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DOJ Examines Member Filings

The financial reviews by Justice were done in the Cannon Building and the Hart Senate Office building. Federal law requires that, in addition to making the financial disclosure forms publicly available, the records centers in the House and Senate also publicly reveal the names of all individuals who examine those files.

Another lawmaker who has undergone Justice scrutiny is Doolittle, whose finances were examined for 2001 and 2002. In those years, Doolittle’s wife, Julie, operated at least three different consulting and event-planning firms, according to the records. One of those, Sierra Dominion Financial Solutions, received payments from an Abramoff charity, Capitol Athletic Foundation.

Justice was also interested in the finances of Doolittle’s former chief of staff, David Lopez, examining his filings from 1999 through 2004.

The agency pulled the files of Safavian for 2000 and 2001, when he was a staffer on Capitol Hill. He later went to work for the General Services Administration, where he is accused of trying to help Abramoff lease the Old Post Office Pavilion for his clients at the time of the Scotland trip.

Justice probed the filings of Bob Brooks, the former chief of staff to Rep. Jim McCrery (R-La.). McCrery helped lead opposition earlier this decade to a tribal casino in the Bayou State, which Abramoff viewed as a competitor to one of his clients.

Most peculiar among Justice’s financial dragnet in 2005 were the examinations of the records for lawmakers seemingly not involved in the Abramoff case.

The records of Pomeroy and Sweeney were pulled on the same August day by the same DOJ staffer who looked at the records of Ney, Rudy, Berry and Lopez.

Pomeroy, who returned almost $7,000 in contributions linked to Abramoff clients earlier this year, denied having anything to do with the scandal and said the records probe must have been unrelated.

“We don’t have any idea why they were looking at us,” said Stephanie Craig, Pomeroy’s spokeswoman.

McDermott, who received no Abramoff-linked donations, also suggested that it was an unrelated matter.

“Jim has no involvement at all,” said Mike DeCesare, McDermott’s spokesman. “There’s absolutely no connection.”

Sweeney’s office declined to comment. Requests for comment from Ros-Lehtinen and Doolittle were not returned by press time Friday.

Brooke, Vasell and Brooks also did not return calls on Friday seeking comment.

John Stanton contributed to this report.

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