citizens for responsibility and ethics in washington

January 24,2011

By facsimile: 202-514-6117

Rena Y. Kim

Chief, FOrA/PA Section Criminal Division

U.S. Department of Justice

Suite 1127, Keeney Building 950 Pennsylvania Avenue, N. W. Washington, D.C. 20530-0001

Re: Freedom of Information Act Request

Dear Ms. Kim:

Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington ("CREW") makes this request for records, regardless of format, medium, or physical characteristics, and including electronic records and information, audiotapes, videotapes and photographs, pursuant to the Freedom of Information Act ("FOrA"), 5 U.S.C. §§ 552, et seq., and U.S. Department of Justice CD OJ") regulations, 28 C.F.R. Part 16.

Specifically, CREW requests all records related to the investigation of Rep. Jerry Lewis (R-CA) conducted by DOJ and the Federal Bureau ofInvestigation ("FBI") that are not covered by grand jury secrecy pursuant to Rule 6( e) ofthe Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure, including but not limited to DOJ's decision not to bring criminal charges against him. As reported publicly, in 2006 DOJ, the FBI, and other law enforcement agencies launched an investigation of Rep. Lewis focused on his conduct in obtaining millions of dollars in earmarks for clients of lobbying firms run by his former colleagues and staff members. See Ashley Powers & Richard Simon, San Bernardino Countv Records Arc Subpoenaed, Los Angeles Times, June 3, 2006 (attached as Exhibit A). On December 3, 2010, a spokesman for the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Central District of California announced DOJ had closed its investigation into Rep. Lewis's conduct. See Richard Simon, Federal inquiry of Rep. Lewis dropped, Los Angeles Times, December 4, 2010 (attached as Exhibit B).

Please search for responsive records regardless of format, medium, or physical characteristics. Where possible, please produce records electronically, in PDF or TIF format on a CD-ROM. We seek records of any kind, including electronic records, audiotapes, videotapes, and photographs. Our request includes any letters, emails, facsimiles, telephone messages, voice mail messages, and transcripts, notes, or minutes of any meetings, telephone conversations, or discussions. Our request also includes any attachments to these records.

If it is your position that any portion of the requested records is exempt from disclosure,

1400 Eye Street, N.w., Suite 450, Washington, D.C. 2Cl005 I 202.408.5565 phone I 202.588.502Cl fax ! www.citizenstorethics.org

Rena Y, Kim January 24,2011 Page 2

CREW requests that you provide it with an index of those documents as required under Vaughn v. Rosen, 484 F,2d 820 (D,C. Cir. 1973), cert. denied, 415 U.S, 977 (1972), As you are aware, a Vaughn index must describe each document claimed as exempt with sufficient specificity "to permit a reasoned judgment as to whether the material is actually exempt under FOIA." Founding Church of Scientology ii, Bell, 603 F,2d 945,949 (D,C, Cir. 1979), Moreover, the Vaughn index must "describe each document or portion thereof withheld, and for each withholding it must discuss the consequences of supplying the sought-after information," King v, Us. Dep 't of Justice, 830 F,2d 210, 223-24 (D,C, Cir. 1987) (emphasis added), Further, "the withholding agency must supply' a relatively detailed justification, specifically identifying the reasons why a particular exemption is relevant and correlating those claims with the particular part of a withheld document to which they apply, '" ld. at 224 (citing Mead Data Central \I, Us. Dep 't of the Air Force, 566 F,2d 242, 251 (D,C, Cir, 1977)),

In the event some portions of the requested records are properly exempt from disclosure, please disclose any reasonably segregable non-exempt portions of the requested records, See 5 U,S,C, § 552(b), If it is your position that a document contains non-exempt segments, but that those non-exempt segments are so dispersed throughout the document as to make segregation impossible, please state what portion of the document is non-exempt, and how the material is dispersed throughout the document. Mead Data Central, 566 F,2d at 261. Claims of nonsegregability must be made with the same degree of detail as required for claims of exemptions in a Vaughn index, If a request is denied in whole, please state specifically that it is not reasonable to segregate portions of the record for release,

Finally, CREW welcomes the opportunity to discuss with you whether and to what extent this request can be narrowed or modified to better enable DOJ to process it within the FOrA's deadlines, Adam J, Rappaport, the CREW attorney handling this matter, can be reached at (202) 408-5565 or arappapOlt@citizensforethics,org,

Fee Waiver Request

In accordance with 5 U.S,c. § 552(a)(4)(A)(iii) and 28 C,F,R, § 16, 11(k), CREW requests a waiver of fees associated with processing this request for records, The subject of this request concerns the operations of the federal government and expenditures, and the disclosures will likely contribute to a better understanding of relevant government procedures by CREW and the general public in a significant way, Moreover, the request is primarily and fundamentally for non-commercial purposes, 5 U.S,C, § 552(a)(4)(A)(iii), See, e.g., lvfcClellan Ecological v, Carlucci, 835 F,2d 1282, 1285 (9th Cir. 1987),

These records are likely to contribute to greater public awareness of alleged malfeasance and possible criminal behavior by Rep, Lewis and why, despite this apparent malfeasance, DO] refused to prosecute Rep, Lewis, Rep, Lewis, a member of the House Appropriations Committee

Rena Y. Kim January 24,2011 Page 3

since 1980, served as chairman of the Defense Appropriations Subcommittee from 1999 to 2005, chairman of the full committee from 2005 to 2006, ranking member of the full committee from 2007 to 20] 0, and currently serves as the committee's "Chairman Emeritus," See Office of Rep. Jerry Lewis, Congressman Jerry Lewis named Appropriations Committee Chairman Emeritus, January 7, 2011 (attached as Exhibit C). While serving on the committee, Rep. Lewis steered millions of dollars in earmarks to clients of lobbying firms managed by former Rep. Bill Lowery (R-CA), many of whom made substantial contributions to his campaign committee and his leadership political action committee. See Scot J. Paltrow, Contractor Proves Key in Two Federal Probes - Investigations Promise to Keep Alive Controversy Over Congressional Earmarks, Wall Street Journal, January 19,2007 (attached as Exhibit D); David Johnston & David D. Kirkpatrick, Deal Maker Details the Art of Greasing the Palm, New York Times, August 6, 2006 (attached as Exhibit E).

The U.S. Attorney's Office for the Central District of California, working with the FBI and other law enforcement agencies, opened an investigation in 2006 into "whether Lewis might have benefitted financially, or otherwise misused his office, in earmarking funds" for clients of Mr. Lowery's firms, Copeland Lowery Jacquez Denton & White ("Copeland Lowery") and Innovative Federal Strategies. See, e.g., Jerry Kammer, Close Ties Make Rep. Lewis, Lobbyist Lowry a Potent Pair, Copley News Service, December 23,2005 (attached as Exhibit F). Allegations probed by investigators included: (1) Rep. Lewis's conduct in helping secure government contracts for Copeland Lowery client Brent Wilkes, a major donor to Rep. Lewis who was later convicted of bribing former Rep. Randy "Duke" Cunningham in exchange for earmarks, see, e.g., Jerry Kammer & Dean Calbreath, Lewis subject of 'earmarks' investigation, Copley NeHlS Service, May 12,2006 (attached as Exhibit G); (2) earmarks Rep. Lewis obtained for cities, schools, hospitals, colleges, and other government institutions in and around his district that paid millions of dollars in fees to Copeland Lowery, see, e.g., William Heisel & Richard Simon, Inland Empire Shells Out for Clout, Los Angeles Times, June 18,2006 (attached as Exhibit H); and (3) Rep. Lewis's conduct in securing tens of millions of dollars in contracts for a company, ESRI Inc., whose owners contributed more than $23,000 to Rep. Lewis from 2002-06, see Jeremiah Marquez, Feds looking at land deal involving Jerry Lewis, Associated Press, September 5, 2006 (attached as Exhibit I). Investigators also focused on the revolving door between Lewis's staff and Copeland Lowery and whether Lewis favored Copeland Lowery clients in securing appropriations. See Powers & Simon, Los Angeles Times, June 3, 2006.

During the investigation, subpoenas were issued to numerous Copeland Lowery clients asking for e-mails, memoranda, contracts, and other records regarding the decision to hire the firm, and for documents relating to the communication between the firm and Rep. Lewis and/or his staff. Jd. The U.S. Attorney's Office for the Central District of California announced in December 2010 it had closed its investigation of Rep. Lewis's conduct. See Simon, Los Angeles Times, Dec. 4, 2010.

Rena Y. Kim January 24,2011 Page 4

The requested documents would shed light on the conduct of DOJ and the FBI in conducting the investigation of Rep. Lewis, and DOJ's decision to close the investigation without bringing charges against him. In addition, while DOJ decided not to prosecute Rep. Lewis, his activities still may have been illegal or violations of the rules of the House, and the requested records would shed light on them.

CREW is a non-profit corporation, organized under section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code. CREW is committed to protecting the public's right to be aware of the activities of government officials and to ensuring the integrity of those officials. CREW uses a combination of research, litigation, and advocacy to advance its mission. The release of information garnered through this request is not in CREW's financial interest. CREW will analyze the information responsive to this request, and will share its analysis with the public, either through memoranda, reports, or press releases. In addition, CREW will disseminate any documents it acquires from this request to the public through its website, Vv·ww.citizensforethics.org, which also includes links to thousands of pages of documents CREW acquired through its multiple FOIA requests as well as documents related to CREW's litigation and agency complaints, and through www.scribd.com.

Under these circumstances, CREW satisfies fully the criteria for a fee waiver.

News Media Fee Waiver Request

CREW also asks that it not be charged search or review fees for this request because CREW qualifies as a "representative of the news media" pursuant to the FOIA and SEC regulation 17 C.F.R. § 200.80(e)(10). In Nat 'I Sec. Archive v. Us. Dep 't of Defense, 880 F.2d 1381, 1386 (D.C. Cir. 1989), the Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit found the National Security Archive was a representative of the news media under the FOIA, relying on the FOIA's legislative history, which indicates the phrase "representative of the news media" is to be interpreted broadly; "it is critical that the phrase 'representative of the news media' be broadly interpreted if the act is to work as expected .... In fact, any person or organization which regularly publishes or disseminates information to the public ... should qualify for waivers as a 'representative of the news media. '" 132 Congo Rec. S14298 (daily ed. Sept. 30,1986) (emphasis added), cited in id.

CREW routinely and systematically disseminates information to the public in several ways. First, CREW maintains a frequently visited website, www.citizensforethics.org, that received 53,888 visits in December 2010. In addition, CREW posts all of the documents it receives under the FOIA on wVv'Vv'.scribd.col11, and that site has received 546,020 visits to CREW's documents since April 14,2010.

Second, since May 2007 CREW has published an online newsletter, CREWCuts, that

Rena Y. Kim January 24,2011 Page 5

currently has 17,012 subscribers. CREWCuts provides subscribers with regular updates regarding CREW's activities and information the organization has received from government entities. A complete archive of past CRE"VVCuts is available at http://www.citizensforethics.org/newsletter.

Third, CREW publishes a bIog, Citizens blogging for responsibility and ethics in Washington, that reports on and analyzes newsworthy developments regarding government ethics and corruption. The blog, located at http://ww\v.citizl1_(:;_sforethics.org/blog, also provides links that direct readers to other news articles and commentary on these issues. CREW's blog had 3,478 hits in December. 2010

Finally, CREW has published numerous reports to educate the public about government ethics and corruption. See The Revolving Door, a comprehensive look into the post-government activities of24 former members of President Bush's cabinet; Record Chaos, which examines agency compliance with electronic record keeping responsibilities; and Those Ff,110 Dared: 30 Officials Who Stood Up For Our Country. These and all other CREW's reports are available at http://wv./w.ci tizensforeth i cs. org/reports.

Based on these extensive publication activities, CREW qualifies for a fee waiver as a "representative of the news media" under the FOIA and agency regulations.


If you have any questions about this request or foresee any problems in releasing fully the requested records please contact me at (202) 408-5565. Also, if CREW's request for a fee waiver is not granted in full, please contact our office immediately upon making such a determination. Please send the requested records to Adam 1. Rappaport, Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, 1400 Eye Street, N.W., Suite 450, Washington, D.C. 20005.




Page I



Copyright 2006 Los Angeles Times All Rights Reserved

Los Angeles Times

June 3,2006 Saturday Orange County Edition

SECTION: CALIFORNIA; Metro; Metro Desk; Part B; Pg. 3

LENGTH: 768 words

HEADLINE: San Bernardino County Records Are Subpoenaed;

Officials will submit documents linked to lobbying firm with ties to Rep. Lewis. Federal grand jury also seeks Redlands documents.

BYLINE: Ashley Powers and Richard Simon, Times Staff Writers


A federal grand jury conducting a criminal investigation has subpoenaed San Bernardino County records related to a Washington lobbying firm with close ties to Rep. Jerry Lewis, chairman of the powerful House Appropriations Committee, according to federal documents.

Federal investigators are looking into the relationship between Lewis (R-Redlands) and a Washington lobbyist linked to disgraced former Rep. Randy "Duke" Cunningham (R-Rancho Santa Fe), three people familiar with the investigation told The Times last month. The city of Redlands also received a grand jury SUbpoena.

Investigators are said to be particularly interested in whether intermingling between Lewis' aides and lobbyist Bill Lowery's staff led to favorable treatment for Lowery's clients, sources told The Times. Lewis and Lowery have denied any wrongdoing.

The subpoena delivered to the county was issued "in connection with an official criminal investigation," according to a cover letter from the U.S. attorney's Public Corruption and Civil Rights Section in Los Angeles.

The investigation is part of a federal probe stemming from Cunningham's conviction for accepting $2.4 million in bribes and favors from defense contractors.

In the May 17 subpoena, obtained by The Times, the Los Angeles Grand Jury asks for e-rnails, memoranda, contracts and other records regarding the county's decision to hire Lowery's firm -- Copeland Lowery Jacquez Denton & White -- as well as billing records and all other communications between the county and Lowery or members of his firm.

