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  Doolittle to Retire
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ContributorThe Sunset Provision 
Last EditedThe Sunset Provision  Jan 10, 2008 12:28pm
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News DateThursday, January 10, 2008 06:00:00 PM UTC0:0
DescriptionRepublican Rep. John Doolittle, who is under investigation in a congressional lobbying scandal, plans to announce his retirement from Congress on Thursday, according to a Republican official who spoke with Doolittle.

The official spoke on condition of anonymity pending a public announcement in Doolittle's Northern California district.

The development comes as Doolittle, in his ninth term, faced growing political pressure from fellow Republicans who considered him a liability because of his involvement, along with his wife, Julie, in the Jack Abramoff influence-peddling investigation. House Republicans, still smarting from losing control of Congress in 2006, are eager to put that ethics taint behind them.

Doolittle came close to losing re-election in 2006 in one of the most conservative districts in California, and some in his own party believed he couldn't survive this time around.

He planned to address supporters in Roseville, Calif., on Thursday morning and scheduled a press conference for afterward. His aides declined to disclose his plans in advance.

Doolittle has denied wrongdoing in his ties to Abramoff, the disgraced former lobbyist whom he considered a close friend. But after the FBI raided the congressman's Virginia home in April looking for information about event-planning work that Doolittle's wife did for Abramoff, the congressman was forced to step down from the powerful Appropriations Committee.

A flurry of grand jury subpoenas to the congressman and his aides followed. Party leaders pointedly declined to encourage Doolittle's re-election plans and his fundraising lagged.

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