Watchdog group calls for Doolittle probe

Democracy 21 President Fred Wertheimer sent a letter today to the House Ethics Committee asking again that its members investigate alleged ethics violations by Rep. John Doolittle, R-Auburn.

To read the full letter, click here:Download file

Democracy 21, an ethics watchdog group based in Washington, D.C., made a similar request last year prior to the Democratic takeover of Congress.

Doolittle has adamently denied all allegations of ethics violations although the issues dogged him throughout the 2006 election and don’t appear to be going away anytime soon.

Democracy 21 seeks a broad probe into a variety of issues including allegations that commission payments made to Doolittle’s wife or his wife’s company were actually contributions raised by Doolittle.

They also asked for an investigation into whether “commission fees paid to Julie Doolittle’s company on contributions made to Doolittle’s political committees by defense contractor Brent Wilkes and his associates were linked to, or appeared to be linked to, official action taken by Doolittle to help Wilkes’ company obtain millions of dollars in government earmarks.”

Wilkes has been indicted in connection with the bribery case that resulted in the conviction of former California congressman Duke Cunningham.

If the ethics drumbeat continues, Doolittle could face another tough re-election campaign in 2008.

Doolittle squeaked out a win by 3 percentage points in 2006 against a relatively unknown Democrat in a district where Republicans enjoy a 17 percentage point registration advantage.

Lisa Vorderbrueggen