John Doolittle

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John Doolittle served the 4th Congressional district of California from 1991-2008

John Taylor Doolittle, a Republican, represented the 4th District of California in the U. S. House of Representatives from 1991-2008. (map) He posts his daily schedule online (available here).

Record and controversies

General information about important bills and votes for can be found in Congresspedia's articles on legislation. You can add information you find on how John Doolittle voted by clicking the "[edit]" link to the right and typing it in. Remember to cite your sources!

State Children's Health Insurance Program (SCHIP)

In 2007, Congress took up the reauthorization of the State Children's Health Insurance Program, which provides health care for about 6 million children and 670,000 adults from families who earn too much money qualify for Medicare but not enough to afford health insurance. Congressional Democrats and many Republicans tried to use the opportunity to dramatically expand the program but were opposed by President George W. Bush and other Republicans. In 2006, 5.4 million children were eligible but not enrolled in SCHIP or Medicaid and 9.4 million total children were uninsured.

John Doolittle voted against the first House bill, which passed along party lines. It would have added $47 billion over five years to the $25 billion cost of the program and added about 5 million people to the program, including children, some legal immigrants, pregnant women and adults aged 18 and 19. The bill was financed mainly by an increase in cigarette taxes.[1]

House Democrats, with 45 Republicans, later compromised and passed a bill which expanded the plan by $35 billion and would have insured about 3.5 million more children from families generally making between 250% and 300% of the federal poverty line (about $51,000 to $62,000 for a family of four). Most non-pregnant, childless adults were excluded, as were most legal immigrants and all illegal immigrants. Doolittle voted against the bill.[2]

After President Bush vetoed the bill, Democratic leaders attempted to override the veto with the same bill but failed. Doolittle voted against the bill.[3]

House Democrats then attempted to override it with another bill, which gave into Republican demands for increased checks for citizenship, the quick phasing-out of adult coverage, a hard limit of 300% of the federal poverty level and funding for families that covered their children through private insurance instead. Republicans, angry that the vote was scheduled during massive fires in California, blocked the veto override. Doolittle voted against the bill.[4] For details on the bills and the debate, see the main State Children's Health Insurance Program page.

Iraq War

Doolittle voted for the Authorization for Use of Military Force Against Iraq Resolution of 2002 that started the Iraq War.[1]

In October 2006, long after several U.S. government agencies had concluded that Iraq had not possessed weapons of mass destruction prior to the invasion, Doolittle stated to campaign supporters that he still believed said weapons would be located.[2]

On July 5, 2007, Doolittle "said U.S. troops should be pulled back from the front lines 'as soon as possible' and the fighting turned over to Iraqi forces.' ... A longtime supporter of the war, Doolittle called the situation in Iraq a 'quagmire ... We've got to get off the front lines as soon as possible, ... And in my mind that means something like the end of the year. We just can't continue to tolerate these kinds of losses.'"[3]

For more information see the chart of U.S. House of Representatives votes on the Iraq War.

Environmental record

For more information on environmental legislation, see the Energy and Environment Policy Portal

As late as April 2006, Doolittle also served on the advisory board of National Wilderness Institute, an organization that claims to be the "voice of reason on the enviornment." NWI is dedicated to weakening the Endangered Species Act and other environmental protections.[4]

Project Evergreen

In early 2000, Doolittle wrote a letter announcing "Project Evergreen," seeking suggestions from conservative supporters on administrative measures that could be advanced following the election of Texas Gov. George W. Bush as president. He stated, "When I speak before or meet with Americans concerned by the extremism of the so-called environmentalist movement, I often find myself counseling only defensive action. But rather than complaining and beating back Clinton administration proposals, we may soon have the chance to take the initiative with a new Republican president. I would like to assemble a list of Executive Orders and rule changes that a new president can enact immediately upon taking office to go on the offensive against the extreme environmentalists. The real changes enacted by a new administration occur in the first year or so. By putting together a master plan now, we can ensure that this tremendous opportunity is not wasted." [5] (Note: Doolittle's Project Evergreen is not to be confused with a group with the same name announced in 2005 as being formed by "US pesticide makers, applicators, garden centres and mower manufacturers.")

