San Bernardino County, Calif., has been subpoenaed by a federal grand jury for records connected to House Appropriations Committee Chairman Jerry Lewis and a lobbying firm with strong ties to Lewis, a county official said.
The subpoena asked for all records of the county’s correspondence with Lewis, R-Calif., and his staff and with the lobbying firm, Copeland, Lowery, Jacquez, Denton, & White, which employs former California Republican Congressman Bill Lowery, said San Bernardino County’s chief deputy counsel, Daniel B. Haueter.
Haueter said that the county, which hired Copeland, Lowery in 2002, was complying.
The subpoena was first reported Thursday by The Sun of San Bernardino.
A spokesman for the U.S. Attorney’s office declined to comment and Lewis’ spokesman did not immediately return a call for comment. Lewis has previously denied any wrongdoing in his ties to Lowery.
Lowery and some of his clients have donated heavily to Lewis. The firm’s clients have received millions of dollars in federal project money.
“This work was bread and butter, run of the mill, routine appropriations. It was consistent with the laws, rules and regulations governing Capitol Hill lobbying,” said Patrick Dorton, a spokesman for Copeland, Lowery, Jacquez. “This kind of work happens in Washington every day, every month and every year on behalf of municipalities.”
He declined to say whether the firm had been subpoenaed.
The ties between Lewis and Lowery include staffers who have worked for both of them. Jeff Shockey, deputy staff director of the Appropriations Committee, worked first for Lewis, then went to work for Lowery in 1999, and returned last year to Lewis’ staff _ getting $600,000 in severance payments from Lowery’s firm. Another Lewis aide, Letitia White, became a lobbyist for Lowery in 2003.
According to lobbying forms, San Bernardino County paid Lowery’s firm $60,000 last year for representation on appropriations and budget bills. White is listed as one of the lobbyists representing the county.
The investigation into Lewis is reportedly tied to the investigation that resulted in the bribery conviction of former Rep. Randy “Duke” Cunningham. One of the defense firms implicated in bribing Cunningham, ADCS Inc., was a client of Lowery’s.