Under Pressure, Doolittle to Leave Approps Panel

Posted April 19, 2007 at 1:25pm

Facing increasing legal scrutiny into his family’s ties with incarcerated former lobbyist Jack Abramoff, Rep. John Doolittle (R-Calif.) is expected to send a letter to House leaders today removing himself from his post on the powerful Appropriations Committee.

While Doolittle is expected to voluntarily take himself off the panel while the investigation continues, knowledgeable House sources said that Minority Leader John Boehner (R-Ohio) and members of the Republican Steering Committee — which determines committee assignments — were prepared to remove him from his post if he would not do so himself.

The move comes after FBI agents raided Doolittle’s Oakton, Va., home on Friday, seeking documents related to his wife, Julie, and her fundraising firm, Sierra Dominion. That same day a former Doolittle staffer who had worked with Abramoff at Greenberg Traurig, Kevin Ring, resigned from his post at a top Washington lobbying firm, Barnes & Thornburg. The Doolittles have been under legal scrutiny for three years regarding both of their ties to Abramoff.

The nine-term California Republican is a mid-ranking member on Appropriations, and sits on three of the panel’s subcommittees: Energy and water, Interior and legislative branch.