Earmarks Meant Business for Embattled Lobbyist:
Alleged ‘co-conspirator #1’ in the Duke Cunningham bribery investigation Brent Wilkes parlayed his ability to secure earmarks into profitable business ventures. According to the Washington Post, Wilkes found promising technology companies and made a deal with them: he would secure millions of dollars in earmarks and in return he would receive a 51 percent interest in the company. The Post reports that, “Although it is common for lobbying firms to charge clients large fees to pursue earmarks, Wilkes’s demand for a majority interest in the resulting contract is highly unusual”. Wilkes did not only get Cunningham to insert earmarks for his companies. He also had Rep. John Doolittle (R-CA) place a $37 million earmark into the defense budget for PerfectWave Technologies in 2002. From 2002 to 2005 Doolittle received $85,000 in campaign contributions from Wilkes.