Investigation of U.S. Rep. Jerry Lewis dropped

After four years, federal authorities in Los Angeles have dropped an investigation of Rep. Jerry Lewis (R-Redlands), who came under scrutiny for his ties to lobbyists whose clients received millions of dollars in congressional earmarks.

“This office recently informed attorneys for Mr. Lewis that we were closing a criminal investigation,” Thom Mrozek, a spokesman for the U.S. attorney in Los Angeles, said in an e-mail. He declined to comment further.

Lewis said that the Justice Department statement “confirms what I’ve known from day one — that the facts and the truth of this matter will ultimately prevail.”

“I look forward continuing to focus all my efforts on cutting government spending and getting our nation onto a responsible and sustainable fiscal path,” he added in a statement.


Lewis attorney Robert C. Bonner said that federal authorities “obviously took a long, hard look at some allegations and concluded that they were without merit and didn’t warrant any kind of action.”

The news comes as Lewis battles to reclaim the appropriations committee chairmanship he lost after Democrats won control of the House in 2006.

Lewis, the top Republican on the panel, has drawn two rivals — Reps. Harold Rogers (R-Ky.) and Jack Kingston (R-Ga.) — for the post as well as opposition from some conservative groups because of his years of earmarking funds for projects in his district.

Lewis has pledged to lead the new GOP House majority’s effort to rein in spending. Though he has long maintained that the earmarks he sought benefited his district, he has joined other Republicans in supporting a moratorium on earmarks in response to criticism that they have become a symbol of Washington’s excessive spending.

House Republicans are expected to decide on committee chairmen next week.