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January 13, 2007
Doolittle Fires His Wife

Rep. John Doolittle (R-CA) has terminated his relationship with his wife's consulting business for fundraising after having barely retained his seat in the midterm elections. Julie Doolittle took commissions from the contributions made to the Congressman's re-election campaigns, essentially allowing 15% of all political donations to end up in the Doolittle family checking account:

Rep. John T. Doolittle (R-Calif.) said yesterday that he will no longer employ his wife as his campaign fundraiser, an arrangement that allowed her to collect a 15 percent cut of donations to his campaign and political action committees -- more than $100,000 since 2003.

Doolittle, who has drawn criticism for links to disgraced lobbyist Jack A. Abramoff, said he will hire an outside fundraiser. He made the announcement in a commentary article he distributed to newspapers in his Northern California district, noting his tough battle for reelection. ...

The change was one of 10 steps that Doolittle pledged to take after a campaign clouded by questions about Julie Doolittle's fundraising and his ties to Abramoff.

He's lucky to have held his office, considering the slimy method he used to back-channel political contributions into his own pocket. I wrote about this last March, after the San Diego Union-Tribune reported on it as part of the Duke Cunningham/Jack Abramoff scandals. Doolittle admitted assisting Mitchell Wade and Brent Wilkes, two co-consiprators in the Cunningham case, after they routed thousands of dollars through Julie Doolittle's consultancy into both the campaign coffers and the Doolittle's personal accounts:

Doolittle received $118,000 in contributions from Wilkes either through his PAC or directly to his campaign over three years. At the same time, Doolittle used the earmark process to approve $37 million in contracts for a Wilkes business that eliminated extraneous noise from electronic communications. The personal benefit accrued to Doolittle when Wilkes channeled the contributions through Doolittle's wife's marketing and fundraising consultancy, Sierra Dominion Financial Solutions. Julie Doolittle received $14,400 for handling the financial transactions between Wilkes and her husband's PAC and campaign -- meaning that, in California's community-property state, both Doolittles received personal compensation from Wilkes for his "support".

These transactions appear of a piece with similar transactions between Doolittle and the Jack Abramoff lobbying firm, Greenbriar Traurig. In fact, the U-T could only find three clients of Sierra Dominion (apart from her husband) through a search of public records: GT, the Abramoff-owned restaurant Signatures which figured closely in the lobbyist's efforts to influence politicians, and the Korea-US Exchange Council, which has ties to Tom DeLay. Apart from the money she received from Wilkes, Julie Doolittle has received over $160,000 in commissions relating to her representation of Rep. Doolittle and the management of his contributions.

I'm happy that Rep. Doolittle has ended this particular shell game, but I'd be wary of trusting Doolittle with Appropriations in the future. His actions should disqualify him from any assignment where he could earmark funds for any purposes. His constituents returned him to Congress, but that doesn't mean he should have access to power that he has sold in the past.

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Posted by Ed Morrissey at January 13, 2007 10:10 AM

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» Sleeping with the Lawmakers… from CrosSwords
John Doolittle R-CA) fired his wife. It appears that he was able to survive the tidal wave of Democrat victories in 2006 in spite of the fact that he had ties to Jack Abramoff and the fact that his wife, in charge of raising funds, got a 15% commissio... [Read More]

Tracked on January 13, 2007 11:12 PM


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