Does the FBI have it in for Curt Weldon?

As federal authorities raid his daughter's home, the Pennsylvania Republican says an investigation into his dealings is politically motivated.

Published October 16, 2006 6:47PM (EDT)

Late last week, a lawyer for Rep. Curt Weldon said that his client didn't know anything about any investigation into allegations that the Pennsylvania Republican traded political influence for high-paying lobbying contracts for his daughter. The daughter's lawyer went so far as to send McClatchy Newspapers a letter saying "there is no investigation" and ordering a reporter to stop "harassing" and "baiting" his client with phone messages seeking comment.

Today's news? The FBI has just raided the home of Weldon's daughter as well as five other locations in Pennsylvania and Florida as part of its investigation into whether Weldon helped his daughter and one of his closest friends get $1 million in lobbying contracts from two Russian companies and a Serbian foundation between 2002 and 2004.

Say what you will about that whole innocent-until-proven-guilty thing, but Weldon's "no investigation" defense seems to be history now. Weldon said last week that talk of an investigation was "crazy." Now that he can't deny that an investigation exists, he says that it must be politically motivated. "What I find ironic, if there is an investigation, is that no one would tell me until three weeks before the election," the AP quotes Weldon as saying today. "This incident was two-and-a-half years ago."

We're not sure we understand why the Republican-controlled Justice Department and the Republican-controlled FBI would be out to help Democrat Joe Sestak beat Weldon in November. If the congressman offered any explanation for that theory today, the AP isn't sharing those insights with the rest of us.

By Tim Grieve

Tim Grieve is a senior writer and the author of Salon's War Room blog.

MORE FROM Tim Grieve

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