The grand jury also demanded "all documents relating to communications by and between you [San Bernardino County] and United States Rep. Jerry Lewis ". and/or any member of his congressional or committee staff' and "all documents relating to communications by and between CLJ [Copeland Lowery Jacquez Denton & White] and Lewis and/or any member of his congressional or committee staff."

The investigation is being conducted by the FBI, the IRS and the Defense Criminal Investigative Service, a federal prosecutor stated in a letter that accompanied the subpoena.

Page 2 San Bernardino County Records Are Subpoenaed; Officials will submit documents linked to lobbying firm with ties to Rep. Lewis. Federal grand jury also seeks Redlands documents. Los Angeles Times June

San Bernardino County spokesman David Wert said the county would comply with the subpoena, which asks that the documents be turned over by June 13. Wert said he could not discuss the matter further at the request of the U.S. attorney's office.

Thom Mrozek, the attorney's office spokesman, said it was Justice Department policy not to comment on pending investigations.

In a statement Friday, Lewis said the department had not contacted him regarding an investigation. "Throughout my career, I have also made every effort to meet the highest ethical standards, and I am absolutely certain that any review of my work will confirm this," the congressman said.

"This is just routine, ordinary, simple appropriations," said Patrick Dorton, a spokesman for Lowery's firm. "It is the same as work done every single day in Washington for counties and towns in every state in the country. It was done consistent with all the laws, rules, and regulations that govern Capitol Hill lobbying."

From 2002-06, San Bernardino County approved more than half a million dollars in lobbying contracts with Lowery's firm to represent the county in Washington. Several other Inland Empire cities also employ the firm.

Redlands City Atty. Dan McHugh could not be reached for comment, but told the San Bernardino Sun this week that the city also had received a subpoena seeking information regarding Lowery's firm.

San Bernardino's city attorney, James F. Penman, had no comment as to whether federal investigators contacted the city.

Lowery, a former congressman from San Diego, has worked with such clients as Brent R. Wilkes, a defense contractor who was identified by his lawyer as the unindicted "co-conspirator No.1" in the Cunningham corruption case.

Cunningham was sentenced to eight years and four months in prison for accepting $2.4 million in bribes and favors from "co-conspirator No.1" and his business associate, Mitchell Wade, who pleaded guilty to bribing Cunningham.

The Cunningham case has put the spotlight on "earmarking," a practice in which lawmakers slip parochial and special- interest projects into spending bills, often at lobbyists' behest late in the legislative process and without advance public notice.

Wilkes and his companies are among Lewis' largest contributors, giving the lawmaker at least $60,000 in campaign contributions over the years. At the same time, Wilkes has paid Lowery's firm more than $160,000 in lobbying fees.


Times staff writers Peter Pae and Cynthia H. Cho contributed to this report.

LOAD-DATE: June 3, 2006


Page I



Copyright 20 I 0 Los Angeles Times All Rights Reserved

Los Angeles Times

December 4, 20 I 0 Saturday Home Edition

SECTION: MAIN NEWS; National Desk; Part A; Pg. II

LENGTH: 302 words

HEADLINE: Federal inquiry of Rep. Lewis dropped;

The Republican from Redlands had been under scrutiny over recipients of earmarks.

BYLINE: Richard Simon



After four years, federal authorities in Los Angeles have dropped an investigation of Rep. Jerry Lewis (R-Redlands), who came under scrutiny for his ties to lobbyists whose clients received millions of dollars in congressional earmarks.

"This office recently informed attorneys for Mr. Lewis that we were closing a criminal investigation," Thorn Mrozek, a spokesman for the U.S. attorney in Los Angeles, said in an e-mail. He declined to comment further.

Lewis said that the Justice Department statement "confirms what I've known from day one -- that the facts and the truth of this matter will ultimately prevail."

"I look forward continuing to focus all my efforts on cutting government spending and getting our nation onto a responsible and sustainable fiscal path," he added in a statement.

Lewis attorney Robert C. Bonner said that federal authorities "obviously took a long, hard look at some allegations and concluded that they were without merit and didn't warrant any kind of action."

The news comes as Lewis battles to reclaim the appropriations committee chairmanship he lost after Democrats won control of the House in 2006.

Lewis, the top Republican on the panel, has drawn two rivals -- Reps. Harold Rogers (R-Ky.) and Jack Kingston (R-Ga.) -- for the post as well as opposition from some conservative groups because of his years of earmarking funds for projects in his district.

Lewis has pledged to lead the new GOP House majority's effort to rein in spending. Though he has long maintained that the earmarks he sought benefited his district, he has joined other Republicans in supporting a moratorium on earmarks in response to criticism that they have become a symbol of Washington's excessive spending.

House Republicans are expected to decide on committee chairmen next week.

richard. si l110n@latimes.com


Welcome to the Website of Congressman Jerry Lewis

http://j erryl ew is .house.gov/showarti cl e.asp?ID=3 3 8








Press Releases

112th Congress - 1/7/2011

Congressman Jerry Lewis named Appropriations Committee Chairman Emeritus, Will Serve on Five Subcommittees

WASHINGTON - Congressman Jerry Lewis was named Chairman Emeritus of the House Appropriations Committee friday, and has agreed to serve 215 a senior member of five subcommittees that oversee most of the federal government's $1.4 trillion in annual discretionary spending,

"I am honored to be able to playa central role ill our efforts to Significantly reduce the runaway federal spending that has led us to $1 trillion deficits." said Lewis. who was the ranking Republican member of the committee the past four years. "EvelY appropriations subcommittee will be seeking ways to save money for the taxpayers. and I intend to be on the front lines of this battle to reduce the growth of government."

Lewis has served on the Appropriations Committee for nearly all of his career in Congress. He was full committee chairman in 2005 and 2006, and has served as chairman of the subcommittee that oversees the Defense Department and the subcommittee that controls spending for the Veterans Administration, federal housing programs and science and technology programs.

As Chairman Emeritus, Lewis will serve as the senior Republican, second to the chairman of each subcommittee. He is the only member of the committee to have such a senior role on five subcommittees, besides the Full Committee Chairman Harold Rogers, who is an ex officio member of all 12 appropriations subcommittees.

Lewis will continue his long service on the Defense Appropriations Subcommittee, which oversees the $652 billion Pentagon spending budget. He has been a strong backer of the nation's military throughout his career, and has made a commitment to support the Inland Empire's vital military installations, especially the Army's National Training Center at Fort Irwin and the Marine Corps Air-Ground Combat Center at Twentynine Palms.

He will also serve as a senior member of the Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services. Which is responsible for $235 billion spent on a programs ranging from health care to education. This subcommittee is expected to have a lead role in the debate over funding for implementation of President Obama's health care reform program, which Lewis strongly opposed.

Two of his subcommittees are charged with overseeing the nation's natural resources: the Energy and Water Appropriations Subcommittee and the Appropriations Subcommittee on Interior, the Environment and Related Agencies. The latter subcommittee includes funding for the Environmental Protection Agency, which Lewis criticized last year for over-stepping its authority in regulating greenhouse gasses.

His fifth assignment is the Foreign Operations Appropriations Subcommittee, which oversees the budget for the State Department and other international programs. Congressman Lewis has had a strong interest in foreign policy and America's role in the world since he served as a student ambassador as part of the Project India program while he was attending UCLA

For legis/ative concerns, contact Jerry at:

For casework concerns, contact Jerry at"

CONGRESSMAN JERRY LEWIS 2112 Rayburn House Office Building Washinglon,D.C 29515

(202) 225-5861

Fax: (202) 225-6498

CONGRESSMAN JERRY LEWIS 1150 Brookside Avenue. Suile J-5 Redlands, CA 92373

(909) 862-6030

1·800-233·1700 (within California)

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Bill Number:

Ex. "S. 435", "H.R. 842"


Ex: "tax reform"




Contractor Proves Key In Two Federal Probes - WSlcom

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB 116917057225880975.html?#printMode


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JANUARY 19. 2007

Contractor Proves Key In Two Federal Probes

Investigations Promise to Keep Alive Controversy Over Congressional Earmarks By SCOT J. PALTROW

A key figure in the case against former Rep. Randy "Duke" Cunningham has become a focus of the federal investigation of another Republican from California, Rep. Jerry Lewis,

The person who has emerged in both probes is Brent Wilkes, a Poway, Calif., entrepreneur, said people with knowledge of the investigation. His firm received defense and intelligence contracts with congressional help from Mr. Cunningham. The former lawmaker pleaded guilty in November to charges that included soliciting bribes from Mr. Wilkes and was sentenced to more than eight years in prison.

Prosecutors in Los Angeles are examining whether Mr. Lewis may have improperly helped Mr. Wilkes's companies obtain government contracts. A spokeswoman for Mr. Lewis declined to comment on the investigation.

Mr. Lewis is under investigation for possible improper conduct in obtaining "earmarks," or legislative language that steers federal funds to specific recipients. The continuing investigation into his actions is significant because the new House Republican leadership decided to keep Mr. Lewis, of California, on the Appropriations Committee as the top minority member, despite the probe. He had been chairman until Democrats took control of the House this month.

Mr. Lewis has represented California's 41st district since 1979. He was chairman of an appropriations subcommittee on armed services before moving up to become chairman of the Appropriations Committee in January 2005.

The inquiry promises to sustain the debate over congressional earmarks, which has been at the center of this year's attempt to enact new ethics rules for Congress. The House has passed a bill imposing major restrictions although a vote yesterday cast doubt on whether a similar bill will be approved by the Senate.

Prosecutors designated Mr. Wilkes an unindicted co-conspirator in the charges against Mr. Cunningham. Mr. Wilkes himself has been under investigation separately, by the same federal prosecutors in San Diego who investigated the Cunningham case. People with knowledge ofthat investigation said prosecutors are bringing in last-minute witnesses before a grand jury and expect Mr. Wilkes will be indicted early next month. These people said Carol Lam, the U.S. attorney in San

Jerry Lewis Diego who has been asked to resign by the Justice Department, requested that

prosecutors on the case wrap up the investigation and bring charges before she officially steps down Feb. 15. The Justice Department has confirmed that several U.S. attorneys were asked to step down for reasons it said were related to performance but has declined to give

1 of3

1/24/20 I J II :45 AM

Contractor Proves Key In Two Federal Probes - WSJ .com

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB 116917057225880975.html?#printMode


Mark Geragos, one of Mr. Wilkes's lawyers, said, "We're comfortable that everything Brent Wilkes did was above board and legal and we don't think that there is any cause for anyone to question it, let alone indict him."

Rep. Lewis' close relationship with a Washington lobbying firm, Copeland Lowery Jacquez Denton & White, is a subject of the probe. The firm was founded by former congressman Bill Lowery, a friend of Mr. Lewis.

Copeland Lowery flourished by signing up corporate and local government clients, which subsequently won earmarks pushed through with Mr. Lewis' help. One Copeland Lowery client, the Lake Arrowhead Community Services District in California, disclosed that the lobbying firm helped obtain for it federal grants totaling $680,000. After the University of Redlands hired Copeland Lowery, it obtained Mr. Lewis's help in securing $21.5 million in federal money for research and a new science center.

One matter under investigation is the tens of millions of dollars in earmarks Mr. Lewis obtained for clients of the firm, which since has split up. Prosecutors also are focusing on campaign contributions Mr. Wilkes and his associates made to Mr.

Brent Wilkes Lewis, and contracts Mr. Wilkes's companies obtained after hiring Copeland Lowery.

Among other things, they are looking for possible evidence that Mr. Lewis directed Mr. Wilkes to hire Copeland Lowery as the price for getting earmarks passed, said the people with Imowledge of the case.

Barbara Comstock, a spokeswoman for Mr. Lewis, said she wouldn't have any comment on possible links between Messrs. Lewis and Wilkes.

Prosecutors have cast a wide net, some months ago subpoenaing voluminous records from county and local governments in Southern California and companies, all of which hired Copeland Lowery to lobby for them. Many received federal money for local projects with Mr. Lewis's help. People close to the case said prosecutors have focused heavily on contracts awarded to Mr. Wilkes's companies and large campaign contributions he madc.

Records on file with the House clerk show Copeland Lowery lobbied on behalf of one Wilkes company, ADCS Inc., from 1998 to 2000, and from 2002 to 2005. ADCS, or Automated Document Conversion Systems, specialized in converting military documents on paper into computerized records. Beginning in 1997, with help from members of the appropriations committee, including Mr. Cunningham, the Poway, Calif., company began winning multimillion-dollar military contracts. Copeland Lowery disclosed receiving about $160,000 for the work. After Mr. Wilkes' name surfaced publicly last year in connection with the corruption investigations, Copeland Lowery revised its disclosure reports to state that it received more than $340,000 from ADCS. A lawyer for Copeland Lowery said the error was inadvertent.

The Project on Government Oversight, a nonpartisan organization that focuses on exposing government corruption, last year found a travel report showing that Mr. Lewis traveled from Washington to visit ADCS headquarters in 1998, shortly before ADCS received a government contract. Mr. Lewis' office confirmed that in the early 1990S, he traveled to Belize on a trip sponsored by Mr. Lowery that included Mr. Wilkes, among others.

Federal campaign records also show Mr. Wilkes and five employees or relatives donated on the same date in 1999 a total of $11,000 to Mr. Lewis's campaign fund. Mr. Wilkes and related individuals also contributed $7,000 in early 1998.

On Sept. 18,2002, Mr. Wilkes, his wife, nephew and two employees donated $10,000 to Mr. Lewis's Future Leaders Political Action Committee. In 2003, Mr. Wilkes donated another $2,000 to the fund. Mr. Lewis, as with many congressional leaders, maintained the PAC to collect funds that then could be doled out to help fellow Republican lawmakers who faced re-election fights. That largess was credited with helping Mr. Lewis get the Republican leadership's backing to become appropriations chairman.


1/24/20 II II :45 AM

Contractor Proves Key In Two Federal Probes - WSJ.com

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB 116917057225880975.hhnl ?#printMode

Mr. Wilkes and people associated with him donated in total about $60,000 to Mr. Lewis' campaign fund or political-action committee. (Mr. Cunningham received campaign donations of $84,500 from Mr. Wilkes and associa tes.)

