Thursday, October 16, 2008

Hey, it's not like we live in France or anything - who does Jerry Lewis talk to?

This place can be very confusing.

When I received a job interview request in 1983, I was told to fly to Ontario, and I was told that Ontario was in southern California.

Then I arrived here, and I was told that Jerry Lewis was my Congressman.

Eventually the area was redistricted (yes, Jay Kim was my Congressman), but Jerry Lewis has hung around the Hill, long enough for George Watson and Andrew Edwards to write some things about him.


[Q]uestions have hovered around the congressman for three years because of a federal investigation into his relationships with lobbyists and contractors.

Two years ago, Lewis snubbed The [San Bernardino] Sun editorial board's annual endorsement meeting with candidates. On Wednesday, Lewis came before the board and for the first time discussed the issue with modest detail.

In some ways, it was enlightening. In others, it was quite disappointing.

Lewis complained that the ongoing investigation sounded like a fishing expedition, which prompted Watson to review some things in the article:

Lewis was good friends with Bill Lowery, a former congressman whose D.C. lobbying firm gave more than a third of the $1.3million raised by Lewis' political action committee over a five-year span. In turn, Lowery's defense contractor clients received hundreds of millions of dollars in contracts.

Two of Lewis' aides went to work for Lowery's firm, receiving huge pay boosts. One of them, Letitia White, bought a $1million house with one of the defense contractors.

White and the contractor then started a political action committee. They hired Lewis' stepdaughter, Julia Willis-Leon, whose previous job was planning weddings, to be the director of the PAC and lobby DC lawmakers ... from Las Vegas. The PAC then paid her $42,000, about a third of the $115,000 it raised and more than it gave out to anyone else.

But the Sun's editorial board isn't the only group that's been snubbed by Lewis. Edwards:

Campaign officials for Tim Prince, a San Bernardino Democrat attempting to oust long-serving Redlands Republican Jerry Lewis from the House of Representatives, are upset by what they see as Lewis' persistent efforts to avoid a head-to-head debate.

Lewis then offered this comment:

"I really believe that there should be a free exchange here, but I'm really concerned about why people want to be in public affairs, and it seems my opponent desperately wants to be in public office."

Pot? Kettle?

P.S. For those who know me, the title of this post merely refers to the fame of the other Jerry Lewis, and is not meant in any way to be a commentary on any business transactions with which I may be familiar. Although I am practicing my "bonjour."

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