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Roll Call

Subpoenas Indicate Lewis Probe Is Heating Up

At least four clients of the lobbying firm Copeland Lowery Jacquez Denton & White have been subpoenaed by a federal grand jury in Los Angeles as part of probe of Rep. Jerry Lewis (R-Calif.), the chairman of the powerful House Appropriations Committee.

Federal investigators are looking into the ties between Lewis and former Rep. Bill Lowery (R-Calif.), a partner in Copeland Lowery, and are focusing at this point chiefly on Jeffrey Shockey, the deputy chief of staff for the Appropriations panel who previously worked for the lobbying firm, several sources close to the probe said.

Shockey worked for Lewis from 1991 to 1999, after which he left Capitol Hill for Copeland Lowery. When Lewis took over as chairman of the Appropriations Committee at the start of the 109th Congress, Shockey returned to the panel as deputy chief of staff. Shockey received a $600,000 package from Copeland Lowery before he left the firm.

The San Bernardino County Sun reported on Thursday that the city of Redlands, Calif., and San Bernardino County have received federal subpoenas.

In addition, an attorney for Cal State University San Bernardino confirmed to Roll Call on Friday that the school had been subpoenaed as part of the federal probe.

“We received and are responding to a subpoena,” said Carrie Hemphill, CSU San Bernardino’s counsel.

Hemphill said the school received the document subpoena on May 23, and it has until June 13 to respond. Hemphill added that the U.S. Attorney’s office in Los Angeles has asked the school not to disclose details of the subpoena, although news reports indicate that federal prosecutors are seeking information on Lewis and Copeland Lowery.

In a statement from Lewis’ office, Riverside County, Calif., was also cited as having been issued a subpoena, although county officials could not be reached for comment on Friday.

Lewis said in a statement that he has “not been contacted by the Justice Department regarding any investigation.” Lewis added: “It is my hope that whatever review that is under way in the 41st Congressional District [of California] will be quickly concluded so that Justice Department investigators can move on to more pressing matters.”

Lewis’ office declined to comment on whether he has hired a criminal defense attorney to assist him during the probe.

Copeland Lowery’s clients, many of which are in Lewis’ own district, are heavy donors to the California Republican, and they have received tens of millions of dollars in federal earmarks thanks to Lewis’ clout.

The U.S. Attorney’s office in San Diego is also seeking documents and staffer interviews from the Appropriations panel as part of the ongoing probe of the activities of former Rep. Duke Cunningham (R-Calif.). Cunningham is now serving a 100-month prison sentence for accepting more than $2.4 million in bribes, and a defense contractor involved in that scheme also has pleaded guilty.

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