It is illegal for a congressman to support legislation as a direct quid pro quo for campaign contributions, but direct links between contributions and actions are difficult to prove. The government must show that the lawmaker took official action only because of the donation. The Constitution's "speech and debate" clause also prevents prosecutors from using evidence from congressional debates, and limits their access to records or testimony about meetings lawmakers held to discuss legislation.

The Los Angeles prosecutors examining Mr. Lewis' actions are looking for a possible direct link, the people with knowledge of the investigation said.

In January 2003, longtime Lewis aide Letitia White left his staff to become a Copeland Lowery partner. Another top aide to Mr. Lewis, Jeffrey Shockey, left the congressman's staff in 1999 to work for the firm, He then returned to become the appropriations committee's deputy staff director when Mr. Lewis became chairman.

Through a spokesman, Copeland Lowery principals have denied any wrongdoing, A spokesman for the principals said "the firm's work is consistent with the laws, rules and regulations that govern federal lobbying, " He declined to comment further,

The Cunningham case involved soliciting direct bribes for personal use, According to Mr. Cunningham's plea agreement, Mr. Wilkes paid $636,000 in bribes, including $525,000 to payoff a mortgage on Mr. Cunningham's home,

Write to Scot J, Paltrow at scot.paltrowepwsj.corn

Printed in The Wall Street Journal, page A8

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1/24/20 II II :45 AM


Page ]



Copyright 2006 The New York Times Company The New York Times

August 6, 2006 Sunday Late Edition - Final

SECTION: Section 1; Column 2; National Desk; Pg. 1

LENGTH.: 2699 words

HEADLINE: Deal Maker Details the Art of Greasing the Palm

BYLINE: By DA VID JOHNSTON and DAVID D. KIRKPATRlCK; Sabrina 1. Pacifici contributed reporting from Washington for this article, and Aron Pilhofer from New York.



In 1992, Brent R. Wilkes rented a suite at the Hyatt Hotel a few blocks from the Capitol. In his briefcase was a stack of envelopes for a half-dozen congressmen, each packet containing up to $ I 0,000 in checks.

Mr. Wilkes had set up separate meetings with the lawmakers hoping to win a government contract, and he planned to punctuate each pitch with a campaign donation. But his hometown congressman, Representative Bill Lowery of San Diego, a Republican, told him that presenting the checks during the sessions was not how things were done, Mr. Wilkes recalled.

Instead, Mr. Wilkes said, Mr. Lowery taught him the right way to do it: hand over the envelope in the hallway outside the suite, at least a few feet away.

That was the beginning of a career built on what Mr. Wilkes calls "transactional lobbying," which made him a rich man but also landed him in the middle of a criminal investigation.

Last November, Mr. Wilkes was described as "co-conspirator No. l " in a plea agreement signed by Representative Randy Cunningham, a California Republican on the House Appropriations Committee. In the plea deal, Mr. Cunningham admitted accepting more than $2.4 million in cash and gifts from Mr. Wilkes and other contractors. Another defense contractor, Mitchell J. Wade, pleaded guilty to paying some of the bribes.

Mr. Wilkes could also figure in a related federal investigation into the House Appropriations Committee. The inquiry has focused on ties between Mr. Lowery, who left Congress and became a lobbyist, and Representative Jerry Lewis, a California Republican who is the chairman of tile committee and the former chairman of its Defense Subcommittee.

Speaking publicly for the first time since Mr. Cunningham's plea agreement, Mr. Wilkes said in recent interviews that he had done nothing wrong and did not believe that Mr. Lewis and Mr. Lowery had broken the law. Mr. Wilkes, who has not been charged in the Cunningham case, has refused prosecutors' appeals to plead guilty.

But Mr. Wilkes acknowledged that he was a willing participant in what he characterized as a "cutthroat" system in which campaign contributions were a prerequisite for federal contracts. "1 attempted to get help and advice from people who could show me the way to do it right," Mr. Wilkes said. "1 played by their rules, and 1 played to win."

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Mr. Wilkes said he was speaking now to rebut false assertions about him by prosecutors and the news media.

While it is unknown whether his account is complete and it is impossible to verify his recollections of certain conversations, many aspects of his story were confirmed by federal records, other documents and interviews with people involved in the events he described.

The Cunningham scandal set off alarms about the proliferation of Congressional earmarks -- money for pet projects inserted anonymously in spending bills -- which critics say pervert public policy, encourage cronyism and waste federal money. The 12,000 earmarks in this year's spending bills amount to $64 billion.

Offering a rare insider's view, Mr. Wilkes described the appropriations process as little more than a shakedown.

He said that lobbyists close to the committee members unceasingly demanded campaign contributions from entrepreneurs like him. Mr. Wilkes and his associates have given more than $706,000 to federal campaigns since 1997, according to public records, and he said he had brought in more as a fund-raiser. Since 2000, Mr. Wilkes's principal company has received about $100 million in federal contracts.

Mr. Wilkes described the system bluntly: "Lowery would always say, 'It is a two-part deal,' " he recalled. "'Jerry will make the request. JelTY will carry the vote. Jerry will have plenty of time for this. If you don't want to make the contributions, chair the fund-raising event, you will get left behind.'"

Lanny A. Breuer, a lawyer for Mr. Lowery, acknowledged that his client had been a lobbyist for Mr. Wilkes. But he said Mr. Wilkes's portrait of their dealings was "an absolute fabrication."

"Bill Lowery never demanded lobbying fees in return for any kind of a guarantee of an earmark," Mr. Breuer said. "He never demanded contributions to Jerry Lewis. There was absolutely no quid pro quo."

Barbara Comstock, a spokeswoman for Mr. Lewis, said the congressman was unaware of any conversations like those Mr. Wilkes described having with Mr. Lowery.

Contractors who do business with the federal government routinely contribute to the campaigns of Congressional appropriators, and politicians frequently assist constituents in their efforts to win government contracts. But legal experts say that explicitly linking official acts to campaign contributions could constitute a criminal offense, including bribery or extortion. They caution that proving criminal intent is difficult.

The culture of the House Appropriations Defense Subcommittee is one of great power and little scrutiny. Mr.

Wilkes said every member appeared to have a personal allowance of millions of dollars to disburse without public disclosure. Lawmakers, though, sometimes boast about money being spent in their districts.

In the spending bill for this fiscal year, each member took credit for an average $27 million in earmarks, with the chairman, Representative C. W. Bill Young, Republican of Florida, claiming about $125 million, according to Taxpayers for Common Sense, a nonpartisan group that tracks earmarks.

'Feast or Famine'

When Mr. Lowery became a lobbyist, he set himself up as a gatekeeper to his old friend, Mr. Lewis, the appropriations chairman, Mr. Wilkes said. At times, Mr. Lowery hinted ominously that Mr. Lewis might block future earmarks if Mr. Wilkes stopped making campaign donations and paying Mr. Lowery's fees, Mr. Wilkes said.

In recent months, Mr. Lewis has said that he barely knew Mr. Wilkes and that he did not remember seeing him in nearly a decade. But Mr. Wilkes says their relationship was closer than that.

Ever since they went on a scuba-diving trip together in 1993, he said, Mr. Lewis had referred to him as his "diving buddy." They occasionally dined together or met at political functions, Mr. Wilkes said. At a Las Vegas fund-raiser in April 2005, Mr. Wilkes said, Mr. Lewis greeted him as "Brento" and hugged him as Mr. Wilkes surprised the lawmaker with $25,000 in campaign contributions.

At his peak, Mr. Wilkes controlled a dozen companies whose work included digital document storage. The federal government was his chief customer, and he spent up to 30 weeks a year in Washington courting congressmen and agency procurement officials.

Mr. Wilkes capitalized on the system. The license plate on his black Hummer still reads "MIPR ME," a reference to a "military interdepartmental purchase request" -- bureaucratic jargon for payments for a defense contract.

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Mr. Wilkes built a headquarters of smoked glass and stainless steel outside San Diego with a 450-seat banquet hall, where Cirque du Soleil performed at a birthday party for his wife, Regina. He crossed the country in private jets and raised hundreds of thousands of dollars for the Bush-Cheney ticket in 2004, making him a Republican "Pioneer."

Nancy Luque, his lawyer, said the image ofMr. Wilkes as a swaggering deal maker was a caricature. "He had his life in Washington and then his real life," Ms. Luque said. "His real life was his family, his friends and his business."

His success, though, depended on government contracts. "It's a feast or famine deal," Mr. Wilkes said. "lfwe didn't get our earmark, we were finished."

Washington Connections

A former accountant in Washington and San Diego, Mr. Wilkes had known Mr. Lowery casually for years in California Republican circles. Because of those ties, a San Diego businessman hired Mr. Wilkes as a consultant in 1992 to help persuade Congress to earmark contracts for his company, Audre, which was seeking to convert military documents into digital form.

Mr. Lowery, in his final months in Congress, was looking for new opportunities as well. He had decided to resign after a 1992 inquiry into the misuse of an internal House bank found that he had written more than 300 bad checks.

Mr. Wilkes said Mr. Lowery set up meetings for him with a handful of House Defense Subcommittee members, including Representative John P. Murtha, a Pennsylvania Democrat who was the chairman at the time, and Mr. Lewis. Mr. Lowery instructed Mr. Wilkes to go to the sessions prepared.

"Lowery says, 'We should raise money; you get the checks,' " Mr. Wilkes recalled, describing the meetings at the Hyatt. "] was a rookie. I didn't want to separate the checks from the briefing," he said, explaining that he did not understand the need to avoid appearing to link the money to his pitch.

Although they welcomed the checks, Mr. Wilkes said, the lawmakers seemed bored by a lengthy presentation. "] became the king of the 1 O-minute meeting," he said.

Later that year, Mr. Wilkes and Mr. Lowery took a diving trip to Belize, where they visited the United States ambassador. Eugene Scassa, then the envoy, said in an interview that Mr. Lowery had quizzed him about his out-of-pocket expenses and then suggested, "You need a chuck wagon."

Mr. Scassa said Mr. Lowery pointed to Mr. Wilkes and explained: "He is a chuck wagon. If you have expenses, they pay. If you go out to lunch, they pay. If you need a pair of boots, you go out to the chuck wagon to get them." (The next year, Mr. Lowery and Mr. Wilkes returned for a diving trip with Mr. Lewis.)

When Mr. Lowery left Congress in January 1993, Mr. Wilkes hired him to lobby for Audre. Mr. Wilkes was impressed by Mr. Lowery's knowledge of the Defense Subcommittee and his confidence in being able to help deliver an earmark.

Mr. Lowery and Mr. Lewis seemed "like brothers," Mr. Wilkes said. "These guys ate dinner together a hundred times a year."

Mr. Wilkes and Audre executives gave members of the Appropriations Committee about $54,000 in campaign donations from 1992 to 1994. The Defense Subcommittee earmarked $14 million for Audre in 1993 and $20 million in 1994.

Mr. Wilkes said that at his suggestion, several recipients of his campaign contributions -- Mr. Lewis; Mr. Cunningham; Representative Charlie Wilson, Democrat of Texas; and Representative Duncan Hunter, Republican of California -- wrote a letter to top defense officials supporting the expenditures. Mr. Lewis wrote a second letter to an admiral.

In December 1994, Mr. Wilkes set up his own company, ADCS, and continued to use Mr. Lowery's services.

Later, the lobbyist got Mr. Wilkes invited to a party at Mr. Lewis's town house, The purpose was to help pay the legal bills of former Representative Joseph M. McDade, a Pennsylvania Republican charged with bribery in awarding earmarks. (He was acquitted in 1996.) Many members of the Appropriations Committee and many prominent lobbyists, Democrat and Republican, were there.

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"The set of rules that Lowery was teaching me was obviously the right set of rules," Mr. Wilkes recalled thinking.

"If I wasn't playing the game the way they wanted me to, I never would have been there."

During his Washington visits, Mr. Wilkes held poker games at the Watergate Hotel, in a suite stocked with beer, Scotch and cigars. He invited several congressmen, colleagues and intelligence officials. Among the occasional guests was Kyle Foggo, the chief administrative officer of the Central Intelligence Agency and a childhood friend of Mr. Wilkes.

Federal prosecutors in San Diego are investigating whether Mr. Foggo, who resigned in May after coming under scrutiny, accepted vacation travel expenses 11'0111 Mr. Wilkes in exchange for a classified agency supply contract, lawyers involved in the case said.

Ms. Luque, Mr. Wilkes's lawyer, said, "My client did not give his best friend of over 40 years anything because of any position he may have held." Mr. Foggo's lawyer, Mark J. MacDougall, said his client had done nothing unlawful.

Fonner colleagues say Mr. Wilkes was frank about his view of the appropriations process in Washington. "He was just on a power trip," said Steve Caira, the former chief executive of a company that sometimes collaborated with Mr. Wilkes. "You would be at a patty, and he would come out and say he paid this guy so-and-so, if you throw enough money at him you will get your share back," Mr. Caira recalled. Mr. Wilkes denied making those comments.

In Mr. Cunningham's guilty plea, prosecutors portrayed the lawmaker as eager to help Mr. Wilkes. In court documents, they say Mr. Wilkes made cash payments of more than $500,000 to Mr. Cunningham, who intervened to help him earn earmarks and pressed a Defense Department official for faster payment of an inflated invoice. Mr. Cunningham was sentenced to eight years and four months in prison.

Mr. Wilkes said that in recent years, he preferred to work with other Appropriations Comm ittee members. In 1998, records show, he turned to Mr. Lewis for help with the Veterans Affairs administration. Mr. Wilkes was then a subcontractor on a project paid through the Department of Veterans Affairs, and he wanted to take over as the primary contractor. In February 1999, he met with Jeffrey Shockey, a Lewis aide, to ask the congressman's office to intervene, according to a follow-up letter by Mr. Wilkes that was obtained by The New York Times.

When a Veterans Affairs accounting officer complained about questions from a congressman on ADCS's behalf, a Wilkes aide, Mike Williams, wrote back that Mr. Lewis was "a close personal friend of Brent's." The letter offered to "have the congressman's office contact the V.A. to put this issue to rest."

