Meet John Doolittle, working stiff.
Sacramento, Calif.,-area residents once called him Republican state senator, then congressman. Federal prosecutors once called him, ominously, Representative 5. Now, starting over at the age of 61, he unashamedly calls himself a lobbyist.
"It's funny," Doolittle said. "That's such a negative term, but if people ask, that's what I say I am."
He laughed. He laughs easily, which is saying something, given all that's transpired.
"I know," said his former colleague Rep. Dan Burton, R-Ind., "that he and his wife went through a great deal."
Doolittle was one of several lawmakers caught up the turbulent wake of Jack Abramoff, the Republican uber-lobbyist who was released recently after serving three and a half years in prison on mail fraud and conspiracy charges. More than a dozen other individuals were convicted or pleaded guilty to assorted charges, though no charges were ever brought against Doolittle or his wife, Julie, who did event planning for Abramoff's firm.
John and Doolittle estimate that they shelled out more than $400,000 for attorneys' fees during a long-running corruption investigation that left them poorer but in the clear. Doctors' bills have tallied hundreds of thousands of dollars more, covering the exotic medical travails of Julie Doolittle.
They suffered the essentially involuntary end of John Doolittle's 28-year career in elective office. They saw his former legislative director sob as he was sentenced to four years in federal prison. They have, whatever one might say about Doolittle's politics, endured.
"It was painful to leave" Congress, Doolittle acknowledged, but "I'm going forward. Honestly, I don't look back."
Doolittle represented portions of the Sacramento area in the state Senate from 1981 through 1990. From 1991 through his 2008 retirement, he ...