James Rufus Koren, Staff Writer
Posted: 12/03/2010 04:51:53 PM PST

After more than four years, the U.S. Department of Justice has ended its investigation of alleged ethics violations by Rep. Jerry Lewis, R-Redlands.

The Justice Department told Lewis’ counsel “toward the end of November” that the investigation had been closed, said Thom Mrozek, a spokesman for the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Los Angeles.

“The DOJ response confirms what I’ve known from day one – that the facts and the truth of this matter will ultimately prevail,” Lewis said Friday through a spokesman. “I look forward to continuing to focus all my efforts on cutting government spending and getting our nation onto a responsible and sustainable fiscal path.”

Lewis was not available for further comment. The announcement comes as Lewis is campaigning to be appointed chairman of the influential House Appropriations Committee – the same committee he helmed when the investigation started in the spring of 2006.

The investigation stemmed from a probe of disgraced former Rep. Randy “Duke” Cunningham, R-Escondido, who admitted accepting more than $2 million in bribes from businessmen. It focused on Lewis’ relationship with lobbyist Bill Lowery, a former congressman who served on the appropriations committee with Lewis.

Brent Wilkes, an unindicted co-conspirator in the Cunningham case, worked for former defense contractor Tom Casey in the early 1990s. He has also been a major contributor to Lewis’ campaign.

Casey told NBC News in June 2006 that when he was seeking a federal contract in 1993, Lewis asked him to hire Lowery as a lobbyist and to arrange stock options for Lowery, issuing them in Canada in someone else’s name. Casey says he never did it and has no proof that he was asked.

As part of the probe, Federal investigators subpoenaed financial documents related to Lewis and Lowery from Lowery’s clients, which included the counties of San Bernardino and Riverside and the cities of Redlands, Loma Linda, Twentynine Palms and Yucca Valley.

No charges were ever filed against Lewis.

In early 2006, the Washington D.C.-based Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, or CREW, called for an investigation into Lewis’ ties to Lowery. That request followed a December 2005 article published in the San Diego Union-Tribune.

The newspaper reported that Lewis, as chairman of the appropriations committee and, earlier, as chairman of the defense appropriations subcommittee, had signed off on more than $100 million worth of federal projects for clients of Lowrey’s lobbying firm, Copeland Lowery Jacquez Denton & White.

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