Lewis came under fire last year for pouring millions of dollars worth of earmarks into his heavily Republican southern California district. He has not apologized and vigorously defended himself behind closed doors in the House Republican Conference.
Lewis is one of at least six Republican House members from California who have faced ethical scrutiny, beginning when Duke Cunningham was sent to prison. Most recently, Rep. Ken Calvert, who was sponsored by Lewis for a coveted Appropriations Committee seat, is under attack. He replaced Rep. John Doolittle, another Californian who resigned from the committee because the Justice Department was investigating him.
Former Rep. Henry Bonilla, a Texas Republican defeated for re-election last year, remains unconfirmed by the Democratic-controlled Senate two and one-half months after President Bush nominated him as U.S. ambassador to the Organization of American States. He is one of 85 Bush nominees for substantive government positions who are stuck in the Senate.
They include presidential appointees for deputy secretary of the Health and Human Services (HHS) Department, under secretary of energy for nuclear development, assistant secretary of agriculture, assistant secretary of commerce, deputy Social Security administrator and HHS general counsel.
Also unconfirmed are 24 judicial nominees, seven for appeals courts and 17 for district judgeships. All told, the Senate has not acted on 175 Bush nominations.