Posts his schedule online

Doolittle posts his daily schedule online. It can be found here, or perhaps as an RSS feed from the Sunlight Foundation's Punch Clock Campaign.

Jack Abramoff investigation

Failure to report skybox fundriaser

John Doolittle, a Mormon, is an "ardent opponent of casino gambling," yet he held a fundraiser at a Wizards-Kings basketball game in a skybox paid for by lobbyist Jack Abramoff's tribal casino clients. [6] According to the Washington Post, Doolittle was "particularly close to Abramoff" and later referred to him as one of his "closest friends." [7]

Doolittle failed to report the skybox fundraiser in his FEC filings. [8] His spokesperson, Laura Blackman, claims "It was an in-kind contribution, and it was an oversight that it wasn't reported, but we are taking steps to correct that." [9]

Donations and favors

In addition to giving Doolittle access to his skyboxes, Abramoff personally donated $4,000 to Doolittle's congressional campaigns from 1999 until his 2006 conviction. Doolittle wrote a total of three letters to the Interior Department favorable to Abramoff's tribal clients. In June 2003, he wrote to Interior Secretary Gale Norton "criticizing the Bush administration's response to a tribal government dispute involving the Sac & Fox Tribe of the Mississippi in Iowa." And in October of 2003, "Doolittle appealed in a letter to the secretary for quicker action for a Massachusetts tribe, the Mashpee Wampanoag, that was seeking federal recognition." [10] He was also one of 26 lawmakers who wrote to Norton "urging her to reject an Indian casino opposed by Abramoff's tribal clients." [11] Prior to signing the letter, Doolittle received a $1,000 contribution from Abramoff. Two months later, Doolittle received another $16,000 in contributions from Abramoff's tribal clients and "[b]y year's end, Doolittle also had used Abramoff's Washington, D.C. restaurant to cater a campaign event and received an additional $15,000 from tribes." [12]

Also, Doolittle's chief of staff Kevin Ring left Doolittle's office to work at Abramoff's lobbying firm, Greenberg Traurig.

Advocate for Northern Mariana Islands

In August 2006, a TPMmuckraker investigation revealed that Doolittle met several times with members of Jack Abramoff’s lobbying firm to discuss the concerns of the Northern Marianas (CNMI) government, which had been an Abramoff client since 1994. In 2001, Doolittle was able to secure $400,000 for the islands through his membership on the House Appropriations Committee. The money funded a study by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers on possible "improvements to [the CNMI's] water infrastructure."

In addition to securing money for the the islands, Doolittle met several times with Marianas officials, particuarly Ben Fitial, a close Abramoff associate who rose from Speaker of the House to be Governor of the Marianas. Doolittle visited the islands in February 1999 as part of a congressional delegation. On two occasions, in April of 2000 and April of 2001, he met with Fitial in Washington D.C. Finally, in August 2001, he endorsed Fitial in his run for governor, citing his ability to "get things done" and "[persuade] the Congress."

Julie Doolittle's fundraising

Julie Doolittle received intense scrutiny for her fundraising operation, Sierra Dominion Financial Services Inc. Two of her clients were her husband's campaign committee and leadership PAC from which she received a 15% commission from every donation. The Washington Post provided an example of how she, and her husband, profited every time Doolittle received a contribution:

The United Parcel Service PAC, for example, has given $15,000 to the leadership PAC and $10,000 to the campaign committee, which, in turn, means a commission of $3,750 for Julie Doolittle's company. [13]

As of 2006, she had received at least $215,000 from Doolittle's various campaign committees since 2001. [14]

