On Wednesday, Pete Evich, the former legislative director for scandal-plagued Rep. John Doolittle (R-CA), said “he was recently contacted by federal investigators in their probe of Doolittle’s ties to jailed lobbyist Jack Abramoff.”
Evich is currently a lobbyist representing Sierra College. CQ reports today that perhaps not coincidentally, Doolittle requested a $300,000 earmark for Sierra College in the 2008 Financial Services appropriations bill.
Rep. John T. Doolittle, who’s been caught up in the Jack Abramoff lobbying scandal, has requested a substantial earmark for a college represented by one of his former aides, who, coincidentally, has just been contacted by the FBI.
Pete Evich, a lobbyist and Doolittle’s legislative director until 2002, has been representing Sierra College, which could end up receiving $300,000 if the congressman’s request is approved.
Doolittle, R-Calif., asked for the money to be included in the 2008 Financial Services appropriations bill (HR 2829). It’s intended for a “mechatronics workforce training initiative,” according to the House Appropriations Committee.
Doolittle repeatedly accepted large sums of money and expensive gifts from Abramoff and his clients. In return, he routed $400,000 to the lobbyist’s client and championed Abramoff’s interests to federal officials.
Evich is the second Doolittle aide to acknowledge their contacts with the feds, suggesting “prosecutors are widening their investigation in the wake of an FBI raid on Doolittle’s home in April that led him to give up his seat on the powerful House Appropriations Committee.”
TPMmuckaker also points out that Doolittle is now claiming that “he has no problem with his former aides talking to prosecutors because he thinks it might hasten his dismissal as a focus of the Abramoff probe.” “I’ve always believed that the truth vindicates us,” he said. “I am glad they are going to delve more into it.”