's cost to Trepp's wife. It's not clear why she paid that amount, or why she paid Trepp's wife.)
There's a mysterious link between the two men which the WSJ was clearly aware of, but didn't mention: according to Senate records, Trepp's company hired scandal-prone lobbyist Letitia White to work on its behalf. White, a former top staffer to House appropriations chairman Jerry Lewis (R-CA), is facing a federal investigation for her unsavory entanglements that may have involved corrupting the federal spending process.
The WSJ says Trepp denied his company ever paid for a lobbyist in Washington. Yet the records clearly show White lobbied on behalf of Trepp's firm, eTreppid. The WSJ even quotes from emails from "a lobbyist acting for eTreppid in Washington," cheering the favors Gibbons was granting his pal. So maybe there's more under this rock than the paper's letting on.