Fred Wertheimer, president of Democracy 21, was quoted as saying, “I don’t know if there’s anything comparable…If this is okay, it is a road map for how to convert substantial sums of campaign money to personal use.” [15]

Julie's other three clients were Jack Abramoff's lobbying firm, Greenberg Traurig, his restaurant Signatures, and the Korea-U.S. Exchange Council, an outfit founded by Ed Buckham that operated out of the offices of his Alexander Strategy Group. [16]


The Justice Department became interested in Doolittle and his ties to Abramoff. [17] In 2005, a spokesman for Doolittle, Laura Blackann, stated "The congressman has not been subpoenaed or questioned by the Justice Department." [18] However, his wife Julie's firm, Sierra Dominion Financial Solutions, received a subpoena in 2004 from the grand jury investigating Abramoff. [19] (See Julie Doolittle's Fundraising for more)

On April 17, 2006, it was reported that Doolittle had hired a lawyer to answer questions about his relationship with Abramoff. The lawyer, David G. Barger, worked as an associate of independent counsel Ken Starr in the Whitewater investigation. [20]

In October 2006, it was revealed that Doolittle had paid the lawyer over $38,000 to speak with the Justice Department during 2006. Despite this, Doolittle still maintained that he was not the target of any investigation. [21]

On June 25, 2007, it was revealed that Doolittle's former chief of staff David Lopez, under subpoena, provided documents pertaining to campaign finance records to federal prosecutors investigating the congressman and his wife. Conversations between Lopez's lawyers and the Justice Department had been ongoing since the fall of 2006, but the former aide stated that he had still not been in direct contact with the department.[5]

FBI raids Doolittle's Virginia home

In "recent days" prior to April 17, 2007, the FBI raided Doolittle's Northern Virginia home, which also is the house where Doolittle's wife, Julie Doolittle, ran the fundraising company, Sierra Dominion Financial Solutions Inc. [22]

On May 8th The Hill reported that Rep. Doolittle accused embattled Attorney General Alberto Gonzales of timing FBI raids on his home to relieve pressure in regards to the congressional attorney firing hearings. Doolittle stated that, during the raids,

The agents systematically searched our home, removing every book, turning over every couch cushion and every pot and pan, and rummaging through every drawer, file cabinet, cupboard and closet.[6]

Doolittle resigns from Appropriations Committee

On April 19, 2007, Doolittle gave up his seat on the Appropriations Committee "in the wake of FBI agents searching his house in a congressional influence-peddling investigation."

Main article: Members of Congress under investigation

Doolittle announced his plans on running again

Rep. John Doolittle called his critics "weasels" as he stated his intent to run for office again. While investigations were still taking place on Doolittle's ties to jailed lobbyist Jack Abramoff, he says, "I will not step aside. I am running again, period." His potential charges and primary opponents have brought increasing doubt on his chances of winning. Yet, Doolittle says that he looks forward to the fight.[7]

Doolittle subpoenaed

Prosecutors subpoenaed Doolittle demanding "virtually every record including legislative records" for the past 11 years. Doolittle's attorney, David Barger said that because the Constitution prohibits the executive branch from using its law enforcement powers to interfere with legislative business, the subpoenas "raise serious constitutional issues going to the very core" of the separation of powers between the Congress and the executive branch.[8]

Legal defense fund and donations from members of Congress

Doolittle established a legal defense fund that collected a total of $31,750 from 25 donors and spent $28,228 on legal fees to two firms. Donations from members of Congress include $10,000 from Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah), $1,000 from Sen. Wayne Allard (R-Colo.), $1,500 from Rep. Jack Kingston (R-Ga.) and $5,000 from Rep. Wally Herger (R-Calif.). The donations from four members of Congress showed at least some support from his colleagues after recent reports indicated that House GOP leaders were trying to convince him to retire at the end of the term. [9]

