Some GOP reps seek to elect new leaders

first_img AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREGift Box shows no rust in San Antonio Stakes win at Santa Anita Doolittle denies wrongdoing and his spokeswoman said he has not been contacted by the Justice Department or the FBI. But at least one of his GOP colleagues said this week that Doolittle has some explaining to do. “I think he needs to define clearly what his issues are, if they exist, and otherwise I think it will become difficult for him to continue” in his leadership post, said Rep. Charlie Bass, R-N.H. A number of rank-and-file House Republicans, including at least two Californians, are calling for new elections for the House GOP leadership in February – with the exception of the speaker. That would force Doolittle to campaign for his leadership job amid concern over the Abramoff scandal. Doolittle serves as Republican Conference secretary, not a top post but one that gives him a seat at the table when the speaker, majority leader and others meet. “It’s important that with this election we move forward in the most positive way we can, and that would include looking at any baggage that any member may have,” said Rep. Mary Bono, R-Calif. WASHINGTON – California Republican Rep. John Doolittle secured a coveted spot in the House GOP leadership partly on the strength of his ties to Tom DeLay. And he called lobbyist Jack Abramoff a good friend. Now that Abramoff has pleaded guilty in a congressional lobbying scandal and DeLay has resigned his majority leader post, those connections are coming back to haunt Doolittle. The eight-term conservative congressman is among a handful of lawmakers, including DeLay, whose dealings with Abramoff have caught the attention of federal investigators. Doolittle, R-Granite Bay Vista, accepted campaign money from Abramoff and used his luxury sports box for a fundraiser without initially reporting it. The congressman’s wife and one of his former aides did work for the ex-lobbyist. Doolittle’s spokeswoman has dismissed concerns about the congressman’s ability to hang on to the job. “Mr. Doolittle is not concerned about the media’s irresponsible speculation affecting his leadership position,” said spokeswoman Laura Blackann. “Any suggestion that Congressman Doolittle may have had some improper involvement in matters recently disclosed about Mr. Abramoff is based on irresponsible speculation by the media and is completely without merit,” she said. Doolittle is unlikely to lose re-election in his rural and heavily Republican Northern California district in the Sierra foothills northeast of Sacramento, where registered Republicans outnumber Democrats 48 percent to 30 percent. 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!last_img read more