Seth Hettena spills the beans on the names of the five lawmakers that Mitchell Wade provided information on to federal... View ArticleContinue reading
Cunningham Figure’s Revelations May Imperil Other Officials
The chief witness in the investigation into former Rep. Randy “Duke” Cunningham may have spilled the goods on more lawmakers... View ArticleContinue reading
- Roll Call reports that the Justice Department subpoenaed the e-mails of Rep. [sw: William Jefferson] (D-La.) in the ongoing bribery investigation. Jefferson will have the chance to challenge the release of certain e-mails under the Speech and Debate Clause. The congressman could "be allowed to review them and decide whether he wants to try to assert his privilege under the Speech or Debate Clause and withhold them from the federal prosecutors. Jefferson would then have to file a legal motion in federal court in Alexandria outlining the reasons for why they should not be turned over to federal investigators."
- The manager of MZM, Inc., Richard A. Berglund, was accused of violating FEC rules by illegally donating money to Rep. [sw: Virgil Goode] (R-Va.). MZM, Inc. was one of the chief defense contractors charged with bribing Rep. [sw: Duke Cunningham] and the owner, Mitchell Wade, has since pled guilty to the charges. In this case Berglund stands accused of ""aiding and abetting" a scheme by MZM's owner to donate the funds in the name of others."
- The money paid to Julie Doolittle, the wife of Rep. [sw: John Doolittle] (R-Calif.), by Jack Abramoff to do fundraising for a charity event is receiving new scrutiny after the Senate Indian Affairs Committee report detailed the dates that she received the payments. Julie Doolittle "received the lion’s share of her monthly retainer fees long after a canceled charity event, which had been the principal reason cited for her $5,000-a-month retainer deal with the admitted felon’s ex-lobbying firm". Julie Doolittle received just $27,000 around the time of the charity event, but later received a seemingly unconnected $40,000 from Abramoff "three weeks after Rep. Doolittle, an avowed anti-gambling Mormon, wrote a letter of support for a tribal client of Abramoff’s seeking to reopen its casino."
- I'm confused. First, Duke Cunningham is said to not be cooperating with the federal investigation into bribery by defense contractors. Now he states, through his lawyer, that he will cooperate fully with a House Ethics Committee investigation and has been cooperating all along with the federal investigation. So, what's the deal here?
- We do know that Mitchell Wade, the contractor convicted of bribing Duke Cunningham, is talking to prosecutors. The Boston Globe looks into who he might be talking about. Two lawmakers, who both received illegal campaign contributions from Wade and tried, one successfully and the other unsuccessfully, to secure federally earmarked funds for his MZM, Inc., look like ready targets for this expanding investigation. They are Rep. Virgil Goode (R-VA), who successfully earmarked funds for an MZM office in his district, and Rep. Katherine Harris (R-FL), who, after dining with Wade to the tune of $2,800, attempted to insert an earmark that would established an MZM site in her district.
- That loophole is so big I could fit a few hundred million dollars through it. (Wall Street Journal)
- The Torch is back! Former Sen. Robert Torricelli (D-NJ) is back in the news, and as you would expect it's bad news for the Torch. The Financial Times reports that Torricelli is now being connected to the UN oil for food scandal. Just recently I read a piece about how Torricelli was still a player and was doling out advice to Democratic Senators and consultants. That will probably stop if this report proves true. I think the guy might become even more radioactive than he used to be.
- TPM Muckraker reports on the Democrats' choice to have Rep. Alcee Hastings (D-FL) as the top Dem on the House Intelligence Committee. "That's right: Pelosi wants to replace House Intel Committee Ranking Member Jane Harman (CA) with Rep. Alcee Hastings (D-FL), who "was forced to surrender his job as a federal judge after being indicted in 1981 on bribery charges," as the LA Times reports it. He beat the rap, but "was impeached in 1988 by the House for conspiracy and making false statement" in connection to the case."
- On the emergency supplemental front Mark Tapscott reports that there may be a victory at hand with the Senate agreeing to "cap spending in the emergency spending bill for the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq and Gulf Coast hurricane recovery to $94.5 billion."
Contractor Used ‘Straw’ Donors to Contribute to Lawmakers:
A defense contractor’s use of ‘straw’ donors for political contributions has “raised new questions” about two lawmakers, Rep. Virgil Goode (R-VA) and Rep. Katharine Harris (R-FL), and “the tens of thousands of dollars in campaign contributions he steered to the two GOP lawmakers.” According to Roll Call, Mitchell Wade, guilty of bribing former Rep. Duke Cunningham and violating federal election laws, “funneled $78,000 in illegal campaign donations from 2003 to 2005 to Goode and Harris through 39 “straw” donors, all of whom were MZM employees or their spouses.” The Justice Department document states that neither Harris nor Goode knew that the contributions were illegal and both have denied wrongdoing. However, Goode, a recipient of $90,000 from Wade and MZM, wrote an earmark that secured “$3.6 million in federal defense funds that went to MZM for a facility in Martinsville, Va., and he was also instrumental in securing $500,000 in state grants to purchase the site.”Continue reading