Protesters turn out to admonish Rep. Doolittle | SierraSun.com

Protesters turn out to admonish Rep. Doolittle

Andrew Pridgen
Sun News Service

Emma Garrard/Sun News ServiceLaurel Ames of South Lake Tahoe holds up a red foam hand that reads "Caught red-handed" during Rep. John Doolittle's speech at the 2006 Lake Tahoe Forum at Sand Harbor Thursday.

As anticipated, a handful of protesters stood by the gates of Sand Harbor State Park admonishing the presence of Congressman John Doolittle, R-Calif.

Clad in straw hats and carrying giant red foam hands usually associated with rabid fans at sporting events that read “caught red-handed” and signs that said “Do-little for the environment” the protesters encouraged motorists in-bound to Thursday’s Lake Tahoe Forum environmental summit to honk their horns or wave in favor of ousting the scandaled lawmaker.

“Doolittle has taken excessive amounts of money to buy votes and support for projects that have nothing to do with District 4,” said South Shore resident and protester Laurel Ames. “(Doolittle) and Delay should have both resigned because of their connection with Abramoff.”

Ames’ reference to Doolittle’s direct connections with Jack Abramoff, the embattled former Washington lobbyist who in January pled guilty to three criminal felony counts, was on the lips of many protesters.

Most notably, Abramoff’s contributions of some $140,000 to the Roseville Republican’s campaigns and political action committees since 1999 were reported in March.

“Anyone who knows John Doolittle personally is well aware of his character and high standard of ethics,” Doolittle press aide Laura Blackan said in March. “Any suggestion to the contrary is devoid of any basis whatsoever.”

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Earlier this year, the Wall Street Journal singled out four House members, Doolittle among them, whose relationships with Abramoff were under examination. The others are Rep. Bob Ney, R-Ohio, Sen. Conrad Burns, R-Mont., and former House Majority Leader Tom DeLay of Texas.

Embattled Delay will not run for re-election. Bob Ney declared this week he will end his bid for re-election.

Other protesters Thursday said they were also befuddled at Doolittle’s “spotty” environmental record and questioned his motives for the rare summit appearance.

“I find it ironic that John Doolittle is at an environmental summit because he is one of the most anti-environmental people in Congress,” said Jennifer Montgomery of Donner Summit. “I was one of his constituents.”

Doolittle himself decided to take a positive, non-partisan tack at Thursday’s summit.

“There are great political divisions among us,” he said. “But on Lake Tahoe we are very, very close… it has truly been a collaborative effort.”

A Washington representative with the League of Conservation Voters said Doolittle’s lifetime score on voting for environmental issues is 4 percent.

” The Sacramento Bee contributed to this report