REDLANDS, Calif. (AP) — Former Southern California Republican Rep. Jerry Lewis has died at the age of 86.
Lewis became a hero in his community for steering hundreds of millions of federal dollars to projects in his inland district that critics saw as pork-barrel spending abuses. Over nearly half a century, Lewis rose from a local school board to become one of the most powerful figures in Congress, heading the House Appropriations Committee. He left the House in January 2013. The Justice Department investigated whether Lewis improperly steered federal projects to clients of friends and a former colleague, but closed its investigation in 2010 without taking any further action.