It was a fundraising pitch for Sen. Thad Cochran (R-MS), but in a May, 2002 email Jack Abramoff's colleague couldn't help taking time out to praise a favorite: Rep. John Doolittle (R-CA). "[N]obody," wrote lobbyist Todd Boulanger, "comes even close (except for Doolittle, maybe) to doing as much for our main clients as Senator Cochran."
Read More →
While Cochran went to bat for a moneyed interest in his home state (Abramoff's marquee client The Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians), however, Doolittle would help any Abramoff client in need. The Northern Mariana Islands were thousands of miles away from his California district, but they received his special attention; so did Indian tribes from Massachusetts and Iowa.
That's why Cochran has kept his name out of the headlines, while Doolittle nearly lost his recent election due to the Abramoff scandal, which has drained $100,000 from his campaign coffers to pay lawyers to fight off federal prosecutors.
The question for Doolittle now is whether the House ethics committee, following the calls from government watchdogs, will initiate an investigation of him. Despite being more mucked up with Abramoff than even Bob Ney, the former congressman who pled guilty to accepting bribes earlier this year, there have been no clear indications that the largely useless House ethics panel will move against him.
I spoke with Doolittle's office yesterday for this post. His spokeswoman did not provide a comment for the record in time for publication.