Sunday, March 19, 2006

The Dirt on Doolittle

The dirt on Rep John Doolittle? Josh has it.

But, I said I did nothing wrong.
Is Rep. John Doolittle's (R-CA) free ride in the Cunningham-Wade-Wilkes scandal coming to an end? I think it might be.
Doolittle's wife, despite no prior fundraising experience, ran a "political consultancy and she worked on commission raising money for Doolittle's campaign and political action committee." This cozy arrangement meant that "every time someone gave Doolittle money, Julie and John personally got a 15% taste of the cash." For example, they pocketed $14,400 from over $100K in campaign contributions from Brent Wilkes, a key figure in the Cunningham bribery scandal.
Now, you might say, if Julie Doolittle was a professional fundraiser, and why should she be barred from working for her husband's campaigns. But then Julie Doolittle wasn't a fundraiser.

Julie Doolittle's Sierra Dominion Financial Solutions, launched in March 2001, right after Doolittle got his seat on the Appropriations Committee. In other words, right after he got in a position to hand out federal contracts in a big way. SDFS has no phone number, no website and no employees except for Julie Doolittle. Prior to opening the firm she seems to have had no experience doing fundraising.

But what of her other clients, you ask?
The Union-Tribune found three.
What were they?

Well, one was Greenberg-Traurig, Jack Abramoff's lobbying firm. The second was Signatures, Jack Abramoff's restaurant. The third was the Korea-US Exchange Council, a front group run by erstwhile Abramoff associate Ed Buckham, Tom DeLay's former Chief of Staff and head of Alexander Strategy Group, which closed down recently so the principals can focus on their legal defenses.

So Julie Doolittle's 'fundraising consultancy' drew a cut for the Doolittles for every dollar of campaign money she claimed credit for raising. Her other clients were either Jack Abramoff or front groups related to Jack Abramoff.

This seem fishy to you?
Fishy indeed. Oh but there's more. As Paul Kiel points out:
So this was in effect free money. Doolittle was in a very strong position to raise funds. By his own admission, his wife even got a cut of contributions resulting from his fundraising calls - all she had to do was bring him the list.
And let's not forget here that Abramoff, his associates and clients gave Doolittle some $140,000 in contributions since 1999. How much did Julie Doolittle get of that? (...)

Buckham, in addition to working closely with Abramoff, was Wilkes' lobbyist. And according to the SDUT, Julie Doolittle was working in Buckham's office when Doolittle met Wilkes. She was doing "bookkeeping" for one of Buckham's non-profits there. It's never been reported how much she was paid for this. Buckham's firm Alexander Strategy Group paid Tom DeLay's wife Christine $3,200/month for her work for them. How much was Julie Doolittle getting?


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