Sunday, June 18, 2006



Since buying the chairmanship of the all-powerful House Appropriations Committee, crooked lowlife High Desert congressman Jerry Lewis (R-CA) has been working overtime to appropriate everything he could get his hands on. Probably the most corrupt member of either house of Congress, Lewis is estimated to have illegally appropriated at least $12.6 million for himself. The key to all that wealth is his ability to control earmarks (in effect, grants) on legislation that comes out of his Committee. (Just so you know why this is a bigger deal than most run of the mill corrupt Republican congressmen, Lewis' little ole committee oversees close to a trillion dollars in government spending annually.)

So how has Lewis been getting his slimy mitts on the dough? It's not that complicated. His closest crony, a former fellow-corrupt Southern California congressman, Bill Lowery-- like Lewis, an extremely hypocritical right wing maniac-- is Lewis' bagman. You want to buy an earmark, you pay Lowery. Then Lowery kicks back to Lewis and his family members. Very simple. Lowery's Inside-the-Beltway lobbying firm, with a well-known, and well-deserved, reputation for being able deliver whatever its clients need from the Appropriations Committee, is called Copeland Lowery Jacquez Denton & White. Or it was until last week.

They have billed millions and millions of dollars to clients seeking business arrangements with the government and the more the client pays, the better their chances are for a favorable outcome from the larcenous Lewis. Example: a couple of dozen government and community entities in Lewis' district have been strong-armed into hiring Copeland Lowery Jacquez Denton & White in order to get favorable treatment from their own congressman! It is unbelievable that city and county governments have paid out over a million dollars in taxpayer money (in effect bribes) to Lewis via Lowery's firm. City and County governments and public utilities that have funneled bribes to Lewis through Lowery in the past year include: the City of Highland, $40,000; the City of Loma Linda, $20,000; the City of Murrieta, $40,000; the City of Redlands, $20,000 (the crook's own home town); the City of Riverside, $60,000; the City of San Bernardino, $40,000; the City of Twentynine Palms, $40,000; the City of Victorville, $120,000 (God only knows what was going on there!); the City of Yucaipa, $40,000; Riverside County, $120,000; San Bernardino Associated Governments, $60,000; San Bernardino County, $160,000; the Town of Yucca Valley, $40,000; Hi-Desert Water District, Yucca Valley, $40,000; Inland Empire Utilities Agency, Chino, $40,000; Inland Valley Development Agency, San Bernardino, $40,000; Lake Arrowhead Community Services District, $40,000; March Joint Powers Authority, $40,000; Mojave Water Agency, Apple Valley, $60,000; San Bernardino Valley Municipal Water District, $40,000; Santa Ana Watershed Project Authority, Riverside, $40,000; Tactical Survey Group, San Bernardino, San Diego, $80,000.

On top of that, Lewis was also wringing money out of hospitals and universities that get federal assistance. The University of Redlands gave him a big fat bribe his bagman a nice lobbying fee of $100,000 this year. The St. Bernardine Medical Center pay-off was $80,000. The Hi-Desert Medical Center in Joshua Tree kicked down $40,000 and the Cal State San Bernardino Foundation made sure the powerful local crime chief solon got a share of $120,000. Each individual contribution to the Lewis/Lowery crime operation might not be huge, but according to the Center For Responsive Politics, district taxpayer dollars that went into this neat little system of Lewis' was nearly $2 million dollars this year alone.

Of course, that's just chump change for the high flying Lewis, who has raked in millions more from private firms eager for government contracts and sweetheart deals.

But now it looks like the whole scheme is starting to fall apart. Lewis' close crony Randy "Duke" Cunningham is rotting in prison after admitting to accepting bribes. And in the last 2 weeks at least 7 of Lowery's clients from within Lewis' district have confirmed that they have received federal subpoenas seeking records relating to Representative Lewis and his lobbyist buds. The City of Redlands-- again Lewis' hometown-- has cut off all ties to Lowery's firm.

Lewis, of course, denies everything and says he knows nothing about any of this. When asked what he knows about Copeland Lowery Jacquez Denton & White splitting apart, his terse, angry response was "Why should I know about it? I know no more about it than you do."

Apparently the two partners that have refused to participate in the criminal activities in which the firm specialized-- i.e., stuff relating to Lewis-- have left the firm to start a legitimate lobbying company. That would be Jim Copeland and Lynn Jacquez. The 3 Republicrooks left behind, now all under intense federal scrutiny, claim they are sticking it out and that everything is normal. That would be Bill Lowery, Jean Denton and the now notorious former Lewis employee Letitia White, aka- "The Republican Earmark Queen."

Nor is Letitia the only sticky-fingered Republican who had been shuttling back and forth between Lewis' office and the lobbying firm. Last week Joshua Micah Marshall at Talking Points Memo exposed the sordid story of Jeffrey Shockey, currently the Deputy Staff Director of the House Appropriations Committee. What Marshall was kind enough to point out is that when Shockey went to work for the Appropriations Committee ("earmarks central"), he got a nice sending off present from Lowery: $2 million. Wouldn't you like to work for someone who took care of you so well when you quit your job? And not only that, but when Shockey quit to go back to work for Lewis, that sweet ole Lowery not only gave him the $2 mill, he also hired his wife Alexandra (another ex-Lewis employee). These Repugs sure take good care of each other-- with our money. Why just look how nicely Lewis' stepdaughter has been taken care of by Trident Systems, a defense contractor seeking to do business with Lewis' committee.

So why don't the good citizens of California's 41st congressional district rise up in disgust and give Lewis the heave-ho? Let's save that part of the story for tomorrow morning, ok?


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