San Diego's seldom-read alternative paper, the San Diego Weekly Reader, has a brief story this week on the decision of the San Diego State University Research Foundation to terminate its relationship with lobbyist and former Rep. Bill Lowery, now under investigation along with House Appropriations Committee Ranking Minority Jerry Lewis.
The San Diego State University Research Foundation has parted company with the firm of ex–GOP congressman Bill Lowery, its longtime lobbyist, who is currently under scrutiny by a federal grand jury in Los Angeles for his role in obtaining congressional earmarks for defense contractor Brent Wilkes, convicted in the Randy “Duke” Cunningham bribery case. The ongoing investigation reportedly centers on allegations that Lowery funneled campaign contributions to his friend and former colleague, Republican congressman Jerry Lewis of San Bernardino, in exchange for Lewis’s assistance in earmarking hundreds of millions of dollars for Wilkes and other clients, including the foundation. Both Lowery and Lewis have denied any wrongdoing. Campaign filings show that Lewis has spent a total of $1.27 million on legal fees over the past three years, $105,000 of it in the last quarter of 2007.
It's nice to know that the investigation continues, since the Justice Department has consistently put lawyers inches from retirement in charge of the case, and then had to start over following their retirements. Especially since Lewis had the gall in mid-February to come out in defense of earmarks, right around the same time that reports surfaced on his eye-popping $137 mllion in earmarks the previous year.