Doolittle won’t return dough |

Doolittle won’t return dough

Brittany Retherford

NEVADA CITY – Unlike several of his Republican colleagues, Rep. John Doolittle, R-Rocklin, will not return money received by former Washington lobbyist Jack Abramoff, a representative said last week.

“Congressman Doolittle refuses to give even the slightest appearance that he may have done something wrong by returning money that was accepted legally and ethically,” said Laura Blackann, Doolittle’s communications director.

Campaign finance data collected by the Center for Responsive Politics reports that Doolittle was given $50,000 by Abramoff and his tribal clients since 1999. Of that amount, only $4,000 was directly from Abramoff, who recently pleaded guilty to several felony charges of fraud, conspiracy and tax evasion.

Several politicians from both sides of the aisle who received money have opted to give it to charity, scrambling in the past few days to rid themselves of the cash.

A few, however, such as Rep. Thomas Reynolds, R-NY, and Rep. Patrick Kennedy, D-R.I., have decided to keep the contributions. Doolittle’s staff says that for the congressman, keeping it is a matter of principle.

“Mr. Abramoff only contributed $4,000 to the congressman, so returning it wouldn’t cause much of a hardship to our campaign, but this is a matter of principle to the congressman,” Blackann said. “He has done absolutely nothing wrong and has no intention of returning any contribution from anyone that was made in an ethical and legal manner regardless of how many of his colleagues do so out of political expediency or how much the media tries to irresponsibly distort the propriety of Mr. Doolittle’s actions.”

Doolittle does support the investigation of Abramoff, hoping that it will reveal the truth to the citizens he represents, Blackann said.

“We are encouraged that this investigation is finally moving forward because the faster the truth is revealed, the faster our constituents will know that Congressman Doolittle has done absolutely nothing wrong,” she said.

Blackann also said that neither the congressman nor any of his staff members have been subpoenaed or have been contacted by the U.S. Justice Department or the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

Mike Holmes, Republican candidate for the House of Representatives in the 4th District of California, is calling upon Doolittle to return or donate to charity all funds he and his family members received from Abramoff.

“It seems to me like the honorable thing to do” Holmes stated. “President Bush and many members of the House and Senate have already taken steps to rid themselves of this tainted money. Mr. Doolittle, who claims to have high moral principles, owes it to his constituents to return the funds. His refusal to do so does not represent the values of people in the 4th Congressional District.”

Members of Doolittle’s staff recently criticized Holmes for accepting a contribution from someone who also contributed to Sen. Barbara Boxer’s campaign. “This attempt to smear by association plays both ways,” Holmes added.

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