Scared Stiff


If I was Rep. [sw: Jerry Lewis] (R-CA) that’s what I’d be. Today the Lewis case has officially became a serious matter. After the revelations of Lewis’ step-daughter’s work for the Small Biz Tech PAC, whose offices reside in a house co-owned by a recipient of Lewis’ earmarks and a former aide to Lewis turned lobbyist, and the NBC News revelations about Audre, Inc. Lewis looks set for a busy summer of fundraising, not for an election, but for a legal expense fund. Now Roll Call, the San Diego Union Tribune, and the Los Angeles Times bring us new information about the Lewis case. First let’s start with the Roll Call piece:

In one of the clearest signs yet that Lewis is himself under the investigative microscope, the FBI retrieved the chairman’s financial records late last month even as federal prosecutors in Southern California were issuing a series of subpoenas to towns and counties in his Congressional district, all of which were represented at one time or another in lobbying activities by a current or former Lewis staffer. … The investigators are in particular examining the relationship between Lewis and a lobbying firm he enjoys a very close relationship with, Copeland Lowery Jacquez Denton and White.

The records search in the Legislative Resources Center in Cannon was the latest sign of that, as the FBI examined the records of Jeff Shockey and Letitia White.

The FBI is also searching through the financial disclosure forms of Lewis’ wife, Arlene Willis, who works as his chief of staff in his personal office. The Los Angeles Times tells us that Letitia White is at the center of the allegations made by Tom Casey, the head of Audre, Inc.

Casey said he had told investigators that in 1993, Lewis’ top appropriations aide, White, escorted him and Wilkes to a basement room in the Capitol where House Appropriations Committee staffers drafted legislation.

There, according to Casey, he was seated in front of a word processor and was asked to type a paragraph into the defense bill that would be so specific that it would limit competition. … The final bill included much of the language Casey wrote, although the earmark was slashed to $14 million, he said.

And the kicker to the Audre earmark deal comes at the end of the Times piece:

The obscure trade journal also uncovered in financial disclosure reports that White, then Lewis’ aide, had bought stock in Audre on Nov. 3, 1993, one week before the passage of the final bill.

Lewis is another example of the power of K Street melded into Congress. Just like Jack Abramoff, Mitchell Wade, and Brent Wilkes the Bill Lowery-Letitia White-Jerry Lewis connection showcases how Congress and K Street have corrupted each other by combining their operations. When lobbyists and defense contractors are writing language into bills the public interest is not being served. When a member of Congress receives over ONE THIRD of his campaign contributions from one lobbying firm and their clients, as Lewis has, then that member will not be serving the public interest. What we have here is a system that has been created by certain members and certain lobbyists that subverts democracy and public participation in government while abusing institutions and the First Amendment rights to give money to a candidate and to lobby Congress.