Monday :: Aug 21, 2006

Copeland Lowery Missed Reporting More Income


by Mary

Late June, TPMMuckraker noted that Copeland Lowery restated their income to the tune of approximately $2 million, in an attempt to get their records cleaned up in anticipation of an investigation looking into the close ties between Rep. Charles Jeremy (Jerry) Lewis and the lobbying company.

"We have never ever seen a case like this," said Keith Ashdown of Taxpayers for Common Sense. The DC-based watchdog group tracks lobbying and earmarks. "I have never seen a lobby firm in Washigton go through every client and file amendments on dozens of clients they've had for the past five years.

"The way it was done," Ashdown said, "done days before it was first reported Lewis was under investigation -- this definitely looks like an effort to cover their legal butts."

Today, the National Journal (h/t to TPMMuckraker) is reporting that the company inadvertently missed some of that income. More than quarter of a million was overlooked when the books were being reviewed, which involved the two Lewis staff, er, lobbyists.

The FBI, the Pentagon's Defense Criminal Investigative Service, and the Internal Revenue Service are investigating the firm's relationship with several California cities and towns, and with Lewis. At the time the inaccurate reports were filed, Jeff Shockey, who is now deputy staff director of the House Appropriations Committee, was listed as a Copeland lobbyist on the reports. He formerly worked for the firm. On the amended reports, Letitia White, a former longtime Lewis aide who then went to Copeland, is listed as having filed the reports.

Records turned over as part of the federal investigation show that Copeland Lowery may have been sloppy in disclosing the money it received from the San Bernardino clients, but was anything but slack in other parts of its recordkeeping. For instance, the firm sent San Bernardino bills each month including specific details of its lobbying activities, including about the earmarked projects it had succeeded in obtaining in appropriations bills. The firm also kept careful track of when the county paid its bills.

Copeland Lowery is no more, having succumbed to the pressures of the investigation, but you will be glad to note that the Republican side of the firm has been reborn into a new firm that has been successfully picking up where Copeland Lowery left off.

San Bernardino County last month granted Innovative Federal Strategies, a firm that includes Letitia White and former Rep. Bill Lowery, R-Calif., a former Copeland Lowery partner and longtime friend and colleague of Lewis, a six-month $99,000 lobbying contract.

They are back in business looking for new earmarks for the communities in Lewis' district. Nice job, if you can get it.

Mary :: 12:12 PM :: Comments (2) :: Digg It!