Sometimes, Mr. Wilkes said, lobbyists offered him an earmark if he could come up with a project. In 2004, he said, Edwin A. Buckham, another lobbyist for Mr. Wilkes, reported that the House Appropriations Committee wanted to make a "going-away gift" in the form of an earmark to Representative George Nethercutt, Republican of Washington, who was leaving his seat on the panel to run for the Senate.

Mr. Wilkes suggested a shipboard communications project in Washington State and got $1 million for it. Mr.

Nethercutt said he thought the technology was promising.

As he grew more confident, Mr. Wilkes said, he often considered dropping Mr. Lowery, whose fees had escalated to $25,000 a month by 2005, from $2,500. But Mr. Wilkes said Mr. Lowery threatened to block future projects if their relationship ended. Mr. Wilkes said Mr. Lowery had warned several times that doing so could prompt Mr. Lewis to cut off earmarks, saying, "You don't want me telling those guys on the committee that you are moving on without me." That meant, Mr. Wilkes said, "I'd be out of business."

Mr. Breuer, Mr. Lowery's lawyer, said Mr. Lowery did not make any such threats and called the account "pure fantasy." He pointed out that in the late 1990's the two men severed their relationship for a few years, but that Mr. Wilkes retained Mr. Lowery again in 2002.

Business in Jeopardy

In the end, it was the Cunningham investigation that jeopardized Mr. Wilkes's business with the government. In August 2005, a team of F.B.I. agents swept through Mr. Wilkes's headquarters. The flow of earmarks, his companies' lifeblood, dried up. He laid off 200 employees.

Ms. Luque said her client's legal problems were a battle that he "will fight and win."

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She said federal prosecutors told her in January that they were not interested in Mr. Wilkes's dealings with Mr.

Lowery and Mr. Lewis. "Cunningham couldn't have followed through on what he did without the cooperation of other people on the committee," Ms. Luque said. Prosecutors should be looking at the entire committee, she said.

Sitting in his office recently, the shelves lined with photographs of himself with President Bush, Vice President Dick Cheney and the presidential adviser Karl Rove, Mr. Wilkes reflected on his plight.

"I'm a dead man. I wouldn't be able to get a meeting. I wouldn't be able to get a phone call returned," he said.

"There's no way I could get a deal."

URL: http://www.nytimes.com

GRAPHIC: Photos: Brent R. Wilkes's principal company has received tens of millions of dollars in federal contracts since 2000. (Photo by Monica Almeida/The New York Times)(pg. IS)

Brent R. Wilkes (pg. I)Chart: "Top Recipients"Since 1997, Brent R. Wilkes and his associates have given more than $700,000 to lawmakers and political committees, mostly Republican.$S5,700National Republican Party $S4committees,500Rep. Randy Cunningham, Republican of $61 Califomia,OOOFormer Rep. Tom DeLay, Republican of $60Texas,000Rep. JelTY Lewis, Republican of $52California,000Rep. John T. Doolittle, Republican of $34California,700Rep. Duncan Hunter, Republican of $27Califomia,500Rep. len), Weller; Republican of $251lIinois,500Senator Larry E. Craig, Republican of$21Idaho,000Former Rep. Benjamin A. Gilman, Republican of New $20York,000President Bush(pg. IS)

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HEADLINE: Close ties make Rep. Lewis, lobbyist Lowery a potent pair

BYLINE: Jerry Kammer



From powerful positions on the House Appropriations Committee, California Rep. Jerry Lewis has greenlighted hundreds of millions of dollars in federal projects for clients of one of his closest friends, lobbyist and former state Congressman Bill Lowery.

Meanwhile, Lowery, the partners at his firm and their clients have donated 37 percent of the $1.3 million that Lewis' political action committee received in the past six years.

Such intertwining of public, political and for-profit business is legal. But because the relationships between campaign contributors, lobbyists and lawmakers are forged out of the public's view, they are not widely known or understood.

That could be changing as a result of the scandal that toppled Randy "Duke" Cunningham from Congress In the wake of the Rancho Santa Fe Republican's admission last month that he took $2.4 million in bribes from two defense contractors, there is growing concern about the Capitol Hill environment in which Cunningham prospered.

One of the defense companies that received federal contracts with Cunningham's support was a Lowery client. And some of the money was disbursed when Cunningham was a member of the defense appropriations subcommittee and Lewis was the committee chairman.

Washington is filled with lobbyists trying to get money for their clients. Some of the most successful are former lawmakers who trade on contacts with old colleagues and their understanding of legislative strategy.

The Lewis-Lowery relationship, however, is remarkable for the closeness and mutual dependence of the powerful appropriations chairman and the ambitious lobbyist, who served together on the appropriations committee from 1985 until Lowery left Congress in 1993. They've even exchanged two key staff members, making their offices so intermingled that they seem to be extensions of each other.

"Word is getting around that if you want to be close to Jerry Lewis, it's a good idea to be close to Bill Lowery," said a former Capitol Hill insider who asked not to be identified, saying he "cannot afford to make an enemy out of the chairman of the appropriations committee."

Lowery declined to be interviewed for this article. But a three-month investigation - based on examination of dozens of spending bills, lobbyist disclosure records, court records and reports by Lowery clients, as well as interviews

Page 2 Close ties make Rep. Lewis, lobbyist Lowery a potent pair Copley News Service December 23,2005 Friday J 1 :42 AM EST

with Capitol Hill veterans familiar with his work - makes clear that his lobbying success is based largely on his access to Lewis.

The son of southeast San Diego parents who ran a neighborhood hardware store, Lowery faced chronic personal financial problems throughout his congressional career. Now he owns a luxurious Capitol Hill town house and a riverfront estate in Southern Virginia.

For Lewis, the relationship has eased the burden of fundraising, which he calls "the last thing I want to do with my time."

Lowery, his partners and their spouses have contributed $J35,000 to Lewis' campaigns and political action committee over the past decade, routinely giving the maximum allowed by law. Lowery also organizes and hosts Lewis fundraisers. And many of Lowery's defense-contractor clients contribute to Lewis as part of their lobbying strategy.

Taken together, they have contributed $480,000 to Lewis' political action committee since 2000.

Last year Lewis used some of that money to wow the Republican leadership with checks for $650,000 in "excess campaign funds" to help maintain Republican control of the House. In January he was given the coveted chairmanship of the appropriations committee, which oversees about $900 billion in federal spending. He called the honor "the highlight of my career."

Beyond their close friendship, the essential ingredient in the Lewis-Lowery relationship is earmarking, the congressional practice in which special projects, sometimes derided as "pork," are slipped quietly into the federal budget without public review. Some earmarks are added just before final votes on appropriations bills, so they receive no scrutiny or analysis.

Earmarks have more than tripled in the past seven years. In 1998, Congress approved 2,000 earmarks, worth $10.6 billion. Last year it passed 15,584 earmarks, worth $32.7 billion.

As the number of earmarks has grown, so has the number of lobbyists, some of whom specialize in appropriations lobbying. The nation's capital has nearly 35,000 registered lobbyists, more than twice as many as it had five years ago. They now outnumber the 535 members of the House and Senate 65-to-1.

Norman Ornstein, a scholar at the conservative American Enterprise Institute, a Washington, D.C., think tank, is alarmed at what he calls the "pernicious" effect of earmarking - the I inkage of lobbyists, elected officials, earmark seekers and campaign finance.

"They all come together in a self-enforcing loop," he said.

Earmarking has drawn scrutiny since Cunningham pleaded guilty to taking bribes from two defense contractors - including Lowery client Brent Wilkes of Poway-based ADCS Inc. - who received earmarks with Cunningham's support,

Between 1998 and 2002, Wilkes paid Lowery's firm about $200,000 to lobby for his company's defense projects. Ornstein calls the Cunningham scandal an extreme example of the consequences of the lobbyist-contractor-politician connection.

"We now have a situation where billions of dollars of federal funds are allocated not on the basis of where it is most needed and can be spent most effectively, but according to who's sloshing the (campaign contribution) money around so they can get the earmarks," Ornstein said.

"When you do that, then ultimately you are being very destructive to the society."

Rep. Jeff Flake, R-Ariz, said few lawmakers are willing to criticize the practice because so many have something to gain from it.

"They want to make sure their earmarks stay in the bill, so no one complains," Flake said.

Even congressional staff members can have a stake in an earmark, said Nathan Facey, who left the staff of appropriations committee member Marcy Kaptur, D-Ohio, this year to go to graduate school.

"Sometimes staffers know that if they can help a lobbyist's project get put into an appropriations bill, they'll be able to get a job with that same lobbyist, which will allow them to make a lot more than what they're making with the government," Facey said.

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Lewis has vowed to slash earmarking as chairman of the appropriations committee. But at the same time he says earmarks play "a very positive role" because they meet specific needs in the congressional districts that receive them. The role of Congress, he says, is to evaluate White House budget proposals and make useful changes.

"That's why you get elected," he said in an interview at his Capitol Hill office, as his dog, Bruin, a Bichon Prise-poodle mix, lay curled at his feet.

Those who don't see the value of earmarks, Lewis said, are "way out of touch in terms of what we elected officials have to deal with year in and year out."


Lewis' willingness to sign off on earmarks has been a boon to Lowery's firm, now known as Copeland Lowery Jacquez Denton and White.

From 1998 to 2004, the firm's income more than tripled, from $1.58 million to $5.11 million, according to the Center for Public Integrity, a nonpartisan organization that monitors government ethics. It had 28 clients in 1998 and now has 101.

The biggest growth has come in the past seven years, as Lewis served as chairman of the defense appropriations subcommittee, then of the full committee.

Lowery's personal income expanded with his firm's influence, according to court records from his two divorces.

During his first divorce, from Katie Brown in 1997, he was earning about $850,000 a year. When he and Melinda Morrin divorced last year, he testified he had earned "just under $2 million" in 2003.

His finn's client list now includes government agencies, universities and defense contractors across California, all looking for earmarked money.

The city of San Diego paid Lowery's firm $960,000 to seek federal funding for transportation, sewage treatment, summer youth employment and other projects between 1998 and 2002. A number of projects were funded.

This year the California state Senate became a client. The registration form filed by Lowery's firm says it will lobby for "a fair share of federal funds" for the state.

Minutes of a 1999 Redlands City Council meeting illustrate the reasoning of many Lowery clients. Councilman Kasey Haws urged that the firm be hired because "it is expected that (the cost) will be returned many times over in federal funds received."

The lobbying duties for Lewis' constituents were handled primarily by Jeffrey Shockey, who worked for Lewis, then Lowery, and now Lewis again.

When Shockey was with the Lowery finn, his clients included his alma mater, Cal State San Bernardino.

As word spread that millions of dollars in federal money were raining down on the CSUSB campus, Dr. Clifford Young, who oversees federal relations for the school, began receiving calls from other universities and from town and county governments across the Inland Empire.

"They were asking, 'Who are you using (in Washington)? What are they doing for you? How are they doing it for you?' I get a lot of those calls."

As word traveled, the cities of San Bernardino, Highland, Twentynine Palms, Victorville, Murrieta and Lama Linda signed on. So did San Bemardino and Riverside counties, along with the San Joaquin Council of Governments and several universities. Redlands, Lewis' hometown, wanted a hired hand in Washington, as did the University of Redlands.

Nearly all cashed in with earmarks.

- The University of Redlands got $700,000 over two years for "technology enhancement."

- Twentynine Palms got $200,000 for a visitor center.

- The town of Yucca Valley got $100,000 for a civic center park and a half million dollars for a solar energy


- San Bernardino County got $50,000 for a wading pool.

Page 4 Close ties make Rep. Lewis, lobbyist Lowery a potent pair Copley News Service December 23,2005 Friday I I :42 AM EST

Among the biggest beneficiaries was Loma Linda University, whose medical center got millions of dollars earmarked into NASA's budget for research projects. Since 1988 the small Seventh-day Adventist school has received more than $ I 60 million in earmarks. Some Lewis staffers call it "Loma Lewis University."

The projects have earned Lewis the gratitude of his constituents, who during his 27 years in Congress never provided him less than 60 percent of the vote. He has become such an icon in his district that last year no Democrat stepped up to run against him.

San Bernardino City Councilwoman Susan Lien Longville told the local Sun newspaper about her gratitude for more than $1 million in Environmental Protection Agency funds that Lewis earmarked to create a lake.

"It has been the generous earmarks that Congressman Lewis has provided for us that has allowed us not to dip into the general fund or redevelopment fund," she said.

Her comment illustrates what is perhaps the ultimate political magic of earmarking. Local communities benefit while the cost is simply added to the national debt. Earmarking concentrates benefits and disperses costs.


In some ways, Lewis and Lowery are an unlikely pair.

Lowery, 58, has a boisterous amiability and loves to entertain a crowd with his bawdy humor. The affable and courtly Lewis, 7 I, has the temperament of an amused and supportive uncle.

The congressman and the lobbyist have celebrated birthdays together, vacationed together and often share meals at restaurants near their Capitol Hill homes. Lewis was the best man at Lowery's second marriage. Lowery emceed a gala for Lewis in Redlands last year. Their day-to-day contacts are made convenient by Lowery's special access to Capitol Hill.

As a former congressman, he can exercise at the House gym and walk onto the House floor. He has parking privileges near congressional offices for his 2004 Lexus, whose California license reads "U.S. Congress: C 41 r," reflecting that he is a retired representative of the 41st District.

Lewis and Lowery have often traveled together. In 1999, shortly after Lewis became chairman of the defense appropriations subcommittee, they toured the San Diego headquarters of Orin con, a defense contractor now owned by Lockheed Martin, Lowery was Orin con's lobbyist and sat on its board of directors. Lewis' political action committee got $47,000 from Orincon's executives between 200 I and 2003.

Lowery has cultivated relationships with the appropriations committee staff and with the staffs of some committee members. When the committee worked late one night to meet a legislative deadline, he sent the staff about $300 worth of sandwiches. When Cunningham's staff held its 2001 Christmas party at the Oceanaire restaurant near the White House, he paid the $1,800 bill.

The appropriations committee staff, meanwhile, has invited Lowery to birthday parties, going-away parties and baby showers. Over the years Lowery has become an active member of what Lewis calls "the Lewis family."


