Grand jury seeks House records in investigation of Doolittle
WASHINGTON (AP) — A federal grand jury investigating California GOP Rep. John Doolittle’s ties to jailed lobbyist Jack Abramoff has subpoenaed the House official responsible for maintaining lawmakers’ old e-mails and other records.
The subpoena from the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia went to the House’s chief administrative officer, Daniel P. Beard. He disclosed it in a notice read on the House floor Thursday evening, in accordance with House rules.
The notice that was read to lawmakers said only that Beard had been subpoenaed for unspecified documents and would determine his response consistent with House rules.
An official with knowledge of the situation said the subpoena pertained to the Doolittle investigation. The official spoke on condition of anonymity because of the ongoing investigation.
Doolittle’s attorney did not respond to a call for comment Thursday night, and a Justice Department spokesman did not reply to an e-mail.
The subpoena is the latest sign of activity by the grand jury investigating Doolittle’s involvement with Abramoff, whom Doolittle considered a good friend. Doolittle helped Abramoff’s clients, and Abramoff donated campaign money to the nine-term conservative and employed his wife.
Doolittle and a half-dozen current and former aides were subpoenaed in September and said they would fight the subpoenas on grounds of constitutional separation of powers. Several Doolittle aides also testified before the grand jury last month.
Beard, too, was subpoenaed last month, for records related to Ed Buckham, one-time chief of staff to former House Majority Leader Tom DeLay. Like Doolittle, DeLay and Buckham figure in the wide-ranging Abramoff investigation, which already has netted a dozen convictions, including a guilty plea from former GOP Rep. Bob Ney of Ohio.