Other ethics controversies

Fined for 1984 campaign malfeasance

After Doolittle's 1984 State Senate victory over Ray Johnson, Doolittle, his Democratic opponent, and his campaign consultants were fined by the California Fair Political Practices Commission for coordinating "the production of a mass mailer sent on behalf of Doolittle's Democratic opponent, Jack Hornsby." Their intent was "to bring Democratic candidate Hornsby into the three-way race with Doolittle and former state Senator Ray Johnson, thus pulling votes away from Johnson to Hornsby for the benefit of Doolittle." Doolittle "was negligent prior to the election for not making further inquiry into the matter once [Doolittle aide John Feliz] informed him of the mailer's existence." [10]

Connection to another lobbyist convicted of bribery

Doolittle has come under fire for an earmark he secured for the company, PerfectWave Technologies, owned by Brent Wilkes, an alleged co-conspirator with jailed former Rep. Duke Cunningham (R-Calif.). Doolittle "told The Washington Post that he helped steer defense funding, totaling $37 million, to a California company, whose officials and lobbyists helped raise at least $85,000 for Doolittle and his leadership political action committee from 2002 to 2005." [23] Doolittle has stated that Wilkes was a close friend and stated that he hopes the charges against him are proven false. [24] Doolittle was introduced to Wilkes by former Tom DeLay chief of staff Ed Buckham, who is currently under investigation in connection to the Jack Abramoff scandal. [25]

Used campaign funds to pay for daughter's child care

A May 16, 2006 Washington Post editorial showed that Doolittle had used his leadership PAC to pay for his daughter's child care, spending $5,881 since 2001. [26] Doolittle's annual congressional salary was $165,000 and his wife's fundraising operation had already netted her around $100,000 in the 2006 election cycle. The average family income for a family of four was, as of 2006, $70,700. [27]

Fought federal investigation into GOP donor

On January 8, 2006, the LA Times reported, "Reps. John Doolittle and Richard Pombo joined forces with former House Majority Leader Tom DeLay of Texas to oppose an investigation by federal banking regulators into the affairs of Houston millionaire Charles Hurwitz, documents recently obtained by The Times show." [28] Furthermore, "When the FDIC persisted, Doolittle and Pombo - both considered proteges of DeLay - used their power as members of the House Resources Committee to subpoena the agency's confidential records on the case, including details of the evidence FDIC investigators had compiled on Hurwitz." [29] Consequently, "the investigation was ultimately dropped." [30]

The Times explained "In key aspects, the Hurwitz case follows the pattern of the Abramoff scandal: members of Congress using their offices to do favors for a politically well-connected individual who, in turn, supplies them with campaign funds. Although Washington politicians frequently try to help important constituents and contributors, it is unusual for members of Congress to take direct steps to stymie an ongoing investigation by an agency such as the FDIC." [31]

The article concluded, "in the Hurwitz case, Doolittle and Pombo were in a position to pressure the FDIC and did so. Pombo received a modest campaign contribution. In another case, Pombo helped one of Abramoff's clients, the Mashpee Indians in Massachusetts, gain official recognition as a tribe; the congressman received contributions from the lobbyist and the tribe in that instance." [32] [33] [34]

Other issues and quotes

  • Doolittle, through communications aide George Hinckle, demanded that a Blue Star Mom active in supporting the troops clear all her comments through him. (Audio)
  • Dolittle sponsored a measure in 2006 (H. Con. Res. 302), in his words, "supporting the national motto of the United States, 'In God We Trust,' in response to recent attempts to strip the motto and all things pertaining to 'God' from our national heritage." It was needed, he said, because "a liberal front is underway to find God and all things pertaining to Him unconstitutional." [11]
  • "He's honest, ... And he is a member's member" Doolittle said of Tom DeLay [12]
  • "Republican activists have come to know Tom DeLay as a conservative fighter, someone you can count on for leadership, ... When [he] catches on a bit more, I would think you're talking about someone with a national following and image along the lines of Newt Gingrich." [13]

Statements about Doolittle

Sacramento Bee columnist Pete Dexter said Doolittle is "a lying, unprincipled, crooked piece of human garbage." Will Doolittle do time?