When the Republicans won control of the House in 1994, Lewis was named chairman of an appropriations subcommittee that controlled the budgets of a long list of federal agencies, including the Department of Veterans Affairs, NASA and the EPA.

He won praise for cutting spending at those agencies. But he continued to find money for projects in his home district.

In 1999 Lewis became chairman of the defense appropriations subcommittee, which oversees more discretionary spending than any other congressional body.

He soon won praise from budget hawks for what ultimately was a losing battle to cut funding for the Air Force's F-22 fighter. Despite that early demonstration of fiscal toughness, earmarks in the defense bills exploded on Lewis' watch.

"We used to think that Mr. Lewis would be a champion for smart spending," said Keith Ashdown of the watchdog group Taxpayers for Common Sense. "But he brought us the biggest increase in defense earmarking in history."

Page 5 Close ties make Rep. Lewis, lobbyist Lowery a potent pair Copley News Service December 23,2005 Friday II :42 AM EST

Many of the earmarks went to clients of Lowery's firm, which grew even more prosperous when Lewis' principal defense-earmarks gatekeeper, Letitia White, joined the firm in 2003. White declined to be interviewed other than to say she chose the Lowery firm from among "five excellent offers."

Lowery had worked with White when she was on Lewis' staff, treating her to occasional meals and gifts of her favorite wine, Veuve Clicquot champagne. She often received him and his clients at her office, where they discussed the clients' earmark proposals.

At the firm, White quickly acquired a client roster of two dozen defense firms for which she seeks earmarks and other special treatment. In 2004 she brought in $1.44 million in lobbying fees.

White's husband, a former tobacco industry lobbyist, had switched to defense lobbying by that time. He began lobbying for earmarks after Lewis took charge of the defense appropriations subcommittee.

San Jose-based Tessera Technologies, which is working on a project to cool electronic components to make them more reliable, paid Richard White $180,000 in 2003 and 2004, according to his lobbyist disclosure forms. The project received $4.5 million in earmarks in those years.

This was a joint victory for the Whites.

Tessera's partner in the project is Clarkston, Washington-based Isothermal Systems Research. Letitia White was the company's principal lobbyist, and she billed Isothermal $120,000 for lobbying services in 2003 and 2004.

The Whites contribute heavily to Lewis and the Republican Party.

Since 2003 they have poured $30,000 into Lewis campaigns and his PAC. They also gave $40,000 to the National Republican Congressional Committee and thousands more to P ACs established to retain Republican control of the House.

Lewis said he saw no reason to question Richard White's lobbying efforts, "He's one of the people I think the world of," Lewis said.

At the request of Copley News Service, budget watchdog Ashdown examined appropriations bills to see how Letitia White's clients have fared. Ashdown said he was astonished at her success in getting earmarks,

The overall success rate for earmark requests submitted to Congress is I in 4, Ashdown said. In baseball terms that's a .250 average.

"Letitia White is hitting about .600 or .700," Ashdown said. "She might be the lobbyist batting champion. IfI were looking for an earmark, I'd hire her in a heartbeat."

Ashdown said White is cashing in on her relationship with Lewis.

"Special interests want to buy influence," he said. "People know that if you keep Letitia White happy, you keep

Jerry Lewis happy."

Lewis strenuously disagrees, saying White's 21 years of service in his office hasn't won her special treatment. "Frankly she carries her own weight," he said. "She's a talented person who works very hard."

Lewis said White, 47, is so dedicated to public service that she asked to rejoin his staff when he took the reins of the appropriations committee. But he said no, because he wanted White, whose husband is 25 years older than she is, to build some financial security.

"I said, 'Letitia, I'm afraid you shouldn't do that,'" Lewis said. JOINING THE LAWMAKER

When Jeffrey Shockey, 39, left Lowery's firm in January to return to work for Lewis, he accepted a salary of just under $160,000.

Although that puts him among the best-paid congressional employees, it's a big comedown from the $1 million or so he likely was earning as a prolific "rainmaker" for Copeland Lowery Jacquez Denton and White.

But the finn helped cushion the income drop by hiring Shockey's wife, Alexandra, as a subcontractor.

Page 6 Close ties make Rep. Lewis, lobbyist Lowery a potent pair Copley News Service December 23, 2005 Friday II :42 AM EST

Alexandra Shockey, also a former Lewis employee, has her own lobbying venture, called Hillscape Associates. But Hillscape's address on federal disclosure forms is identical to that of the Lowery firm, where she keeps her office.

Both Shockeys declined to be interviewed, but in an e-mail Alexandra Shockey, 37, acknowledged that her client roster includes some of her husband's old clients. That means she is now lobbying congressional staffers who work for her husband - and she's doing it on behalf of her husband's former partners.

The Shockeys' attorney, William Oldaker, said the couple sought his legal advice about their working arrangement and he assured them they were complying with House ethics rules "in letter and spirit." He said the arrangement was disclosed to the House Ethics Committee "and Jeff has recused himself from any decisions involving any clients Alex represents. "

That explanation did not impress Larry Noble of the Center for Responsive Politics, a campaign watchdog group. "If what they are doing is appropriate, I think it reflects an ethics culture in the House that is blind to what most people would say are conflicts of interest," Noble said.

"People working for her husband are going to decide on issues that will affect her income and her ability to do her job, which in turn impacts on her husband."

Since 1999 the Shockeys have contributed more than $170,000 of their income to Republican causes, including $40,000 to Lewis.

Lewis views Jeffrey Shockey's decision to return to join the appropriations committee staff not as another turn of Washington's revolving door, but as proof of the idealism he says is characteristic of the Shockeys, the Whites and Bill Lowery.

"I'm very proud of the fact that these people basically are motivated by ... public service," Lewis said. "They didn't come to Washington to get rich. Instead, they came to Washington because they actually wanted to serve.

"They have attempted to make a serious contribution. And over time they have made a very serious contribution."

San Diego Union-Tribune researchers Denise Davidson, Erin Hobbs and Peter Uribe contributed to this report,

A video interview with Copley News Service reporter Jerry Kammer and audio of one of his interviews with Rep.

Jerry Lewis can be found at uniontrib.com.

Visit Copley News Service at www.copleynews.com.

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Copyright 2006 Copley News Service All Rights Reserved

Copley News Service

June 8, 2006 Thursday 11 :24 AM EST


LENGTH: 902 words

HEADLINE: Ex-contractor says Lewis asked him for favors

BYLINE: Dean Cal breath



A former San Diego military contractor said he has told federal investigators that Rep. Jerry Lewis, head of the powerful House Appropriations Committee, asked him for personal favors as he was lobbying Congress for millions of dollars in federal contracts.

Tom Casey, founder of the now-defunct firm Audre Inc., told NBC News Wednesday that Lewis asked him in 1993 to provide Canadian stock options to Lewis' friends, including former Rep. Bill Lowery of San Diego, who is a lobbyist in Washington, D.C.

The Vancouver Stock Exchange has fewer reporting regulations than U.S. stock exchanges, making transactions harder to track.

"Did you view it as an effort (by Lewis) to hide what was really going on?" NBC correspondent Lisa Myers asked Casey last night.

"It was intended to conceal his participation, yes," Casey responded.

Casey also said Lewis asked him to hire Lowery to lobby for his firm, which was vying for federal funds to convert government documents from paper to a computer-readable format.

At the time, Casey's lobbying efforts were being handled by Brent Wilkes, who has been identified as a co-conspirator in the bribery case of former Rep. Randy "Duke" Cunningham.

Lewis - who is being investigated over whether he showed favoritism to Lowery's clients - heatedly denied the allegations Wednesday night.

"I have never recommended a lobbyist to any constituent, contractor or anyone seeking federal funds," he said in a prepared statement. "I have absolutely never told anyone to provide stock options or any other sort of compensation to someone who is their advisor or lobbyist. To do so would be extremely unethical, and it goes entirely against all of my principles of good governing."

Casey told NBC that he never issued the stock options and never hired Lowery's finn. He said he has no documents or other proof that Lewis did anything illegal.

Page 2 Ex-contractor says Lewis asked him for favors Copley News Service June 8, 2006 Thursday 11 :24 AM EST

But Casey said Lewis added funding for Casey's firm to the federal budget - using wording that Casey drafted - af-

ter Casey and his associates made thousands of dollars in political contributions to Lewis and other legislators.

"You were allowed to write language for an appropriations bill yourself?" Myers asked. "Yes, I did," Casey said. "That was Congressman Lewis' suggestion."

Sources familiar with Casey's allegations confirmed that he has shared the information with FBI investigators. Political watchdog groups say Casey's story, if true, illustrates the seamy side of how companies get federal funds. "There's a Wizard of Oz effect to what Casey's saying," said Keith Ashdown, vice president for policy at Taxpayers

for Common Sense. "He's helping us see behind the curtain of a system that's been off-limits for most Americans. His story shows that if you don't pay, you don't get benefits from Washington."

Casey's firm, Audre Inc., had about 35 employees when it began lobbying for federal contracts in the early 1990s. It was on the verge of bankruptcy, because of a fractious divorce battle in which Casey's wife tried to gain control of the firm.

In 1992, Casey hired Wilkes to help him find government contracts. Wilkes' recommendation, according to former Audre employees, was to make campaign contributions to key members of Congress, including Lewis.

Although Casey said he never provided Lewis' friends with any stock options, he and his associates gave $9,253 in political contributions to Lewis in 1993: $2,253 in early April, as the Appropriations Committee prepared its first draft of the fiscal 1994 budget, and $7,000 in mid-September, as the budget process neared its conclusion.

Casey and his associates made similarly timed contributions of $2,750 to Cunningham, $3,600 to Rep. Duncan Hunter, R-Alpine - who would become Andre's chief champion on Capitol Hill - and $5,000 to Rep. John Murtha, D-Penn.

Ten other politicians received smaller amounts totaling $21,100.

In his statement Wednesday, Lewis conceded that he supported funding for Audre, but said favoritism did not play a role.

"This technology was primarily supported by the two congressmen who represented the area (Cunningham and Hunter) and had been endorsed by top members of the Defense Appropriations Subcommittee, including the Democratic chairman (Murtha)," Lewis said.

"Although I was a junior minority member of the subcommittee at the time, I felt it was worthwhile to join in that support because the technology appeared to have promise."

According to sources familiar with his story, Casey said that after he made the contributions, he met with Lewis' chief of staff, Letitia White, in the basement cafeteria of the Rayburn Building. In the cafeteria, Casey and White drafted the language to add a document conversion project to the Pentagon's budget. White now works for Lowery's lobbying firm, Copeland, Lowery, Jacquez, Denton and White.

Over the next four years, Congress inserted $190 million in earmarks for document conversion into the Pentagon budget, even though the Pentagon never asked for the money. Casey's firm received about $14 million in funds before it shut its doors in 2003, after eight years in bankruptcy court.

By then, Casey's former political consultant Wilkes had formed a document-conversion company of his own, ADCS Inc., which was gaining Pentagon funding with Cunningham's help.

Cunningham has admitted receiving more than $2.4 million in bribes from Wilkes, Wilkes' one-time political consultant Mitchell Wade and two other co-conspirators.

LOAD-DATE: June 9, 2006


SignOnSanDiego.com> News> Nation -- Lewis subject of 'earmarks' ...

http://signonsandiego.printthis.clickabili ty.corn/pt/ cpt?exp i re=&ti tl e=S ...





Lewis subject of 'earmarks' investigation, source says

<By Jerry Kammer and Dean Calbreath COPLEY NEWS SERVICE / STAFF WRITER

May 12,2006

WASHINGTON - Rep. Jerry Lewis, chairman of the House Appropriations Committee, angrily denied yesterday that he or his staff had engaged in any misconduct in dealing with lobbyists or in "earmarking" federal money.

But a federal government source told The San Diego Union-Tribune that investigators were probing Lewis' dealings with lobbyist and former Republican Rep. Bill Lowery of San Diego. The source said the investigation was a spin-off from the corruption probe of now-imprisoned former Rep. Randy "Duke" Cunningham.

"Investigators are clearly interested in what role the congressman (Lewis) may have played in steering earmarks to certain entities," said the source, who would only speak on the condition of anonymity.

The investigation is being handled by the U.S. Attorney's Office in Los Angeles, which has issued subpoenas, the source said. A second government source confirmed the investigation.

Neither Lewis, R-Redlands, nor his staff has been contacted by the Justice Department or been informed that they are targets of a federal investigation, the congressman said in a statement yesterday.

Lewis lashed out at Justice Department officials, journalists and - most bitingly - Cunningham.

< "13m angered and frustrated by anonymous sources, either inside or out of the Justice Department, who would imply Rep. Jerry Lewis to journalists that an investigation has been launched when no suggestion has been made that an investigation is needed,"

Lewis said.

In December, Copley News Service and The San Diego-Union Tribune detailed the close personal, professional and financial ties between Lewis and Lowery, as well as their staffs.

Lowery's finn has collected millions of dollars in lobbying fees from public institutions and businesses that received money through the House Appropriations Committee that Lewis chairs. Lowery, in turn, arranged hundreds of thousands of dollars in donations to Lewis' political causes.

In the Union-Tribunetuuctes, Lewis denied any wrongdoing. But his denial yesterday was more forceful, with most of his fury directed at Cunningham, who admitted to taking more than $2.4 million in bribes in exchange for federal contracts.

"Mr. Cunningham ... betrayed his oath of office, his constituents, and his fellow members of Congress," Lewis said in his statement. "I have never been as angry toward anyone in my entire career."

"MI". Cunningham was never a close friend," Lewis added. He described the disgraced ex-congressman as simply "a colleague I trusted to serve the interests of his country."

However, Lewis and Cunningham sometimes campaigned together, including a joint fund-raiser at the San Diego headquarters of General Atomics in October 2004 with Rep. Duncan Hunter, R-Alpine.

Lewis and Cunningham also worked in tandem on Pentagon funding requests that came before the Appropriations Committee, defense contractors and military analysts have told the Union-Tribune.

"Lewis and Duke worked together, exerting a lot of control. It was pretty frightening," said a San Diego military contractor who dealt with both Lewis and Cunningham.

