California Congressman Jerry Lewis (R-CA), who is facing multiple federal corruption probes, has used campaign contributions to pay over half a million dollars in legal fees in just the past three months, according to quarterly reports filed last Friday with the Federal Election Commission.
The reports show Lewis paid the Los Angeles-based firm Gibson, Dunn and Crutcher a total of $569,096 in legal fees.
"This is an extremely unusual, large expenditure in a short period of time," said Kent Cooper of Political Money Line, a Web site that tracks money and politics. "This will shock many people on the Hill to the reality of the seriousness of his legal problems and also provide a clue to the depth of the investigation," said Cooper.
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In a written statement a spokesperson for Rep. Lewis told ABC News:
"Congressman Lewis has availed himself of excellent legal representation so that this matter may be resolved expeditiously. We are confident that Congressman Lewis has honorably served his constituents and that he will be fully exonerated once this investigation is completed."
Campaign finance experts said the half million dollar expense is not illegal as long as the money is spent on legal issues related to the congressman's official duties in office.