Fomer California Party Chair Shawn Steel has an interesting post on Flash Report today defending embattled Republican Congressman Jerry Lewis.Democrats will do anything to get and maintain power. After all, Lenin wasn’t too good a revolutionary.Ã‚Â His specialty, once he took power,Ã‚Â was toÃ‚Â create a ruthless system for permanent power at any cost. Democrats hope to do the same in 2008.Ã‚Â By any means necessary, get more senate and house seats.Ã‚Â
Part of their strategy is to demonize California House Republican leaders. While Duke Cunningham certainly deserved demonization, as does Democrat “Refrigerator” Jefferson, our CaliforniaÃ‚Â Congressional Republicans are endlessly attacked with rumors and conspiracy theories, spearheaded by the LA Times. Ã‚Â But paintingÃ‚Â the bribery tar brush against Republicans is ringing hollow.
I hate to break it to Shawn, but the Democrats in Congress didn’t spend money like drunken sailors or have earmarks up the whazzo like Republicans did,Ã‚Â norÃ‚Â did they start unjust wars against a country that didn’t attack us on 9/11 in an effort to run a “war president” for re-election.Ã‚Â Mr. Steel, its the Republicans who will do anything toÃ‚Â hold power and regain power.Ã‚Â Might want to instead find out ways to strop bleeding members.Ã‚Â
I also love that old Chestnut, that the LA Times is out to get him (Lewis).Ã‚Â He (Steel)Ã‚Â must have missed the page one story on July 4 about LA Mayor Antonio Villarogsia, which kind of proves the MSM goes after politicians it needs to go after.
And even Jon Fleischman think’s Shawn’s gone over the top here.
Shawn, I will join you in saying that I know of no illegal activities by Jerry Lewis or members of his staff.
That said, lack of illegal activity is no excuse for:
(A) Championing an endless parade of egregious and wasteful earmarks while Chairman of the Appropriations Committee;
(B) Demostrating hypocracy by demogoging against the Democrats for doing exactly what he did when he was in the majority, but without any public apology for his own role in this shameful practice; and,
(C) Fostering a culture of “Appropriator Primacy” on Capitol Hill, where members of this spending body somehow are better than their colleagues (best demonstrated when Lewis opposed spending cuts that did not originate from ‘his’ committee).
If Republicans in Congress are serious about reforming the earmark process, they could start with dumping Lewis as ranking member of the Appropriations Commmittee, and replacing him with a fiscal conservative.
If we are serious about regaining the majority, we have to be willing to look in the mirror, and police our own problems.
But here’s the record from the website BeyondDelay.org:
Rep. Jerry Lewis is a fifteenth-term member of Congress, representing the 41st district of California. His ethics issues stem primarily from the misuse of his position as Chairman of House Appropriations Committee to steer hundreds of millions of dollars in earmarks to family and friends in direct exchange for contributions to his campaign committee and political action committee.
Relationship with Bill Lowery and Copeland Lowery Jacquez Denton & White
Rep. Lewis has a close relationship with lobbyist and former Congressman Bill Lowery, and his lobbying firm, Copeland Lowery Jacquez Denton & White (Ã¢â‚¬Å“Copeland LoweryÃ¢â‚¬Â). As chairman of the House Appropriations Committee, Rep. Lewis has approved hundreds of millions of dollars in federal projects for Mr. LoweryÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s clients. In exchange, Mr. Lowery, his partners and their spouses contributed $480,000 to Rep. LewisÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ campaign committee and Future Leaders PAC between 2000 and 2005, often giving the maximum contribution allowed under law.
Copeland LoweryÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s staff includes Letitia White, who joined the firm in 2003 after working in Rep. LewisÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ office for 22 years, most recently as a staffer to the Appropriations Committee.
At Copeland Lowery Ms. White, who became known as Ã¢â‚¬Å“K StreetÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s Queen of Earmarks,Ã¢â‚¬Â quickly built a client list of two dozen defense firms that were seeking earmarks.
Jeffrey Shockey, another staffer for Rep. Lewis until 1999, also left to join Copeland Lowery. Mr. Shockey stayed with the firm for six years before returning to Capitol Hill in January 2005, for a second stint with Rep. Lewis as deputy staff director of the Appropriations Committee. To compensate for Mr. ShockeyÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s drop in income, Copeland Lowery paid him nearly $2 million in departure payments and hired his wife, Alexandra Shockey, as a subcontractor.
Federal officials currently are investigating Letitia White and Jeffrey Shockey and the cozy relationship between Rep. Lewis and Copeland Lowery.
Rep. Lewis is also under investigation because of his dealings with the same contractors who had ties to former Rep. Randy Ã¢â‚¬Å“DukeÃ¢â‚¬Â Cunningham (R-CA). After Rep. Cunningham pleaded guilty, Rep. Lewis resisted an independent investigation of Rep. CunninghamÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s activities on the Appropriations Committee, stating that his own personal informal review of Rep. CunninghamÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s earmarks was satisfactory and that the earmarks Rep. Cunningham doled out were legitimate. In total, Rep. Lewis has received $88,252 from Brent Wilkes and his associates, making him the third-highest recipient of campaign contributions from Mr. Wilkes, after Rep. Cunningham and Rep. John Doolittle (R-CA).
If Rep. Lewis has traded legislative assistance for campaign contributions, he may be charged with bribery and honest services fraud and may have violated House rules prohibiting the dispensation of special favors and acting in a manner that brings discredit to the House.