I of2

1/24/2011 II :48 AM

SignOnSanDiego.com> News> Nation -- Lewis subject of'earmarks' ...

http://signonsandiego.printthis.clickability.com/pti cpt?exp i re=&ti tl e=S ...

The contractor spoke on the condition of anonymity because he didn't want to jeopardize his professional relationships in Washington, D.C.

ftHll(! Im9~N3Htttfeu~@gham pleaded guilty, Lewis resisted an independent investigation of Cunningham's activities on the Appropriations Committee. He said he did an informal review of Cunningham's earmarks over several years and was satisfied that they were all legitimate. http;//legacy .signonsandiego. comlnews/nation/20060512-9999-1 n 12levvis. html

Lewis said in his written statement yesterday that he would "welcome a thorough review of these projects."

i~ cIiCl<tor:;rln't·) SAVE ll-IIS I ErvlA1L THIS I Close

\ II.I OJ "CC OJU IIO( (C'PO id to requests that it release the results of his informal review. Copley News Service requested a list of fhe earniarKs, Ole

C~J1l1l~Ii~Ih# OO¥df.1ti$~dlntt1qelb$tavfcJlit11\j; amt>oo~~tilil'llltl~ Itf{iofeed.

A former director of the committee's Democratic staff called on Lewis to be more forthcoming about Cunningham's actions. © Copyrighl2011 The San Diego Uuion-Tribune LLC.

On April 15, 1999, three months after Lewis was named chairman of the House defense appropriations subcommittee, he received $17,000 in campaign contributions from Wilkes and his associates. At the time, Wilkes was vying for a project to digitize military documents in the Panama Canal Zone, which the United States was about to return to Panama.

"If you can't go to people on Capitoll-lill, it's very difficult to remain viable as a government contractor," said one of Wilkes' associates who contributed money to Lewis at the time. "You have to talk to people. And to talk to people, you have to give money."

But the Panama project hit a snag. The Pentagon did not want to give Wilkes as much money as he requested.

On July 6, 1999, Wilkes wrote to Cunningham saying "We need $10 m(illion) more immediately ... This is very important and if you cannot resolve this others will be calling also."

Wilkes' memo - contained in federal documents accompanying Cunningham'S guilty plea - then named two people whose names were blacked out by the prosecutors.

According to military and defense industry sources, Lewis and Cunningham got the money for Wilkes, founder of ADCS Inc., by using their clout to threaten the funding of the Pentagon's F-22 fighter jet.

The jet had been criticized as an expensive boondoggle by budget hawks on Capitol Hill. But it had the support of many lawmakers - including Cunningham - until it reached Lewis' committee.

During a closed-door meeting in July 1999, the committee voted unanimously to clip $1.8 billion from proposed funding for the F-22. The move was led by Lewis and Cunningham, who said at a public meeting that month, "I would not want to til' the F -22."

"Once Lewis and Cunningham stopped the F-22, they trained the Department of Defense to understand their power," said the former San Diego defense contractor. "So they were able to tell people that if you want to do any document conversion project, you'd better buy from ADCS,»

A Pentagon official told the Los Angeles Times this week that the Pentagon shifted roughly $10 million to Wilkes' flagship company, ADCS lnc., after the F-22 was threatened.

"The Defense Department spends $1 billion a day, so the CADCS) contract was like a rounding error," the official said. "It just wasn't worth putting our big programs at risk."

Funding for the F-22 was quickly restored. And the next year, when Democratic Rep. Peter DeFazio of Oregon tried to cut F-22 funding, Cunningham went to the floor of the House to call him a "socialist."

"Our kids are going to die, and it's amendments like this that have stopped our military from surviving," he said.

Lewis has maintained there is no connection between the F -22 funding cut and aid for Wilkes.

Since 1993, Lewis has received $88,252 in contributions from Wilkes and his associates. Only two other legislators received more: Cunningham and Republican Rep. John Doolittle from the Sacramento suburbs, both of whom have admitted steering millions of dollars in contracts to ADCS.

During the same period, ADCS received more than $90 million in federal contracts, 1110St of it through earmarks from the Appropriations Committee.

"From the standpoint of the average American citizen, that smells," said Ned Wigglesworth, executive director of TheRestofUs.org, a liberal political watchdog group in Sacramento. "It's good to see that federal investigators have broadened the investigation into Lewis. His relationship with Wilkes has many of the same hallmarks that Cunningham'S relationship had."

·Copley News Service reporters Matt Krasnowski and Marcus Stern and staff writer Oneil R. Soto contributed to this report.


1/24/2011 11 :48 AM


Page 1


Copyright 2006 Los Angeles Times All Rights Reserved

Los Angeles Times

June 18, 2006 Sunday Home Edition

SECTION: CALIFORNIA; Metro; Metro Desk; Part B; Pg. 1

LENGTH: 1509 words

HEADLINE: Inland Empire Shells Out for Clout;

Local entities pay a finn to push for them in D.C. though Rep. Lewis has long brought U.S. funds home. The lobbyist is one of his key donors.

BYLINE: William Heisel And Richard Simon, Times Staff Writers



Growing up in the Inland Empire, Rep. Jerry Lewis (R-Redlands) was such a star at San Bernardino High School that he captained the swimming team and his basketball jersey was later retired. He went on to build an insurance business, raise seven children, serve on a school board and enter the state Legislature before going on to Congress.

And as a member -- now chairman -- of the House Appropriations Committee, he has sent so much federal money home and been so attentive to local officials that his name is on facilities everywhere. On a community center in Highland, a San Bernardino swimming pool, a University of Redlands research center and more.

"If I want to speak to him or his office, I can contact them at any time," says Redlands Mayor Jon Harrison. Yet even though the mayor can talk to Lewis and his staff whenever he needs to, the Redlands city government pays $30,000 a year to a Washington lobbying finn for help getting federal funds for local projects.

Redlands is not alone. Over the last few years, at least 19 Inland Empire cities, schools, hospitals and government institutions have paid fees totaling several million dollars to a single lobbying firm -- in large part to help them get federal money from a congressman whose door was already open to them.

Why local officials are hiring a single firm to help them deal with such an approachable congressman is not entirely clear.

"Why do they feel a need to hire a middleman?" asked Michael Franc, a former Republican congressional staffer now at the Heritage Foundation, a conservative think tank. "It certainly raises eyebrows."

Whatever the reasons -- and different officials offer different explanations -- one thing does seem clear: Money is showering down on everyone involved.

The firm has collected hefty fees. Lewis has received several hundred thousand dollars in vital campaign contributions from the lobby shop. And local officials have apparently concluded that hiring the firm is the way to get more federal largesse.

Page 2 Inland Empire Shells Out for Clout; Local entities pay a firm to push for them in D,C, though Rep, Lewis has long brought U,S, funds home, The lobbyist is one of his key donors, Los Angeles Times June

The firm is Copeland Lowery Jacquez Denton & White, and it has close ties to the congressman, Members of the finn include former Rep, Bill Lowery, a Lewis friend, and Letitia White, a former senior aide in Lewis' office, Jeff Shockey had been a Lewis aide, then left to work for the lobbying firm and has now rejoined the congressman's staff. Shockey's wife works as a subcontractor for Copeland Lowery,

Both the firm and Lewis have drawn the attention of a federal investigation into the relationships between lobbyists and lawmakers who put funding for parochial and special-interest projects into spending bills,

The U,S, attorney in Los Angeles is exploring whether Lewis might have benefited financially, or otherwise misused his office, in earmarking funds for Copeland Lowery clients, Earmarking is the process by which committee chairmen and other congressional insiders insert spending provisions into legislation without going through the normal budget system,

A number of public agencies in Lewis' district have received subpoenas seeking documents related to the hiring of Copeland Lowery,

The firm has also represented ADCS Inc" a defense contractor headed by Brent R, Wilkes, who has been identified as a co-conspirator in the bribery case of convicted former Rep, Randy "Duke" Cunningham CR.-Rancho Santa Fe),

Copeland Lowery's fundraising effort for Lewis has been substantial: Of the $] ,3 million he has raised for his political action committee in the last six years, more than a third has come from sources associated with the firm,

The congressman in turn distributed funds to other GOP lawmakers as part of his successful effort to win their backing for the chairmanship of the Appropriations Committee in 2005,

Lewis has denied any wrongdoing and said investigators have not contacted him, He said all his actions were designed to serve his district.

Lewis spokesman Jim Specht said the congressman has never recommended to anybody that they need a lobbyist to speak with him,

"Many members of city councils, mayors and even city staff call our office all the time," Specht said,

Some local officials say they hired the firm even though Lewis was accessible, because it provides technical help in dealing with the federal bureaucracy, The manager of the Lake Arrowhead Community Services District, which pays Copeland Lowery $60,000 a year, said in a recent memo that the firm had helped secure three federal grants totaling $680,0000,

Another official attributed at least one decision to hire the firm to personal contact with Shockey, who is from Redlands, According to lobbying disclosure forms, Shockey registered the 19 Inland Empire city and institutional clients,

Others say using the firm indicates a tacit understanding by local officials that doing so is how the game is played, Lorna Linda City Councilman Robert Christman said neither Lewis' office nor the lobbying firm had suggested that hiring Copeland Lowery would improve access to the congressman, But he added, "They don't have to say that. We know that without them saying it.

"People have left his staff to go to work at that firm," he said, "You don't have to draw a big picture...."

Christman has been active in San Bernardino County politics for two decades, In addition to the Lama Linda council, he is on the Inland Valley Development Agency and the San Bernardino Associated Governments boards, All are Copeland Lowery clients,

Keith Ashdown of Taxpayers for Common Sense, a watchdog group, called it "troubling that the very people that sent Chairman Lewis to Washington" have to hire a lobbyist.

"Lowery and others have become the brokers between legislators and local officials, In the case of Lewis, most of these cities received earmarks before they hired Lowery," he said, "but now they end up paying the firm a cut of what they have historically received,"

That's not how some officials in Lewis' district see it, "We're not the ones complaining about the relationship, because we have benefited nicely in our area from Congressman Lewis," Christman said, "Whether the lobbying firm helped us get more money, I can't say,"

Page 3 Inland Empire Shells Out for Clout; Local entities pay a firm to push for them in D.C. though Rep. Lewis has long brought U.S. funds home. The lobbyist is one of his key donors. Los Angeles Times June

His comment points to the argument some officials make that competition for limited federal funds has become so fierce that local officials may fear that failing to hire the lobbyist could put them at a competitive disadvantage with other local institutions.

Patrick Dorton, a spokesman for Copeland Lowery, said, "The firm's consulting work on Capitol Hill is no different than the work done by thousands of lawyers and lobbyist in Washington on a daily basis."

It is difficult to identify all the local agencies and institutions that have hired the firm, or how much they have paid.

For one thing, some clients have worked through another firm that then hired Copeland Lowery.

For example, Lama Linda University Medical Center pays lobbying finn Jacobs & Co. in Los Angeles. In 1999, that firm hired Copeland Lowery, I isting the hospital as the sole "affiliated organization."

Since that time, Copeland Lowery has listed Jacobs & Co. and the hospital as joint clients. The hospital paid Jacobs & Co. at least $120,000 in 2005 to lobby lawmakers on four pieces of legislation. Jacobs & Co. paid $100,000 to Copeland Lowery for work on the same four bills.

Under disclosure rules, lobbyists are not required to report everything they collect from clients. For example, Copeland Lowery reported spending $220,000 since 2002 lobbying for San Bernardino County, but records show the county paid the firm close to $500,000 during that period.

The 19 Copeland Lowery clients identified from disclosure records have paid more than $3 million to the firm since 1998. At least six other agencies just outside Lewis' district paid the firm nearly $2 million.

The payments have grown substantially in recent years. Of the $3 million from clients in the district, more than $1 million was paid in 2005. The firm only had five clients in the district in 1999; by 2005, it had at least 19.

Yucca Valley, for instance, never had a Washington lobbyist before, but in 2003 it began paying Copeland Lowery $3,000 a month plus expenses.

The University of Redlands has had a longer relationship with the firm. From 1999 through the end of2005, the school paid Copeland Lowery $680,000 in lobbying fees.

Lewis helped the university secure $4 million for endangered species research, $7.5 million for Salton Sea research and $10 million for a new science center.

The school named one of the buildings in the science center after Lewis. Asked why the school hired the firm, Ron

Stephany, vice president for university relations, summed it up in two words: Jeff Shockey.

"He's a native of Redlands ... and we made the decision to follow him," Stephany said. Not every school saw things the same way.

Yi Feng, a senior official at Claremont Graduate University, said two members of the board of one of the university's schools suggested he contact Shockey.

However, Feng said, "when we presented it to our president, he said he had a philosophical problem with it. It never went anywhere."

GRAPHIC: PHOTO: FUNDS: Rep. Jerry Lewis has brought federal bounty home to his district. PHOTOGRAPHER:

Gerald Herbert Associated Press

LOAD-DATE: June 18,2006


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Copyright 2006 Associated Press All Rights Reserved

The Associated Press

September 5, 2006 Tuesday 6:23 PM GMT


LENGTH: 903 words

HEADLINE: AP Exclusive: Feds looking at land deal as part of investigation involving Calif. congressman

BYLINE: By JEREMIAH MARQUEZ, Associated Press Writer



Federal investigators probing Rep. Jerry Lewis' ties to lobbyists are looking into a land deal that put nearly 41 pristine acres in the congressman's neighborhood off-limits to developers, The Associated Press has learned.

The land was given to the city of Redlands by Jack and Laura Dangermond, who have donated generously to Lewis. The Dangermonds founded and run a company Environmental Systems Research Institute Inc. of Redlands that has gotten tens of millions of dollars' worth of contracts through the powerful House Appropriations Committee that Lewis, a Republican, now chairs.

One government contract came months after the land donation.

The land, some of which sits directly across from Lewis' home, is part of a scenic canyon in one of Redlands' wealthiest neighborhoods. Keeping the land free of development helps ensure property values remain high.

A spokeswoman for Lewis' attorneys said the congressman was unaware the Dangermonds owned the land and did not know the terms under which it was given to the city.

