A federal grand jury has issued subpoenas to six aides to embattled GOP Rep. John Doolittle (Calif.), who is under investigation by the Justice Dept. over his ties to imprisoned former Republican lobbyist Jack Abramoff.
The subpoenas were issued to Ron Rogers, Doolittle's chief of staff; Dan Blankenburg, deputy chief of staff; Alisha Perkins, scheduler; Evan Goitein, legislative director; Martha Franco, senior executive assistant; and Gordon Hinkle, field rep.
The subpoenas are the latest sign that the federal corruption probe of Doolittle is continuing to gather steam. Doolittle's home was searched by FBI agents earlier this year. The agents were looking for any evidence regarding Doolittle's ties to Abramoff. Julie Doolittle, the congressman's wife, did consulting work for Abramoff, and Doolittle himelf wrote letters to the Bureau of Indian Affairs on behalf of several of Abramoff's Indian gaming clients.
Doolittle has denied any wrongdoing, and he has accused the Justice Dept. of harassing him and his wife, but after his home was searched, House GOP leaders forced him to give up his seat on the powerful Appropriations Committee.
Doolittle's office could not be reached for comment on the subpoenas at press time.
Update: The Associated Press is reporting that Dollittle has been subpoenaed for his legislative records going back 11 years (viatalkingpointsmemo.com). Doolittle will fight the subpoena, arguing that this investigation violates the balance of powers between the legislative and executive branch, according to his lawyer, David Barger.