Former Senate Republican colleague Ray Johnson said, concerning Doolittle, "Oh God, can't we just drown him and get it over with?" [35]


Doolittle was born October 30, 1950 in Glendale, California. He grew up in Cupertino, California, was educated at the University of California, Santa Cruz and the University of the Pacific, and was a lawyer, a legislative aide to state Senator Bill Richardson, and member of the California State Senate before entering the House.

In a 1980 race for State Senate Doolittle "stunned the political establishment" by defeating Democrat Al Rodda. Doolittle was quickly pushed out of his seat by the redistricting done by the Democratic legislature in 1981. Doolittle lost a 1982 challenge, but eventually won another State Senate in 1984 defeating Republican-turned-independent Ray Johnson.[36]

In his first years in congress, as a member of the Gang of Seven, Doolittle worked to expose corruption. He, and the other six members, had a role in exposing the House banking scandal.

Doolittle is also known for boosterism of the Auburn Dam project. His stated reason for supporting the project is for flood control for Sacramento. Opponents of the project have complained that the Dam will accelerate sprawl east of Sacramento, and that Placer County already has one of the highest growth rates in the country, notwithstanding.

Citing flooding in New Orleans during Hurricane Katrina in the fall of 2005, Doolittle pointed once again to the need for an Auburn Dam. However, critics argue that the Gulf Coast which has a Hurricane season and the torrential rainfalls associated with it, is not a valid comparison to a region of the country which historically often has droughts, and claim that Folsom and Nimbus Dams should suffice in an intense rainy season.

2006 elections

In 2006, the Democrats nominated Charlie Brown, and the Libertarian Party nominated Dan Warren to face Doolittle in his November 2006 bid for reelection. (See U.S. congressional elections in 2006) [37]

In August 2005, a controversial set of political ads aired on a freeway billboard attacking Doolittle were taken down after the Roseville Auto Mall complained about the spots.[38] The ads attacked Doolittle's votes against benefits for members of the National Guard, opposition to embryo stem cell research, and connections to conservative Jack Abramoff.[39] The ads were paid for by a group called Revolt of the Elders, a collection of older, moderate Republicans located in California who oppose Doolittle and Richard Pombo. The leader of Revolt of the Elders Pete McCloskey is a former Republican congressman who was then challenging Pombo in the Republican primary.

Doolittle defeated Brown and retained his seat.


On January 10, 2008 Doolittle announced at the Maidu Community Center in his district that he would not seek reelection. House Minority Leader John Boehner (R-Ohio) said "John's decision was made in the best interests of his family, his constituents and the House and I appreciate his years of service in Congress." Rumors of the nine term congressman's departure were surfacing shortly after the FBI raided his Virginia home in April 2007 in connection to his involvement in the Jack Abramoff scandal. Republican sources had suggested that Doolittle's rising legal fees may have been one reason why he held on to the seat since the raid. He had been able to pay the fees through his campaign committee.[14]

2008 Elections

Charlie Brown, Doolittle's 2006 Democratic challenger who was defeated 49%-46%, began campaigning for the 2008 elections almost immediately after the 2006 elections. Brown was outpacing Doolittle in fundraising, having raised $500,000 through the third quarter. Former state legislator Rico Oller (R) had said that he planned to run if Doolittle steped aside. Former Rep. Doug Ose (R-Calif.) was also possibly running for the seat. Ose honored a term-limit pledge by retiring from the neighboring 3rd district in 2004. State Assemblyman Ted Gaines had formed an exploratory committee but had not officially entered the race, saying he would wait for Doolittle to make a final decision. Additionally, former Auburn Mayor Mike Holmes and Iraq veteran Eric Egland had already entered the race.[15]

