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Doolittle Fees Raise Questions

In literature hyping the CAF event to potential donors, a letter was signed by Julie Doolittle as the “director of community relations” for the Abramoff charity, a title that appears nowhere else in records for the foundation.

Sierra Dominion’s retainer fees halted on Jan. 13, 2003, with a payout of a little more than $10,000 meant to cover her retainer fees for January and February. At that point, Julie Doolittle had collected less than $27,000 in payments from Abramoff.

The payments dried up until the summer of 2003, long after the Spy Museum event had been canceled because of its timing. It was never rescheduled. Tax records for CAF, released by Indian Affairs, show that only a few thousand dollars in donations may have come in connection with the event.

On July 2, 2003, Sierra Dominion once again began receiving its $5,000-a-month retainer, a total of $40,000 in eight payments that ran right up until just days before the Abramoff scandal broke.

With the majority of her payments unrelated to the charity event, Doolittle’s attorney slightly altered his prior statements regarding the nature of Sierra Dominion’s work for Abramoff.

In a statement given to Roll Call last week, Stauffer put equal emphasis on the work she performed for the charity event and other unrelated event planning she did for two of Abramoff’s now-shuttered restaurants.

“Sierra Dominion, a small business owned by Julie Doolittle, provided marketing, event planning, and related services to the Greenberg Traurig law firm, and its partner, Jack Abramoff, from August 2002 through March 2004,” William Stauffer said in the statement. “Sierra Dominion had a retainer arrangement with Greenberg Traurig under which it provided services concerning the Spy Museum event and also the Signatures and Stacks restaurants.”

Stauffer and Doolittle’s office declined repeated requests to further explain what sort of event planning she performed for the Abramoff restaurants. They also declined to explain the interruption in payments in early 2003 and the resumption in July.

Nor was there an explanation for why, if Mrs. Doolittle was doing event planning for privately owned restaurants, she ended up on the monthly payroll of an international law firm.

Greenberg Traurig, through a spokeswoman in its New York office, declined to comment on anything related to Julie Doolittle’s retainer deal. “Our firm continues to cooperate fully with ongoing government investigations, and refrains from commenting on matters that are the subject of such investigations,” the firm said in a statement.

Just before Sierra Dominion’s retainer deal resumed in early July, Rep. Doolittle wrote then-Interior Secretary Gale Norton asking her to reverse a decision by the Bureau of Indian Affairs, hoping to allow the Sac and Fox Tribe of the Mississippi in Iowa to reopen its casino.

“I am also concerned with the economic disruption caused by the BIA’s actions. ... The closure [of the casino] has placed tremendous strain on the tribe and its surrounding communities,” Doolittle wrote on June 12, 2003.

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