WASHINGTON – Rep. John Doolittle, R-Calif., has asked to relinquish his seat on the House Appropriations Committee following a raid on his house by FBI agents investigating a congressional influence-peddling scandal.
Committee ranking Republican Rep. Jerry Lewis told FOX News on Thursday that "it is his understanding ... that Doolittle will submit a letter to step down from the committee later today."
Sources said Doolittle informed House Minority Leader John Boehner on Wednesday of his desire to step down and Boehner urged Doolittle to seek a leave of absence from the committee as soon as possible.
Sources further say that Doolittle is in the process of sending a letter to Boehner and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi seeking a leave of absence from the appropriations committee, a leave that will be immediately granted. The leave is open-ended, sources said.
Reports Wednesday revealed that the lawmaker's Oakton, Va., home had been searched last Friday. The search warrant was executed for information connected with a fundraising business run by Doolittle's wife, Julie, who had done work for convicted GOP lobbyist Jack Abramoff.
Doolittle's ties to Abramoff have been under investigation in the ongoing probe that already sent one former Republican congressman, Bob Ney of Ohio, to jail on a guilty plea to charges of conspiracy and making false statements.
Doolittle is also the subject of the federal investigation with agents looking into whether he used his office to assist campaign contributors or defense contractors through his position on the appropriations panel.
FOX News' Major Garrett, Jim Mills and Molly Hooper and The Associated Press contributed to this report.