Money in Politics

This section contains links to – and feeds from – money in politics databases. <crpcontribdata>cid=N00007556&cycle=2006</crpcontribdata>

Links to more campaign contribution information for John Doolittle
from the Center for Responsive Politics' site.
Fundraising profile: 2006 election cycle Career totals
Top contributors by organization/corporation: 2006 election cycle Career totals
Top contributors by industry: 2006 election cycle Career totals

Committees and Affiliations

Committee assignments in the 110th Congress (2007-2008)

Committee assignments in the 109th Congress (2005-2006)

More Background Data

Wikipedia also has an article on John Doolittle. This article may use content from the Wikipedia article under the terms of the GFDL.


DC Office:
2410 Rayburn House Office Building
Washington, DC 20515-0504
Phone: 202-225-2511
Fax: 202-225-5444
Web Email

District Office- Granite Bay :
4230 Douglas Boulevard, Suite 200
Granite Bay, CA 95746
Phone: 916-786-5560
Fax: 916-786-6364

Articles and Resources

See also


  1. Roll call vote, Authorization for Use of Military Force Against Iraq Resolution of 2002.
  2. Josh Singer, "Doolittle believes WMD will be found," Nevada County Union, Oct. 18, 2006.
  3. Staff, "GOP Congressman Joins Sen. Domenici in Breaking With White House on War," Editor & Publisher, July 5, 2007.
  4. Internet Archive capture of the National Wilderness Institute website. Captured Apr. 24, 2006.
  5. Erica Werner, "Feds contact ex-Doolittle aide," Associated Press (via Houston Chronicle), June 25, 2007.
  6. Jackie Kucinich, "Doolittle berates the FBI over raid on his Va. home," The Hill, May 08, 2007.
  7. Erica Werner, "Doolittle Attacks Critics As Chief of Staff Faces Grand Jury," Talking Points Memo, September 10, 2007.
  8. Laura McGann, "Prosecutors Subpoena Doolittle in Abramoff Investigation," TPMmuckraker, September 28, 2007.
  9. Susan Crabtree, " The Hill, October 31, 2007.
  10. Internet Archive capture of California Fair Political Practices Commission website.
  11. press release from Doolittle's House office, Jan. 13, 2006.
  12. Lizette Alvarez, "Tom DeLay: A Savvy Survivor of G.O.P. Putsches," New York Times, November 18, 1998.
  13. Juliet Eilperin, "GOP Looks to DeLay in 2000 Elections," Washington Post, March 20, 1999.
  14. Jackie Kucinich and Aaron Blake, "Doolittle says he will not seek reelection," The Hill, January 10, 2008.
  15. Jackie Kucinich and Aaron Blake, "Doolittle says he will not seek reelection," The Hill, January 10, 2008.

External resources

Local blogs and discussion sites

External articles

Reports, Letters, and Press Releases

Corresponding article on Wikipedia and Cause Caller. (If Cause Caller link does not work, pick from its list of senators and representatives.)

Current Office: U.S. House of Representatives
111th Congress
Leadership Position:
Committees Chaired:
Ranking Member On:

110th Congress
Leadership Position:
Committees Chaired:
Ranking Member On:

Committees: House Committee on Appropriations/Subcommittee on Energy and Water, House Committee on Appropriations/Subcommittee on Interior and Environment, House Committee on Appropriations/Subcommittee on Legislative Branch
Congressional Career
First Elected to Current Office:
November 6, 1990
First Took Current Office:
January 3, 1991
Next Election:
Term Ends:
January 3, 2009
Freshman Member?
Previous Political Work?
California State Senate, 1980-90
Other Party Membership:
District Offices:
1. 4230 Douglas Boulevard, Suite 200, Granite Bay, CA 95746
Phone: 916-786-5560 / Fax: 916-786-6364

Campaign Contact:

Webform Email: / Email:

Campaign Offices:

Phone: / Fax:

Zip Code Affiliations:

Date of Birth: October 30, 1950