Saturday, February 25, 2006

Jerry Lewis Staffer....err... Marine Officer Recalled

California Congressman Jerry Lewis (CA-41) is the chairman of the House Appropriations Committee. As such, he had oversight responsibility for members of his committee. Members such as Randy "Duke" Cunningham, who was using his position on the committee to ensure that his "friends" Mitchell Wade (pled guilty Friday) and Brent Wilkes (soon to be pleading) could steal millions from U.S. taxpayers.

Turns out that Lewis was stealing from U.S. taxpayers as well. According to The Hill, Lewis was utilizing a Marine officer, Lt. Col. Carl Kime, as a staffer in his congressional office to help manage earmark and defense appropriations. The very tools that Cunningham used to run his bribery scam.
Kime held an influential position in Lewis’s personal office and had oversight on requests for earmarked funds in the defense appropriations bill, the largest of the annual spending bills, according to sources familiar with the workings of the House Appropriations Committee. Kime held the title of appropriations associate, the only aide to hold that title in Lewis’s personal office, according to the House directory.


Kime’s service for Lewis appeared to violate the Members’ Congressional Handbook issued by the Committee for House Administration, which defines a detailee as a “non-congressional federal employee assigned to a committee for a period of up to one year.” The handbook also states that “detailees may not be assigned to a member office” and cites the relevant section of U.S. law: 2 USC Section 72a(f).

Lewis defended his aide when alerted about the apparent violation.

“I’ve had military detailees since I’ve been in the Congress, almost every year, and they’ve been responsive to me,” he said. “I don’t read the handbooks, but I know who they work for and they respond to my interests.”

Kime’s service also appeared to violate a Department of Defense regulation that mandates that detailees “be limited to performing duties for a specific duration, in a specific project and as a member of a staff of a committee of the Congress.”

Jerry Lewis apparently thinks that he doesn't have to follow the rules in Congress. Just like Duke Cunningham, he places his interests ahead of the American people.

No wonder Lewis and his "free" staffer didn't find anything wrong with Duke's earmarks. Duke was following the "Lewis Rule" - take everything you can get.