Rep. John Doolittle has decided to temporarily give up his House Appropriations Committee seat after FBI agents searched his house in a congressional influence-peddling investigation.
The decision by Doolittle, R-Calif., to be announced Thursday, was confirmed by two Republican congressional staffers who spoke on condition of anonymity because the news was not yet public.
The lawmaker's decision followed by a day the disclosure of the raid on his Oakton, Va., home last Friday. FBI agents had a search warrant for information connected with a fundraising business run by Doolittle's wife, Julie, that had done work for convicted GOP lobbyist Jack Abramoff.
The search on the Doolittles' home came the same day that Kevin Ring, a former Doolittle aide who went on to work for Abramoff, abruptly resigned his law firm job without explanation.
Doolittle's ties to Abramoff have been under investigation in the ongoing probe that already sent one former Republican congressman, Bob Ney of Ohio, to jail on a guilty plea to charges of conspiracy and making false statements.
Doolittle is a Northern California conservative and ally of former House Majority Leader Tom DeLay. He called Abramoff a friend and the two had numerous connections. Among them, Doolittle accepted tens of thousands of dollars in campaign cash from Abramoff and interceded on behalf of his Indian tribe clients.
Julie Doolittle's company, Sierra Dominion Financial Solutions Inc., was paid a near-monthly retainer by Abramoff's firm Greenberg Traurig from September 2002 to February 2004.
(Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)