Justice For California Congressman “Duke” Cunningham

Good riddance to bad rubbish – a Republican Congressman, Randy Cunningham, going to jail.

The disgraced Republican Congressman will face a maximum of 10 years in prison on Feb. 27 when he will be sentenced by Judge Larry A. Burns, a former prosecutor known for tough sentencing.

How did the eight-term congressman go from public servant to yacht and Rolls Royce enthusiast then to voluntarily signing a 33-page plea agreement where he admits accepting $2.4 million in bribes in exchange for steering government contracts to friendly defense contractors? Was it personal weakness, arrogance, stupidity?

Who cares! How his actions were criminal and how they are prosecuting him is what matters to me. Here is what is being reported:

Cunningham had a friend named Mitchell Wade, a party in an up and coming defense contractor, MZM, buy his home in Del Mar Ca. for $1.7 million, who later tried to sell it for $700 thousand. This is an old trick for paying off politicians that was popular in Boston if you remember talk show pioneer Howie Carr talking about it in the 80's.

It can work both ways as scams often do. A bribe may consist of selling a house dirt cheap to a politician who re-sells it for more. In an era of fluctuating markets these schemes work relatively well. There are more we can talk about later.

Ah but Congressman “Cunning-ham” wanted more!

Here is some of the crap he could not live without as found in his plea agreement:

- $200,000 toward the purchase of his Arlington, Va., condominium.
- $140,000 to a third party for the "Duke-Stir" yacht, which was moved to his boat slip for his use-.
- $16,867.13 to a marine services company for repairs to his own yacht, the "Kelly C."
- $12,000 paid to an antique store for assorted stuff.
- $6,632 paid to a furniture store for a leather sofa and a sleigh-style bed.
- $7,200 paid to an antique store for a circa 1850 Louis Phillipe period commode and a circa 1830 Restoration period commode.
- $13,500 toward the purchase of a Rolls Royce
- $17,889.96 for repairs to the Rolls Royce
- $11,393.56 paid to a moving contractor
- $2,081.30 paid to a hotel for his daughter's graduation party
- $9,200 paid to a manufacturer for two Laser Shot shooting simulators
- $10,000 paid for meals and entertainment expenses
- Hundreds of thousands of dollars in cash to him and a company he controlled.
*Source: Plea agreement filed in U.S. District Court.

I have read that under 18 USC 981 (a)(1)©, prosecutors are trying, in an unprecedented move, to seize his home in Virginia as well. They are going that extra mile in his case.

The team that went after Cunningham consisted of U.S. Attorney Carol C. Lam Rick Gwin of the Defense Criminal Investigative Service, Kenneth Hines of the Treasury Department and Daniel Dzwilewski of the FBI.

Democrat spokesmen and the media are ecstatic about this latest ethics problem with Republicans and if you understand liberals you can see why. It is a double win for them.

Think back to July 2002 and former US Senator Torricelli from Jew Jersey who took Rolex watches, jewelry, and other assorted bribes as described in 18 USC 201. That would be the same bribery statute now being used against Cunningham. Isn't that a coincidence.

And remember what happened to him. He was "severely admonished" by the Senate Ethics Committee for breaking Senate rules and displaying "poor judgment" in accepting gifts from a campaign contributor. But he was not prosecuted by the Feds. In fact, Clinton appointed Judge Mary Joe White dropped the charges against him. That is why we are not privy to any other details in his case. It all went away. He resigned five weeks before his re-election bid and was replaced by another liberal Dem.

So Republican Cunningham “The Chump”, not “The Duke” goes to jail and losses everything and more – because I would guess, as a human being, he feels shame. Liberal Dem. Toricelli doesn't have that problem.

Neither do other politicians caught in similar scams. Liberal Dem. Sen. Hillary Clinton comes to mind.

The “Cattle Futures” scheme she worked in Arkansas is as old as the house flipping scam at issue here. Hillary was “loaned” some money to “invest” and every time the futures market went up she collected the money in her account. If cattle futures went down her partner payed the loss. It was like playing poker with people who never made you put money in the game to bid or ante up, but let you take the pot when you had a good hand. There was no prosecution of Hillary.

But this story has a happy ending for us conservatives!

Cunningham will be replaced, if the election gods are with us, by a real conservative Republican in the upcoming congressional election. That is in the works now.

And our good buddy Torricelli? You'll love this.

During the 2004 presidential primary Toricelli, because he doesn't have a criminal record or conscience hampering him, gave a personal donation of $50,000 from his old senate campaign war chest to liberal Dem. Candidate Dick Gephardt. The donation is not permitted under FEC rules. (No prosecution) Gephardt did some really, really nasty ads against liberal Howard Dean with the leftover Toricelli cash.

In all, Toricelli's gang spent $485,000 attacking Dean as being in the pocket of the NRA and promoting cuts in Medicaid. Then when Gephardt quit the race, Toricelli jumped ship and worked for liberal Senator John Kerry.

You gotta love this. Liberals all over the country are running on “ethics.”

Ed Naile, Chair CNHT