January 10th, 2008
03:15 PM ET
5 years ago

Embattled congressman announces retirement

Doolittle announced Thursday he is not seeking another House term.

Doolittle announced Thursday he is not seeking another House term.

WASHINGTON (CNN) – Rep. John Doolittle, a California Republican under scrutiny for his ties to convicted lobbyist Jack Abramoff, announced Thursday he would not seek re-election.

“I plan to complete my term and finish my congressional service at the conclusion of this Congress,” Doolittle said in a speech Thursday, the text of which was posted on his House Web site. “This circumstance reminds me of a passage in the 2nd letter of St. Paul to Timothy; ‘The time has come for my departure. I have fought the good fight. I have finished the race. I have kept the faith.’”

Doolittle was forced to relinquish his seat on the powerful House Appropriations Committee earlier this year after the FBI raided his Virginia home. He has denied any guilt in the Abramoff scandal.

A former Doolittle colleague, ex-Ohio GOP Rep. Bob Ney, pleaded guilty for taking bribes from Abramoff, and is now serving time in prison.

Doolittle is the 19th Republican to declare he is leaving the House at the close of 110th Congress. Three other GOP House members have resigned, or announced their intention to resign, their congressional seats: Illinois Rep. Dennis Hastert retired early, Rep. Bobby Jindal was elected governor of Louisiana, and Mississippi Rep. Roger Wicker was appointed to Sen. Trent Lott’s open seat.

- CNN Political Editor Mark Preston 

Filed under: House
soundoff (24 Responses)
  1. Cat, Costa Mesa, CA

    I know democrats are probably looking at this and laughing, they think the republican party is falling. But I don't quite see it like that. The republican party is flushing out the bad weeds (and believe me, there are alot!). Hopefully this will leave room for real, honest republicans who desire to change the way things are being done. I'm a conservative republican, and even I have been ashamed of the horrible example and representation by some of our leaders, but slowly they're being washed out, and we can get back to politics!

    January 10, 2008 04:26 pm at 4:26 pm |
  2. Vernon, Portland, OR, USA

    This has to be good news all of his votes showed how that he was bought and paid for by big business and especially big agriculture.

    January 10, 2008 04:31 pm at 4:31 pm |
  3. Joe, Indianapolis,IN

    This old corrupt fart is part of the reason why America no longer has faith in our government and no longer trusts the old prunes who sit around and get rich off our tax dollars for years and years at at time. Yet Americans still re-elect these greedy pigs term after term just because they are "anti-this" or "pro-that" as it relates to sorry insignificant social issues.

    Regardless of who the next president is, I think the "Good Ol' Boy Network" that has permeated and brought such shame and cheapness to the halls of Washhington is about to take a devastating blow in the next few years. The era of backroom deals and "MY Vote's For Sale" signs is nearing an end. And I'm loving it!

    January 10, 2008 04:50 pm at 4:50 pm |
  4. Bernie

    What a comment, What an endorsement !... The credibility of Kerry in HIS own eyes has risen because of Obama and his accomplishments and the potential VP slot HE see's for HIMSELF. The problem is, has he made a BACKROOM deal with Mr. Obama ? Has this been already decided beforehand and we are just beginning to see it played out? What does the Democratice Party think about all this? What does Mr. Edwards think about all this? Truth be told, God puts leaders into position not us... HE moves on our hearts who to vote for... Kerry showed us his heart and it is no different than Hillary or Obama or anyone else's... So vote your conscience and may the best person win.....

    January 10, 2008 04:51 pm at 4:51 pm |
  5. Lev Klinemann, Redondo Beach CA



    January 10, 2008 04:57 pm at 4:57 pm |
  6. trudy

    change , what is change ? change to what ? Bush is leaving at the end of 2008 is that not true ? trudy

    January 10, 2008 04:58 pm at 4:58 pm |
  7. La'Kitgum, NH

    Kerry is sucking up to Obama for VP after wasting our votes in 2004. What a bunch of losers...!

    The truth is coming out. Starting NH, Americans are beginning to understand that in politics, endogenous is more important than exogenous – that reality and fact are more important than rhetoric and body language or charisma without substance. Americans are beginning to understand that Hillary stands for what the President of the USA should be and not Obama with his empty promises.

    "Mr. Obama has failed to rise to leadership on a single major issue in the Senate," Rove writes in a Wall Street Journal Op-Ed. "In the Illinois legislature, he had a habit of ducking major issues, voting 'present' on bills important to many Democratic interest groups, like abortion-rights and gun-control advocates. "For someone who talks about a new, positive style of politics and pledges to be true to his word, Mr. Obama too often practices the old style of politics, saying one thing and doing another," he said.