The U.S. attorney's office in Los Angeles, which is leading the Lewis investigation, and a spokeswoman for the FBI had no comment on the land deal.

Peter Tsamous sold the land, and another piece of property, to the Dangerrnonds for more than $2 million in early 2001. He told the AP he was questioned about it by an FBI agent last month.

Tsarnous said he asked the agent why federal authorities were interested in the deal. He said the agent answered:

"There's a congressman that lives in the area."

The Dangermonds donated the land in September 2001, about six months after buying it. The transaction, handled through a company owned by the couple, was contingent on the city agreeing to keep the property as open space or parkland.

The Lewis investigation comes amid other federal probes into connections between Washington lobbyists, their clients and the awarding of government contracts. No charges have been filed in the Lewis investigation, and he denies any wrongdoing.

Page 2 AP Exclusive: Feds looking at land deal as part of investigation involving Calif. congressman The Associated Press September 5, 2006 Tuesday 6:23 PM GMT

ESRI has received one of at least 10 subpoenas issued as federal authorities look into why counties, towns and businesses in Lewis' district chose to hire the Washington lobbying firm Copeland, Lowery, Jacquez, Denton & White, how much they paid, and what kind of communications the firm and Lewis had.

Before the firm split up into two companies in June, two of its most prominent lobbyists were former California Republican Rep. Bill Lowery, a close Lewis friend, and former Lewis aide Letitia White.

ESRl hired the firm in 2000. The company's account initially was handled by Jeff Shockey, who left the lobbying world last year to work for Lewis as deputy staff director of the Appropriations Committee.

The Dangennonds, in a statement issued through their spokesman, said they didn't know Lewis lived in the neighborhood when they decided to buy the land and donate it as part of an effort to maintain open space in Redlands. The couple said they bought it only because Tsamous insisted the land be included as part of a deal for another piece of property he owned.

"Mr. Dangennond is a landscape architect by training and interested in parks and open space," the Dangermonds' statement said. "He and his family have been active in the city of Redlands' parks for over 40 years. Their efforts have included many other contributions such as park design, open space planning, and the donation of thousands of trees and landscape materials."

Barbara Comstock, spokeswoman for Lewis' lawyers, said that the congressman was unaware the Dangermonds owned the property or had deeded it to the city and that "there's been no discussion about it with the Dangermonds or anyone else."

Less than a year after the donation, ESRI was tapped by the Pentagon's National Imagery and Mapping Agency to help provide software for a mapping toolkit.

The contract came after the defense appropriations subcommittee, which Lewis chaired, provided a $ I 5 million "earmark" for NIMA to acquire the toolkit. That amount eventually was reduced to $12.8 million during House-Senate negotiations on the 2002 defense spending bill.

Earmarks are funding inserted into legislation that often get little or no review. Prosecutors are scrutinizing Lewis' earmarks.

In 2004, ESRl got at least $31.4 million for four federal projects, according to Taxpayers for Common Sense, including $14.4 million for the Commercial Joint Mapping Toolkit. In the 2005 defense spending bill the company got $24 million for various projects.

Asked about ESRI's funding, Comstock said the company is the largest employer in Lewis' district.

''It is also the largest mapping agency in the world and one of the top software companies in the world," she said.

"ESRI has done business with the federal government for decades and brought thousands of jobs to California."

As federal money flowed into their company, the Dangermonds donated generously to Lewis. In the last three election cycles, they have given more than $23,000 to the congressman and his political action committee, according to Federal Election Commission records.

Keith Ashdown of Taxpayers for Common Sense described the land deal as "part of the sort of dating process" between Lewis and ESRI.

"The property thing, campaign cash flowing ... this is all sort of when the Dangermonds and Jerry Lewis started to date professionally," Ashdown said.

Associated Press Writer Erica Werner contributed to this report from Washington.

LOAD-DATE: September 6, 2006


U.S. Department of Justice

Criminal Division

Office of Enforcement Operations

(202) 616-0307

Washington, D.C. 20530


MAR 320ft

Adam J. Rappaport, Esq.

Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) 1400 Eye Street, N.W., Suite 450 Washington, D.C. 20005

Dear Mr. Rappaport:

This is in response to your Freedom of Information Act request dated January 24, 2011, for documents relating to the investigation of Rep. Jerry Lewis.

Our search of Criminal Division files located records within the scope of your request.

We have processed one (1) box of records responsive to your request. The box measures 9.5 inches wide, 14.75 inches long and 12 inches tall.

In light of our review we have determined to withhold all pages in full. We are withholding these pages pursuant to the following FOIA exemptions set forth in 5 U.S.C. 552(b):

(3) which permits the withholding of information specifically exempted from disclosure by statute (the applicable statute is Rule 6( e) of the Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure, which restricts the release of records the disclosure of which would reveal matters occurring before a grand jury);

(5) which permits the withholding of inter-agency or intra-agency memorandums or letters which reflect the predecisional, deliberative processes of the Department, and/or which consist of attorney work product prepared in anticipation of litigation;

(6) which permits the withholding of personnel and medical files and similar files the disclosure of which would constitute a clearly unwarranted invasion of personal privacy; and

(7) which permits the withholding of records or information compiled for law enforcement purposes, but only to the extent that the production of such law enforcement records or information ...

- 2 -

(C) could reasonably be expected to constitute an unwarranted invasion of personal privacy.

Our search of Criminal Division files also located public records within the scope of your request. If you are interested in obtaining these materials, please advise this Office. You will be charged a fee often cents per page for copies in excess of the first 100 pages. See 28 C.F.R.

§ 16.11 (c )(2) & (d). If we anticipate that a fee will be charged, we will notify you of the number of responsive pages and the estimated fee.

You have a right to an administrative appeal of this determination. Department regulations provide that such appeals must be filed within sixty days of your receipt of this letter. 28 C.F.R. 16.9. Your appeal should be addressed to: Office of Information Policy, United States Department of Justice, 1425 New York Ave., NW, Suite 11050, Washington, DC 20530-0001. Both the envelope and the letter should be clearly marked with the legend "FOIA Appeal." If you exercise this right and your appeal is denied, you also have the right to seek judicial review of this action in the federal judicial district (1) in which you reside, (2) in which you have your principal place of business, (3) in which the records denied are located, or (4) for the District of Columbia. If you elect to file an appeal, please include, in your letter to the Office of Information Policy, the Criminal Division file number that appears above your name in this



Rena Y. Kim, Chief

Freedom ofInformation/Privacy Act Unit Criminal Division


ForA Post (2009): Creating a "New Era of Open Government"


OIP Guidance:

President Obama's FOIA Memorandum and

Attorney General Holder's FOIA Guidelines

Creating a "New Era of Open Government"

On his first full day in office, January 21, 2009, President Obama issued a memorandum to the heads of all departments and agencies on the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA). The President directed that FOIA "should be administered with a clear presumption: In the face of doubt, openness prevails." Moreover, the President instructed agencies that information should not be withheld merely because "public officials might be embarrassed by disclosure, because errors and failures might be revealed, or because of speculative or abstract fears."

Agencies were directed to respond to requests "promptly and in a spirit of cooperation." The President also called on agencies to "adopt a presumption in favor of disclosure" and to apply that presumption "to all decisions involving [the] FOIA." This presumption of disclosure includes taking "affirmative steps to make information public," and utilizing "modern technology to inform citizens about what is known and done by their Government."

The President directed the Attorney General to issue FOIA Guidelines for the heads of executive departments and agencies "reaffirming the commitment to accountability and transparency." On March 19, 2009, during Sunshine Week, Attorney General Eric Holder issued those Guidelines. The Attorney General highlighted that the FOIA "reflects our nation's fundamental commitment to open government" and that his Guidelines are "meant to underscore that commitment and to ensure that it is realized in practice."

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The FOIA Guidelines stress that the FOIA is to be administered with the presumption of openness called for by the President. This presumption means that information should not be withheld "simply because [an agency] may do so legally." Moreover, the Attorney General has directed that whenever full disclosure of a record is not possible, agencies "must consider whether [they] can make partial disclosure." The Attorney General also "strongly encourage[s] agencies to make discretionary disclosures of information."

While recognizing that the "disclosure obligation under the FOIA is not absolute," and that the FOIA contains exemptions to protect, for example, national security, personal privacy, privileged records, and law enforcement interests, the Guidelines stress that the President has directed agencies not to withhold information merely to prevent embarrassment, or because "errors and failures might be revealed, or because of speculative or abstract fears."

Significantly, the Attorney General rescinded the October 12, 2001 Attorney General Memorandum on the FOIA and established a new standard for defending agency decisions to withhold information. When a FOIA request is denied, agencies will now be defended "only if (1) the agency reasonably foresees that disclosure would harm an interest protected by one of the statutory exemptions, or (2) disclosure is prohibited by law."

Establishing an Effective System to Respond to Requests

In addition to establishing these principles applicable to the presumption of disclosure, the Attorney General also comprehensively addressed in his Guidelines a range of principles applicable to establishing an effective system for improving transparency. In doing so he emphasized that "[e]ach agency must be fully accountable for its administration of the FOIA."

The Guidelines emphasize that all agency employees are responsible for the FOIA, not just those who interact directly with FOIA requesters. In the past, agencies have identified common concerns that hinder their ability to provide information to the public, including competing agency priorities that pull FOIA personnel and resources away from FOIA duties, and the lack of sufficient technological support for FOIA activities. As a result, the Guidelines stress that in order "[t]o improve FOIA performance, agencies must address the key roles played by a broad spectrum of agency personnel who work with agency FOIA professionals in responding to requests."

The Attorney General highlighted the key roles played by both agency Chief FOIA Officers and FOIA professionals in each agency. Chief FOIA Officers "must recommend adjustments to agency practices, personnel, and funding as may be necessary." The Attorney General also specifically recognized the important role played by the FOIA professionals in each agency who directly work with FOIA requesters. He stressed that these professionals "deserve the full support of the

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agency's Chief FOIA Officer to ensure that they have the tools they need to respond promptly and efficiently to FOIA requests." Those FOIA professionals, in turn, were reminded that the President had directed agencies to work "in a spirit of cooperation" with FOIA requesters and to be mindful that "[u]nnecessary bureaucratic hurdles have no place in the 'new era of open Government' that the President has proclaimed."

The Guidelines emphasize the need for agencies to work proactively to post information online in advance of FOIA requests. When responding to requests, agencies are directed "to make it a priority to respond in a timely manner." Finally, Chief FOIA Officers are asked to review "all aspects of their agencies' FOIA administration, with particular focus on the concerns highlighted in" the Guidelines, and to report each year to the Department of Justice "on the steps that have been taken to improve FOIA operations and facilitate information disclosure at their agencies. "

Net Impact

The combined impact of the President's FOIA Memorandum and the Attorney General's FOIA Guidelines is a sea change in the way transparency is viewed across the government. As a result of these directives there are now:

* New approaches to responding to requests and to working with requesters. * New, more limited standards for defending agencies when they deny a FOIA request.

* New requirements to maximize the use of technology to disclose information. * New requirements to post information online affirmatively, in advance of FOIA requests.

* New focus on the broad array of agency personnel whose actions impact the FOIA.

* New accountability requirements, particularly for agency Chief FOIA Officers who must report to the Department of Justice each year.

To implement these new Guidelines agencies must review all aspects of their approach to transparency and incorporate these principles into all decisions they make involving the FOIA to ensure that the presumption of disclosure is fully realized in practice.

Starting Point: Altering the Mind Set to Make the Presumption of Openness a Reality

The President has asked agencies to renew their commitment to the principles embodied in the FOIA in order to "usher in a new era of open Government." There are five key points agencies should keep in mind to realize this goal.

Agency personnel must alter their mind set in keeping with the President's

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vision. This is the first and in many ways the most important step. To achieve a "new era of open Government" agency personnel must think about the FOIA differently. They must focus on the principles set out in the President's Memorandum and the Attorney General's Guidelines. Most importantly, agency personnel should view all FOIA decisions through the prism of openness.

The key frame of reference for this new mind set is the purpose behind the FOIA.

The statute is designed to open agency activity to the light of day. As the Supreme Court has declared: "FOIA is often explained as a means for citizens to know what 'their Government is up to.'" NARA v. Favish, 541 U.S. 157, 171 (2004) (quoting U.S. Dep't of Justice v. Reporters Comm. for Freedom of the Press, 489 U.S. 749, 773 (1989). The Court elaborated that "[t]his phrase should not be dismissed as a convenient formalism." Id. at 171-72. Rather, "[i]t defines a structural necessity in a real democracy." Id. at 172. The President's FOIA Memoranda directly links transparency with accountability which, in turn, is a requirement of a democracy. The President recognized the FOIA as "the most prominent expression of a profound national commitment to ensuring open Government." Agency personnel, therefore, should keep the purpose of the FOIA -- ensuring an open Government -- foremost in their mind.

Second, agencies should be mindful not to review records with the sole purpose of determining what can be protected under what exemption. Instead, records should be reviewed in light of the presumption of openness with a view toward determining what can be disclosed, rather than what can be withheld. For every request, for every record reviewed, agencies should be asking "Can this be released?" rather that asking "How can this be withheld?"

Third, in keeping with the Attorney General's directive, agencies "should not withhold information simply because [they] may do so legally." Information should not automatically be withheld just because an exemption technically or legally might apply. Indeed, if agency personnel find themselves struggling to fit something into an exemption, they should be aware of the President's directive that "[i]n the face of doubt, openness prevails."

Fourth, when full disclosure of a record is not possible, agencies should consider making a partial disclosure. The Attorney General reminded agencies that they "should always be mindful that the FOIA requires them to take reasonable steps to segregate and release nonexempt information." Under the Guidelines, that review takes on an added element. In addition to reviewing records to see if portions are reasonably segregable as non-exempt, agencies should also be reviewing records to see if portions that are technically exempt can be released as a matter of discretion. Whether a release involves boxes of material, or only a few pages, it is important for agencies to remember that the increased transparency resulting from even a partial disclosure of records is worthwhile.

