Sunday, May 21, 2006

Repubs On the Run

The Contra Costa Times takes a look at some surprising races across California and focuses on "15%" John Doolittle's (CA-4) struggles.

Doolittle, a member of the House Appropriations Committee and of the House GOP leadership, has denied wrongdoing amid reports that his ties with Abramoff have drawn the attention of federal investigators. He has refused to return donations he has accepted from Abramoff and his clients, or from a defense contractor in the bribery case that took down Cunningham.

Doolittle also has defended an arrangement under which his wife, Julie, does his fund raising and gets a 15 percent commission on each sum she raises. Under this setup, the Doolittles' household benefits directly from every donation Doolittle gets.

A professional fund-raising group has criticized the arrangement, contending that industry guidelines call for fund-raisers to earn a flat fee. Doolittle contends his method is better because his wife gets paid only when she succeeds in raising money.

How can his wife not succeed in raising money? Lobbyists are standing in line to hand cash over to Doolittle. Big Dick Cheney has already raised $250,000 for Doolittle in advance contributions for a fund raising lunch he his attending in support of Doolittle. Good old "15%" will personally pocket $37,500 of that and use some of the rest for personal expenses such as child care.