JERRY LEWIS BACK IN THE NEWS: MORE CORRUPTION
It would be hard to make a cogent argument that there is anyone in Congress, of either party, more steeped in corruption than Inland Empire Republican Jerry Lewis. It isn't likely that when Bush gets up tonight to rail against earmarks he will talk about Jerry Lewis or Don Young or any of the worst abusers of the system. Last week Bob Novak pointed out that "Rep. Jerry Lewis, the Appropriations Committee's ranking Republican, is leading fellow appropriators against the moratorium [on pork barrel spending]. They are joined by the most seriously challenged Republican incumbents, who see political salvation in bringing funds home to their districts, principles be damned."
But arguing with Bush and with conservatives about earmarks and pork is hardly the worst of Lewis' troubles. Today's Roll Call has some very unwelcome news for Lewis. The criminal cases pending against him are far from going away.
Scandal-tinged Reps. Jerry Lewis (R-Calif.) and Jerry Weller (R-Ill.) both paid substantial legal bills late last year, hinting that allegations of ethical lapses against them may not be winding down anytime soon.
Lewis, ranking member on the House Appropriations Committee, paid the law firm Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher roughly $105,000 during the last quarter of 2007. The recent payments bring Lewis' total legal bills during the past three years to roughly $1.27 million, according to campaign finance records.
Lewis is part of a grand jury investigation in Los Angeles involving former Rep. turned lobbyist Bill Lowery (R-Calif.). Investigators are looking into whether Lewis gave government handouts to clients of Lowery, a former partner at the lobbying shop Copeland Lowery Jacquez Denton & White.
This is the influential Republican law firm that was able to get two U.S. Attorneys fired after they opened bribery cases against Lewis. Money well-spent.