Miller presses Pombo to investigate Abramoff

Rep. George Miller (D-Calif.) continues to petition House Resources Committee Chairman Richard Pombo (R-Calif.) for an investigation into indicted lobbyist Jack Abramoff’s activities on behalf of the Northern Mariana Islands.

Resources has sole jurisdiction over the Marianas, whose government hired Abramoff in the late 1990s to lobby Washington on its behalf. Miller, a committee member, told Pombo in a letter sent last week that lawmakers have “a responsibility to investigate the evidence and allegations I have presented that go to the heart of the committee’s integrity.”

Pombo has received more than $35,000 in contributions from Abramoff and Indian tribes he represented, including $27,000 from the Mashpee Wampanoag of Massachusetts, which received federal recognition from a bill Pombo passed through the committee in 2004.

Miller previously wrote to Pombo in April, asking for an inquiry into alleged improper influence peddling by Abramoff on behalf of the Marianas. Since coming to Congress, Miller has sponsored multiple bills that would tighten labor and immigration standards on the islands, which enjoy legal benefits as a U.S. commonwealth.

So far, neither the Justice Department nor Senate probes of Abramoff’s tribal lobbying nor his indictment on fraud and conspiracy charges have focused on his work for the Marianas. Pombo referred Miller’s earlier Marianas investigation request to Justice, but Miller told Pombo he has received no response from the department.