    Obama's leadership leaves a lot more questions to be answered but foremost, how can he be an agent of change without experience? How can he change what he does not know? How can he change what he does not have? Experience in economy, healthcare and security are all in Hillary's bag and Hillary can change them for the good of all America. Obama has a bag of experience but it is empty. He has nothing to change.

    My prayers and Best wishes to Hillary and I urge all Americans (black, white, oriental, hispanic) to support Clinton because they will never regret their votes. We did it in NH. NH understands that it is issues, not body language, which stands out in this campaign and Hillary is all about issues. Listen to her carefully instead of cheering at her and you will understand just like the people of NH did – the issues matter.

    January 10, 2008 05:28 pm at 5:28 pm |
  8. Phil Memphis, TN

    And another exposed Republican...

    January 10, 2008 06:10 pm at 6:10 pm |
  9. Richard, West Palm Beach, FL

    Cat, Costa Mesa, CA:

    Speaking as a person who now will NOT vote for a party that has supported Bush, I still applaud your honesty and concern for our nation. Both sides need more of that.

    January 10, 2008 06:19 pm at 6:19 pm |
  10. hjf

    To "La'Kitgum, NH" you must not remember that when Bill was president, Hillary as first lady, she was going to take care of the health care problems in the U.S. Well, she had 8 years to do it and nothing happen. She has been a senator from New York (which makes her a carpetbagger) for a couple of years now and she still has not done anything on health care. Only thing she has done is to beat her chest and tell everyone that when she becomes president things are going to change. She's had over 10 years to make something happen, and nothing yet. This comment is about Kerry. He's just another snake in the grass like his other bud from Mass. and more then likely he did make a deal with Obama. If you people are smart, you'll vote for Edwards.

    January 10, 2008 06:38 pm at 6:38 pm |
  11. rick

    I'm not a compassionate conservative or a liberal democrat. I'm not a republican or a libertarian. I'm an American, and a nine year veteran of the U.S. Armed Forces. I have watched several of the televised debates for both parties, and for me, certain things have been surprisingly obvious. While everyone is talking "change" (rather than "reform"), there is only one candidate in the entire pool who is proposing real, substantive change. There is only one candidate who is talking about the only real problem that plagues our country, the underlying problem at the core of every affliction we suffer as a nation of people, which is the ability of the Fed to create money out of thin air. And there is only one candidate that consistantely answers the question asked, rather than using the time to campaign with tired rhetoric. I realized just the other eve, as I listened to this tired rhetoric, that I have been listening to these same empty promises since as far back as I can remember, thirty years at least. So for me, I can no longer choose the lesser of two evils. For me, the only way for my vote to count, is for my vote to be cast with confidence. I support Ron Paul for President, because I have unwaivering faith in two things: the love of God and the wisdom of the Constitution of the United States of America. Semper Fi

    January 10, 2008 06:54 pm at 6:54 pm |
  12. Neal

    A note to congressional Democratic leadership: start NOW to deploy energy and resources in the support of retired Air Force lieutenant colonel CHARLIE BROWN, who nearly defeated Doolittle in 2006. For those who are interested, check out: http://www.charliebrownforcongress.org/

    January 10, 2008 07:05 pm at 7:05 pm |
  13. Aaron Smithsburg, Maryland

    Neo-con hacks are more crooked than a mud fence. I couldn't look in the mirror in the morning if I knew I sold my country out for a couple of silver pieces. They guys are Judas' and should be treated accordingly! That's lynch him! Tiger Woods can help.

    January 10, 2008 07:06 pm at 7:06 pm |
  14. Joe, Indiana

    OH MY GOD, just how deep with this thing gone? Once upon a corup time, this republician had a very powerful position in the congress. Just wonder, how much money was filtered through. So, after the raid, he gave up his committee chair, and I guess retirement is just the next logical step. So, I wonder how many other republician retirements can be linked to the corup lobbist?

    I agree with the earlier statement about how these old purnes get rich off the rest of the poor folks. I guess the congressman had a wise staffer (paid less that 6-figures) explain that maybe it would be best not to seek re-election. Maybe some in Washington might have to realize that working Americans are how they get paid (taxes), since they gave loop holes to the wealthy and most of the employeers that sent jobs to overseas. However, he after retirement, he will write a book, drive a nice car, and laugh all the way to the bank. Way to go.

    I say no more! Vote with purpose in 2008.

    January 10, 2008 07:33 pm at 7:33 pm |
  15. Walt, Belton, TX

    Anothe crook goes out to pasture........... Pasture is getting crowded!

