Sunday, February 12, 2006

Doolittle's Little Helper

Night Swimming links to this Sacramento Bee article regarding Representative John Doolittle's (CA-4) active involvement in support of a Jack Abramoff Indian client. Support that garnered Northern California's Doolittle a $5,000 campaign contribution from the Iowa tribe.

As with many of Doolittle's dealing with Abramoff, Doolittle's former chief of staff, Kevin Ring, was in the middle of things.
When lobbyist Kevin Ring brought dissident members of Iowa's Meskwaki tribe to Rep. John Doolittle's office in early June 2003, it was a good bet that the Roseville Republican would be helpful.

Ring was a former staff aide to Doolittle and his employer then, lobbyist Jack Abramoff, was a friend of the congressman and at the pinnacle of his ill-fated power.

The letter Doolittle wrote to Interior Secretary Gale Norton a few days later pressed for elections that would end an escalating tribal dispute - just what Ring's clients wanted.

In writing it, however, the vehemently anti-gambling congressman was taking a stand on behalf of a tribe fighting to reopen a casino.

Doolittle's letter was probably of little importance in the case. The Department of the Interior was already working to resolve the tribal conflict, when Doolittle stepped in to help. But, what Doolittle's involvement did do was allow Abramoff's firm to demonstrate to its client how it could quickly deliver members of congress in thier support.

At the time, Doolittle had nothing to loose when he helped out his former chief of staff and allowed him to show off his influence with a key member of congress. That is the influence that Doolittle was selling to Ring and through Ring to Abramoff. It was the advertising value of Abramoff being able to tell potential clients that he could deliver Republican congressmen to support them any time he need to do so.

When Doolittle says he did nothing unethical, he is lying. Doolittle demonstrated to Abramoff's clients how the game was played. He allowed himself to be used as part of an elaborate Abramoff con to convince Indian tribes that Abramoff owned the Republican Congress and Administration.