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Finally, agencies must keep in mind the President's directive that records cannot be withheld merely to protect public officials from embarrassment, or "because errors and failures might be revealed, or because of speculative or abstract fears." Rather, agencies should only withhold records, or portions of records, when they reasonably foresee that disclosure would harm an interest protected by one of the exemptions or when disclosure is prohibited by law.

Applying the "Foreseeable Harm" Standard

After taking all of these openness principles into account, there still will be records and portions of records for which protection will remain entirely appropriate. As the Attorney General recognized in his Guidelines, "the disclosure obligation under the FOIA is not absolute." Congress included exemptions from mandatory disclosure to protect against different harms, such as, for example, harm to national security, harm to personal privacy, and harm to law enforcement interests.

Under the Attorney General's Guidelines, before withholding a record, the agency must reasonably foresee that disclosure would harm an interest protected by one of the exemptions. Thus, FOIA professionals should examine individual records with an eye toward determining whether there is foreseeable harm from release of that particular record, or portion thereof. Each record should be reviewed by agencies for its content, and the actual impact of disclosure for that particular record, rather than simply looking at the type of document or the type of file the record is located in.

Thus, for example, a requested record might be a draft, or a memorandum containing a recommendation. Such records might be properly withheld under Exemption 5, but that should not be the end of the review. Rather, the content of that particular draft and that particular memorandum should be reviewed and a determination made as to whether the agency reasonably foresees that disclosing that particular document, given its age, content, and character, would harm an interest protected by Exemption 5. In making these determinations, agencies should keep in mind that mere "speculative or abstract fears" are not a sufficient basis for withholding. Instead, the agency must reasonably foresee that disclosure would cause harm. Moreover, agencies must be mindful of the President's directive that in the face of doubt, openness prevails.

Discretionary Release

The determination of whether an agency reasonably foresees harm from release of a particular record, or record portion, goes hand-in-hand with the determination of whether to make a discretionary release of information. Under the Attorney General's Guidelines, agencies are encouraged to make discretionary releases. Thus, even if an exemption would apply to a record, discretionary disclosures are encouraged. Such releases are possible for records covered by a number of FOIA exemptions, including Exemptions 2, 5, 7, 8, and 9, but they will be most applicable under

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Exemption 5.

For records covered by certain other exemptions, however, discretionary disclosures are not possible because the information is required to be withheld by some other legal authority. Specifically, records protected by the exemptions covering national security, commercial and financial information, personal privacy, and information protected by statute, are generally not subject to discretionary releases. Thus, for material covered by Exemption 1, which protects properly classified information, if an agency determines that the information is properly classified, no discretionary disclosure is appropriate.

Similarly, if material is required to be withheld by a withholding statute encompassed under Exemption 3, the protection afforded by that statute should be applied and a discretionary release is not appropriate. Agencies should be certain, however, that the statute being invoked meets the requirements of Exemption 3 and, importantly, that the documents being withheld fall within the scope of the statute.

If material falls within Exemption 4, it is also generally protected by the Trade Secrets Act, a statute that prohibits release of commercial and financial information unless the release is otherwise authorized by law. Here, again, a discretionary disclosure of such material cannot be made if doing so is in violation of the Trade Secrets Act. Before withholding, agencies should be certain that the many requirements for invoking Exemption 4 are met in the first instance.

For information falling within Exemptions 6 and 7(C), if the information is also protected by the Privacy Act of 1974, it is not possible to make a discretionary release, as the Privacy Act contains a prohibition on disclosure of information not "required" to be released under the FOIA. Agencies should be mindful of the need to conduct a balancing under these exemptions in the first instance and also should consider whether it is possible, given the context of the request, to protect the identities of the individuals mentioned in the documents while releasing the rest, in order to both protect privacy and to further the public's interest in openness.

When reviewing documents to determine whether Exemptions 1, 3, 4, 6, and 7(C) apply, agencies should carefully review all portions of the documents to determine whether they fall within the scope of the claimed exemption. In addition, agencies should strive to reasonably segregate any non-exempt information from such documents in order to make a partial disclosure if possible.

Factors to Consider in Making a Discretionary Release

Documents protected by the remaining Exemptions, Exemptions 2, 5, 7, 8, and 9, can all be subjects of discretionary release. Agency FOIA professionals must use their judgment in making such determinations for each document, but they should be guided by the "fundamental commitment to open government" that the Attorney General directed should be "realized in practice." Fundamentally, in reviewing a

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record the agency must first ensure that any portion being considered for withholding fits all requirements of the exemption being considered. If the exemption applies, the agency should then take the second step of determining whether to make a discretionary release of the record or portion of the record. For all records, the age of the document and the sensitivity of its content are universal factors that need to be evaluated in making a decision whether to make a discretionary release.

For records covered by Exemption 2, agencies should handle "Low 2" differently from "High 2". Information covered by "Low 2" is, by definition, trivial to begin with, thus there would be no reasonably foreseeable harm from release, and discretionary release should be the general rule. "High 2," by contrast, is premised on a finding of harm. Before applying High 2 to a record, agencies should ensure that they are not withholding based on "speculative or abstract fears," but instead are withholding because they reasonably foresee that disclosure would harm an interest protected by Exemption 2.

Similarly, for the subparts of Exemption 7 other than 7(C), agencies should ensure that before invoking the exemption they are not basing the withholding on "speculative or abstract fears," but instead are withholding because they reasonably foresee that disclosure would harm an interest protected by one of the subparts of Exemption 7. As with Exemption 2, there are certainly opportunities to make discretionary disclosures for records covered by Exemption 7. For example, agencies should consider whether records which reference a law enforcement technique or procedure are now outdated, or no longer sensitive, or not specific enough to cause harm. In such cases, a discretionary release can be made. Similarly, due to the breadth of protection afforded information provided by a confidential source, records covered by Exemption 7(0) also hold potential for discretionary disclosures. Some agencies already release much source-provided information when processing records of historical significance. Agencies can review their practices in this area to look for additional cases where greater information can be released as a matter of discretion.

There is no doubt that records protected by Exemption 5 hold the greatest promise for increased discretionary release under the Attorney General's Guidelines. Such releases will be fully consistent with the purpose of the FOIA to make available to the public records which reflect the operations and activities of the government. Records covered by the deliberative process privilege in particular have significant release potential. In addition to the age of the record and the sensitivity of its content, the nature of the decision at issue, the status of the decision, and the personnel involved, are all factors that should be analyzed in determining whether a discretionary release is appropriate. Documents protected by other Exemption 5 privileges can also be subject to discretionary disclosures.

Thus, in response to requests for records, agencies should view each request with a presumption of openness. They should strive to maximize the amount of

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records released and aim to release portions of records when full release is not possible. Agencies should not withhold records merely because an exemption legally applies. For any document or portion of a document for which a discretionary release is possible, agencies should consider making such a release and should withhold only if the agency reasonably foresees that disclosure would harm an interest protected by an exemption.

Achieving Transparency in New Ways

Responding to FOIA requests with a presumption of openness is only one element of the President's and Attorney General's vision for creating a "new era of open Government." In addition to responding to FOIA requests, agencies must look for other ways to increase transparency.

Specifically, the President directed agencies to "take affirmative steps to make information public." Moreover, the President stressed that agencies "should not wait for specific requests from the public." Instead, agencies "should use modern technology to inform citizens about what is known and done by their Government." This is a key area where agencies should strive for significant improvement.

Agencies should implement systems and establish procedures whereby records of interest to the public are routinely identified and systematically posted. This needs to be an on-going practice within each agency. To assist agencies in applying Federal agency dissemination policies for public information FOIA professionals should consult the dissemination principles outlined in Section 8 of OMB's Circular A-130. See http://www.whitehouse.gov/omb/assets/omb/circulars la130/a130trans4.pdf

FOIA professionals themselves can work with officials in their agency to seek out records for purposes of posting. Additionally, agencies can set up procedures in key offices where other officials routinely identify in advance, or as records are finalized, those that are good candidates for posting. The more information that is made available on agency websites, the greater the potential to reduce the number of individual requests made for records. More importantly, agencies must recognize that proactively disclosing information about the operations and activities of their agency is an integral part of achieving transparency.

Working Cooperatively with Requesters and Disclosing Records Promptly

The President also directed agencies to "act promptly" and make timely disclosures of information. Significantly, the Attorney General declared that "[I]ong delays should not be viewed as an inevitable and insurmountable consequence of high demand."

These directives require all agencies, but particularly those with a large volume of requests or a large backlog, to examine their entire approach to providing

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information to requesters in order to be able to respond more promptly. Certainly, increasing the amount of information made available proactively by the agency has the potential to reduce backlogs and delays. Chief FOIA Officers should be involved in reviewing their agency's FOIA operations to find areas where delays can be reduced. FOIA professionals in turn, must utilize their agency Chief FOIA Officer and keep him or her fully informed regarding the particular challenges they are facing so that the Chief FOIA Officer can make appropriate adjustments within the agency.

The President also directed agencies to act in a "spirit of cooperation" with requesters. As the Attorney General stressed: "Unnecessary bureaucratic hurdles have no place in the 'new era of open Government' that the President has proclaimed." Agencies should keep these principles in mind when interacting with requesters and work to ensure that the process of requesting information is easy. One way that interaction with requesters has improved is through the use of tracking numbers for requests that will take longer than ten days to process. The FOIA now requires that such tracking numbers be provided to requesters and that a telephone line or internet service be established so that a requester can check the status of his or her request. This is just one example of how agencies can simplify and improve their interaction with FOIA requesters.


The Attorney General emphasized that each agency must be fully accountable for its FOIA operation. He also stressed that Chief FOIA Officers must be active participants in their agency's FOIA operations. Chief FOIA Officers are required by law to be senior level officials at the Assistant Secretary level or its equivalent. These officials are required to "recommend adjustments to agency practices, personnel, and funding as may be necessary" to improve FOIA administration.

As mentioned above, competing agency priorities and insufficient technology support were commonly cited by agencies as concerns that hindered their ability to improve their FOIA operations. These are key areas where the Chief FOIA Officer's assistance can be vital. When, for example, FOIA personnel are pulled away from FOIA to work on other matters, or when IT support personnel are not available to FOIA professionals, these actions negatively impact FOIA administration. This is where the agency Chief FOIA Officer plays a critical role in prioritizing demands and allocating resources so that FOIA operations are not negatively impacted. As the Attorney General emphasized, FOIA professionals "deserve the full support of the agency's Chief FOIA Officer to ensure that they have the tools they need to respond promptly and efficiently to FOIA requests."

Chief FOIA Officers will now be required to report to the Department of Justice each year on the steps they have taken to improve transparency in their agency. This will ensure that the principles established by the Attorney General's Guidelines continue to remain vital year after year.

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The President and Attorney General have established sweeping new changes in the way transparency is to be viewed and administered across the Government. These principles require agencies to employ a comprehensive approach to transparency. This approach can be summarized in ten key elements that agencies must take into account in order to ensure that the fundamental commitment to open Government is realized.

1. The presumption of disclosure applies to all decisions involving the FOIA; agencies should keep that presumption foremost in their mind.

2. When responding to a request, agencies should approach their review of documents by asking, "What can I release?"

3. Records should not be withheld merely because they fall within an exemption.

4. Agencies should review each document with a focus on whether there is foreseeable harm from disclosure of that particular record.

5. Determinations of foreseeable harm are made on a case-by-case basis, but universal factors to consider are the age of the document and the sensitivity of its contents.

6. Agencies should make discretionary releases of records when possible.

7. When full disclosure of a record is not possible, agencies should strive to make a partial disclosure.

8. Separate and apart from the handling of individual FOIA requests, agencies should anticipate interest in records, should set up systems for identifying and retrieving them, and should post them on their website. Information about agency operations and decisions should be available to the public online. This is a key area where agencies can make real improvements in increasing transparency.

9. Agencies should work cooperatively with requesters and respond promptly.

10. FOIA professionals should work with their agency Chief FOIA Officers who, in turn, will be reporting to the Department of Justice each year so that each agency is fully accountable for its administration of the FOIA.

Achieving the "new era of open Government" that the President has proclaimed will require the commitment of all agency personnel. It will be an on-going process, as agencies continually strive to integrate the new openness principles into their FOIA operations and seek out ways to disclose more information proactively. By

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renewing their commitment to transparency, all agencies will be a part of this "new era of open Government." (posted 0411712009)

Go to: Main FOIA Post Page

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Page I



Copyright 20 I 0 Los Angeles Times All Rights Reserved

Los Angeles Times

December 4, 20 I 0 Saturday Home Edition

SECTION: MAIN NEWS; National Desk; Part A; Pg. 11

LENGTH: 302 words

HEADLINE: Federal inquiry of Rep. Lewis dropped;

The Republican from Redlands had been under scrutiny over recipients of earmarks.

BYLINE: Richard Simon



After four years, federal authorities in Los Angeles have dropped an investigation of Rep. Jerry Lewis (R-Redlands), who came under scrutiny for his ties to lobbyists whose clients received millions of dollars in congressional earmarks.

"This office recently informed attorneys for Mr. Lewis that we were closing a criminal investigation," Thorn Mrozek, a spokesman for the U.S. attorney in Los Angeles, said in an e-mail. He declined to comment further.

Lewis said that the Justice Department statement "confirms what I've known from day one -- that the facts and the truth of this matter will ultimately prevail."

"I look forward continuing to focus all my efforts on cutting government spending and getting our nation onto a responsible and sustainable fiscal path," he added in a statement.

Lewis attorney Robert C. Bonner said that federal authorities "obviously took a long, hard look at some allegations and concluded that they were without merit and didn't warrant any kind of action."

The news comes as Lewis battles to reclaim the appropriations committee chairmanship he lost after Democrats won control of the House in 2006.

Lewis, the top Republican on the panel, has drawn two rivals -- Reps. Harold Rogers (R-Ky.) and Jack Kingston (R-Ga.) -- for the post as well as opposition from some conservative groups because of his years of earmarking funds for projects in his district.

Lewis has pledged to lead the new GOP House majority's effort to rein in spending. Though he has long maintained that the earmarks he sought benefited his district, he has joined other Republicans in supporting a moratorium on earmarks in response to criticism that they have become a symbol of Washington's excessive spending.

House Republicans are expected to decide on committee chairmen next week.