    January 10, 2008 07:59 pm at 7:59 pm |
  16. PreacherVet

    Bernie, it's like Chris Rock said: "God bless the U.S and Nobody else". I do believe that leadership, rulership, as a principal, is established by God. But to envoke that God "moves" on people to vote for a candidate is a stretch. That means that God is also responsible for mistakes and proven bad policiy; kind of like "the Devil made me do it, so I'n not responsible". God does not hate those that advocate a persons right to choose an abortion, gay rights, any more than leaders that believe it's OK to invade and destroy other counties for their oil or our stratigic intrest. He does not hate Muslims or Mormans any more than he loves bigoted conserative Christian right wingers. But I DO BELIEVE that God does establish the rulership of leaders, good or bad, and the decisions that they make are because GOD GAVE MAN THE RULE OVER THE EARTH AND ALL IN IT! So when we screw it up politically, socially, environmentally, whatever, lets not put GOD in the forefront of all issues. I will not vote for the republicans again, and God is alright with that....

    January 10, 2008 08:05 pm at 8:05 pm |
  17. RB, from the bay state

    Ahhh, the corrupt politician du jour – who's next to bite the dust?

    January 10, 2008 08:08 pm at 8:08 pm |
  18. Independent in IA

    I made the mistake of volunteering for Doolittle's first effort to win the Congressional seat way back when. It took me all of 5 minutes of listening to him speak to those of us in attendence at that first rally to discover that I didn't trust him or even like him. He reminded me then of a slimy used car salesman and I walked out, never looking back. Nothing he has done in the past couple of decades has proven me wrong.

    While I've heard his own constituents speak against him time after time, I've told them that frankly they deserved exactly what they got, because they kept voting him back into office time after time.

    Hopefully, when this investigation is over, this rotten individual will finally get what's coming to him. A nice long federal sentence.

    January 10, 2008 08:45 pm at 8:45 pm |
  19. Kevin,FL

    Hah Nothing New Here.. ANOTHER ONE BITES THE DUST..

    January 10, 2008 09:19 pm at 9:19 pm |
  20. Jeff

    Yes, I'm laughing.

    From the party who promised to bring back integrity and values.

    I'd be laughing harder if the rest of the Bush crime syndicate was brought to justice.

    January 10, 2008 09:29 pm at 9:29 pm |
  21. ken

    I certainly hope that a new majority will be willing to follow up on any cupable acts with with zeal. TERM LIMITS is the answer.

    The middle class needs UNION representation.

    John Edwards is the answer.
    Then an Independant
    If notThen Obama
    If not then Huckabee
    If not then McCain

    Always Remember... Bill Clinton sent our corporations along with jobs and best wishes to China. That was Okee Dokee with Mr George WONDERFUL (HEEHEE) Bush .

    You have to ask yourself about how all the homebuilders got themselves on the stock exchanges. Also how did it happen that skilled tradesmen (they weren't all unskilled labor but I would think undocumented) from other countries came to the US so freely to supply cheaper man power for huge corporate builders..

    9/11 made Mr WONDERFUL. Without it he would have been a one term guy. He lost his first election and in the words of brother " he is family, I have to help him win" or words other than, but with the same meaning.

    2nd time around the Dumocrats hitched their wagon to a real loser.


    I WANT HONESTY, COMPASSION AND REASON to be the rule forever and always

    January 10, 2008 10:46 pm at 10:46 pm |
  22. Fanner 50

    Another K-STREET SCUM BAG . He will get to steal even more money there lol.

    January 11, 2008 12:01 am at 12:01 am |
  23. greatlakes

    That's got to be the most ironic name I've ever seen for a Congressman.

    January 11, 2008 01:42 am at 1:42 am |
  24. mark wilkes barre pa

    While the dem candidates talk about change,,, the republicans are showing change by weeding out the filth in there own party and pressuring them to resign retire or face criminal charges,,,,,talk is cheap,,, in a few more months we all have a chance to support real change,, dont be tricked again be these fast talking candidates on either side of the ticket. do your best to read between the lines of scripted montra the pretenders offer you. dem/libs in congress have all but given up on going after the filth in our elected leaders and concentrate on bashing appointees of the president or stories that paint the rep's in a bad light as a whole. Bad statedgy during election time. Its old and tired thinking no one buys anyway , and will not be helpful in the coming new presidents term. The hateful approach and the truelly divided years of the Bush/Clinton dynasty must end. Its not good for all of us. empty visions of change is also as bad. The candidate that runs on this promise and does not deliver will further separate the parties and cause more problems we do not need.

    January 11, 2008 06:00 am at 6:00 am |