Friday, June 02, 2006



It's taken long enough, but a federal grand jury has finally subpoenaed records dealing with the House Republican bribery scandal mastermind, Jerry Lewis. Yesterday's SAN BERNARDINO SUN broke the news and, of course Lewis and his bagman, ex-Congressman-turned-lobbyist Bill Lowery, are denying everything (which should sound like a familiar pattern by now-- one that ends in ratting out colleagues for a plea bargain and then begging for mercy at the sentencing phase of the trial). "The ties between Lewis and Lowery include staffers who have worked for both of them. Jeff Shockey, deputy staff director of the Appropriations Committee, worked first for [Chairman] Lewis, then went to work for Lowery in 1999, and returned last year to Lewis' staff — getting $600,000 in severance payments from Lowery's firm. Another Lewis aide, Letitia White, became a lobbyist for Lowery in 2003. According to lobbying forms, San Bernardino County paid Lowery's firm $60,000 last year for representation on appropriations and budget bills. White is listed as one of the lobbyists representing the county. The investigation into Lewis is reportedly tied to the investigation that resulted in the bribery conviction of former Rep. Randy 'Duke' Cunningham. One of the defense firms implicated in bribing Cunningham, ADCS Inc., was a client of Lowery's."

This will be the 68th time DWT mentions Jerry Lewis is the blog. As Cunningham's direct superior and as the loudest voice-- to the day-- in favor of bribery-inducing earmarks, Lewis is generally considered one of the 3 or 4 most corrupt congressmen in Washington. Two weeks ago we reported on how the SAN DIEGO UNION TRIBUNE attempted to explain the mechanism Lewis used to enrich himelf at taxpayers' expense. It is outrageous that this crook is still chairman of the Appropriations Committee-- or even freely running around destroying evidence.

Lewis' 41st Congressional District is a huge sprawling area (more than twice the size of New Jersey) which goes from L.A. suburbs through the High Desert to the Nevada border. Lewis, first elected in 1978, is an extreme right-wing radical who hasn't been seriously challenged in his re-election bids. In 2004 the Democrats didn't bother running anyone at all and this year a political novice, Luis Contreras has decided to take on the powerful, entrenched Lewis. Bush won the district in 2004 with 62% of the vote. After another egregiously corrupt Abramoff crony, Don Young from Alaska was termed out of the powerful Appropriations Committee chairmanship-- one of the most lucrative positions a corrupt congressman can hope to hold-- Lewis went to war against other Republicans vying for the position, Ralph Regula and Hal Rogers. In the end Lewis bought the committee chairmanship for $1.35 million (a "contribution" to the GOP). He has been able to recoup that investment many, many, many times over.


Ari Berman deals with DeLay's 5 most vile proteges in the new issue of THE NATION with an article called "All DeLay's Children." His top 5 culprits: Eric Cantor (VA), Jack Kingston (GA), Patrick McHenry (NC), "Dirty Dick" Pombo (CA), and Tom Reynolds (NY). Although he gives honorary mentions to other DeLay lackeys like Roy Blunt and Dennis Hastert, Jerry Lewis is nowhere to be found, a mark not of the man's innocence of association with the sleazy DeLay-- with whom he was tightly allied-- but of his stealthy ability to keep relatively under the radar. I contend that when the history of the Republican Culture of Corruption is written, Jerry Lewis will come in near the top of the list, just a notch or two below DeLay himself.

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At 8:45 AM, Blogger keninny said...

I'm not all that familiar with the cases of those other Republicrooks who beat out Jerry Lewis for a spot in The Nation's Corruption Top 5, but while I'm sure they all have stolen-sterling credentials, I really have to wonder whether this Ari Berman bum isn't displaying a blatant anti-California bias. Okay, maybe it's justified on the ground that he could have filled his Top 5 with California congressional Republicrooks. However, that doesn't make it fair.

I really think that, in the interest of getting proper recognition for Jerry Lewis's long, hard years of toiling in the vineyard of corruption, the case needs to be brought to the people. How about a TV reality series along the lines of American Idol? You know, where the people could get to see for themselves who the masters of what they really worship are, and then vote their own Top 5--and eventually their own grandmaster.


At 12:18 AM, Blogger never left NOLA said...

Ari Berman's story also states that Eric Cantor is the only Jewish Republican in the House.
Wouldn't Jerry Lewis be at least #2 ?

At 2:46 PM, Anonymous helpelectdemocrats said...

Contreras has hire'd a group of high profile consultants for his Campaign to take on Jerry Lewis
in the 41st Congressional Dist. In 2006 Louie Contreras was the Democratic Partie's Nominee when no one wanted to take on Jerry Lewis powerfull head of appropriations committy in a heavily Red Dist,contreras lost by 18% against Jerry's 1.500,000 now since he is under investigation by federal and ethics committies, some potential candidates still feel quite unsure about take'ing him on. Contreras has once again decided too throw his hat in the ring regardless if Jerry Lewis steps down or not .and be the democratic parties nominee once again.
this time with the name recognition from the 2006,and with wide spread grass roots support and the backing of the DCCC as a primary target district to win.. he will breeze thru the primary, and has a great chance at winning in the general election in november 2008
Let show some grass roots support!!


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