What is it with investigations into Southern California Representatives and house deals? Yesterday Harper’s Ken Silverstein and TPM Muckraker both ran stories on the former aide to Rep. [sw: Jerry Lewis] (R-CA) and current "Queen of Earmarks" Letitia White’s Capitol Hill townhouse that she purchased with the owner of Trident Systems. White is said to have advocated aggressively for Trident while she worked for Lewis and, as soon as she left to become a lobbyist at the firm of Lewis’ buddy Bill Lowery, she not only jointly purchased the townhouse with Nicholas E. Karangelen, an owner of Trident, but she also took Trident on as a client.
So Letitia White, a former staffer for Jerry Lewis, now a lobbyist, is the co-owner of a home with Nicholas Karengelen, a client of her lobbying firm. Karengelen’s firm is the recipient of $2 million (and likely more) disbursed by a committee headed by Lewis. Surely these connections merit the attention of those looking into the Lewis case.
One of the tenants of the townhouse is a technology PAC named Small Biz Tech PAC, which is chaired by Karengelen and run by a woman named Julia Willis-Leon. According to TPM Muckraker, the PAC has taken in $100,000 while only disbursing $6,000 to candidates and members of Congress. The PAC has, however, paid Willis-Leon $40,000 for fundraising, "retainers", "commissions", and so on. Who is Willis-Leon? Well she is Lewis’ step-daughter! And to make matters worse the Small Biz Tech PAC retained the services of the same lawyer as Lewis, Barbara Bonfiglio. Bonfiglio is infamous for also working for [sw: Tom DeLay]’s ARMPAC and [sw: Duke Cunningham]’s American Prosperity PAC.
Today Justin Rood went down to the townhouse and found that the door bell line was cut and that there are few signs that anyone lives or works there. What is with these Congressmen and politicians getting their families involved in strange corrupt schemes. There’s Julie Doolittle, Christine DeLay, Lisa Rudy, [sw: William Jefferson]’s daughters, and now Lewis’ step-daughter.
QUICK UPDATE: Laura Rozen points out that Jerry Lewis secured a $2 million earmark for Trident Systems despite the fact that Trident does no business in his district. “If a member of Congress is giving an earmark, it is almost always in his district.” Not this time.