The Center for Public Integrity yesterday released
a huge (and hugely disturbing) report on corporate-funded travel for federal lawmakers and staff.
Who was at the top of the list of corporate junket-givers? General Atomics
, a name which should be familiar to our readers. As we have reported, it's enjoyed close ties to several figures under investigation by the FBI. The company spent over $660,000 on trips for 86 Capitol Hill staffers and lawmakers from 2000 to 2005.
TPMmuckraker fans already know two of those staffers: Letitia White
, a former trusted aide to House Appropriations Chairman Jerry Lewis (R-CA) (now under investigation); and Nancy Lifset
, a General Atomics frequent-flyer who held a day job in the offices of now-imprisoned former Rep. Randy "Duke" Cunningham (R-CA). (In addition to flying the staffers around, GA also gave generously to both lawmakers' campaigns, and helped raise money for them.)
According to CPI's data, Lifset took more trips on General Atomics' dime than any other staffer, Medill News Service reports
In addition to dropping big bucks to fly staffers around the world, General Atomics paid hundreds of thousands of dollars to a lobby shop now under federal investigation: Copeland Lowery. As we reported, the firm employs Letitia White, and it has extraordinarily close ties to her former boss Lewis. Oh - White herself is also being investigated by the FBI, the New York Times reported
If Lewis is under investigation, and Copeland Lowery is under investigation, and Letitia White is under investigation, does it follow that General Atomics -- which pumped so much money into Congress with this trio's help, in order to pump many millions back out -- is also a target of the probe? When we called the company, an aide to its spokesperson said the company had no comment.