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Two top aides to Rep. John Doolittle (R-Calif.) have been subpoenaed for grand jury testimony in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, as part of the Justice Department’s ongoing probe of the California lawmaker’s ties to convicted lobbyist Jack Abramoff.
Dan Blankenburg, Doolittle’s deputy chief of staff, and Ron Rogers, Doolittle’s chief of staff, notified the House Tuesday that they had received summons, as is required under House rules. Doolittle’s office had not returned a call seeking comment by press time.
Doolittle and his wife, Julie, are under federal investigation in connection with the Abramoff influence-peddling scandal. In April, the FBI raided the lawmaker’s Oakton, Va., home.
It has been reported that the Justice Department has sought to talk with as many as a half-dozen former Doolittle aides. However, Blankenburg and Rogers are the first current aides publicly known to have been subpoenaed.
Doolittle has said in the past that he is happy to have his former aides talking to prosecutors because he believes it will expedite the clearing of his name in the Abramoff probe.
In a statement Tuesday, Doolittle’s office pointed out that both Blankenburg and Rogers “joined the Congressman’s staff long after the federal investigation began.”
“I think everyone can agree that this issue needs closure,” Doolittle said in the statement. “Three years seems like more than adequate time to determine the facts. I look forward to the truth finally being established and hope that we may have a resolution soon.”
— Lauren W. Whittington