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December 10, 2005

Cunningham mysterianism


Duke Cunningham is a complicated guy. What mysterious drive would compel a man to enrich himself by $2 million?

"Cunningham had tearfully pleaded guilty to taking more than $2 million in bribes and tax evasion. He was convicted of accepting lavish gifts, including oriental rugs, a yacht, a Rolls-Royce and, for some reason, a 19th-century Louis Philippe commode, or chamber pot. His corruption seemed to be baroque, over the top, out of keeping with most modern influence peddling, which has either been made legal or rendered arcane by clever lawyers. His lawyer, Mark Holscher, was quoted as saying that he had recommended that his client plead guilty because he had "no defense."
Cunningham's motives were a source of puzzlement. He was a patriot and deeply proud of the uniform, though he long flirted with disgracing it. He had never appeared particularly interested in money. And if he wanted to get rich, as at least one Hill observer pointed out, all he had to do was retire and become a lobbyist." [MSNBC]

And more mysterious still... Why did Duke slip into pajama bottoms and a turtleneck to entertain attractive women by lava lamplight? What was he after? And why would he want that? Perhaps we'll never know.


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what amazes me. His object of desire is so banal and predictable. As if somebody shove him one of those bling-bling mag and make him point what he wants.

He could have at least get a house in some obscure island in mediteranean via hidden transaction instead of shiny car and boat that people immediately notice he can't afford.

...amazing, simply amazing.

next thing we know his favorite dessert is jello pudding, just like his momma used to make.

can we AT LEAST have corrupt politician with some class?

Now that's what I call Pajamas Media.

Speaking of Pajamas Media, I deeply suspect the entire thing is some sort of money transfer scheme. Large illegal donation into party operative.

$3.5 M funding for that POS website? seriously now.


Somebody posted a long compilation of Duke's sin. Wow, he reads like cheap novel. Names and association start to pop up all over the web. Ho ho ho...merry Christmas GOP. Have you been nice or naughty...

must read dkos entry. (long)

MZM Inc. is a high-tech national security firm based in Washington, D.C. The private firm provides intelligence gathering, technology and homeland security analysis and consulting for both international and domestic governments and private-sector clients. The firm also provides consulting on political and public message strategies. Its government clients include Congress, the White House, the Defense Department, the U.S. intelligence community, the Foreign Terrorist Tracking Task Force and state and local governments, according to the company's Web site. MZM refused to provide any information, however, about its corporate structure, including names of other principals.

In addition to its D.C. headquarters, MZM has field offices in Miami, Tampa, San Antonio, San Diego and Suffolk, Va. The company employs about 70 people.

Following the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, MZM expanded its counterintelligence and national security efforts. It soon experienced an influx of government contracts. The company now predicts a growth rate of more than 35 percent in the 2003 fiscal year. Mitchell Wade, president and CEO, reportedly expects to increase sales from $25 million to $120 million and to hire 230 more employees over the next five years. Wade told the Richmond Times-Dispatch that recently the company has "come out of a flat period" with defense industry contracts.


what a wuss.

with that kinda cash i would have arranged for a kiss-style laser rock show and maybe got fiddy to play stupid shit.

One point -- a commode in this context is not a chamber pot but a chest of drawers.

I've heard from various sources that Cunningham is considered a "closet case". If that is true, could this be an attempted cover up? (Pun unintended!)

Perhaps he thought that "lavish" had something to do with "lava..."

The motivation behind the lavalamp? He missed out on the 60s because he was flying planes. And everyone who missed out on the 60s has a momentary lavalamp lapse.

That is the most pleasing alliteration and assonance I've heard all month. Lavalamp lapse. Lavalamp lapse. Sounds like a They Might Be Giants song.

Sure, "the Dukesteer" he was how-joo-say "a scumbag"...

But what does thees mean? :

He was a patriot and deeply proud of the uniform, though he long flirted with disgracing it.



The same question puzzled me about Governor John Rowland of CT. He sold himself, and ruined his life, for about $100,000 in gifts over many years. Truly chickenfeed, when you consider what he could have made legitimately later.

He simply had a sense of entitlement, and indulged it as his ability to do so grew. "I'm a hero." "I'm an important Congressman." "I'm a patriot."

This is what has always bugged me about congress. Not "How can they be for sale?" but "how can the be so cheap?" I mean, when you consider the size of the budgets of, say, the big drug companies, the amount they actually spend on campaign contributions is teeny tiny. And yet, that's all it takes.

Historical flourish in song, to go with that Louis Philippe commode (and thanks to Invigilator; I thought I was going to have to point out what it wasn't):

Oh what have you done, Billy Sol, Billy Sol*
Oh what have you done, charming Billy?
You took almost every cent
From the US government,
Which you spent on fertilizer, which was silly.

(Allan Sherman)

*Estes, q.v.

Wade, Wilkes and Bad Iraq Intelligence? For the past few days, I've been chasing the dark corners of one of the Brent Wilkes-Duke Cunningham rabbit holes, the under the radar contracting company that sources say Wilkes set up under the leadership of his nephew Joel G. Combs to solicit CIA contracts. [Wilkes, you will remember, is alleged co-conspirator one in the indictment of Congressman Duke Cunningham for receiving hundreds of thousands of dollars in bribes from defense contractors in exchange for steering US government contracts to those who bribed him. Co-conspirator two is Mitchell Wade, formerly chair of MZM, Inc. The Washington Post earlier reported that Wade, who comes from a Navy intelligence background, used to work as a consultant for Wilkes' ADCS, Inc. before starting MZM, Inc.] Other sources had earlier indicated that one of Wilkes' companies had a CIA contract to bring water to CIA personnel in Iraq, and perhaps others, but hadn't known the specific company's name. Found it elsewhere. (Thanks also to reader Chris Cruse whose mastery of genealogical information provided me the documentation to verify that Joel Gaylen Combs, the president of the alleged Wilkes-associated CIA contractor, Archer Logistics, is the son of Patricia [nee Wilkes] Combs -- Brent Wilkes' older sister).

As I was nailing down the last edits for this modest piece in order to get the information out there sooner than later, the frighteningly brilliant eRiposte of the Left Coaster emailed me an analysis of a related issue -- concerning one of Mitchell Wade's contracts with an army intelligence outfit -- that seemed so incredible on its face, I couldn't quite believe the two things were connected. But with a few hours now to check on some of it, it may very well be closer to the mark than I could have believed. It's a suggestive theory, anyway, that is certainly worthy of more high powered reporting.

Yep, Cunningham forgot a cardinal rule of graft: Plausible Deniability.
Instead he opted for Deniable Plausibility, i.e., no defense at all.
Delay too. But really, their circumstances are self-created; it need not
have been.
Cunningham and Delay absorbed too deeply the tenor of this corrupt political era, transforming themselves into baying political bloodhounds blindly following the scent of cash and power, impatient for their prey. The truly wise politician pursues the lucrative, legal, state sanctioned corruption waiting for him after an exit from political office through that revolving door into the mega-wealth creating Lobbying "profession". A shame to see such talent for corruption going to waste. Think of all the graft that won't be accomplished within the system set up just to utilize, in service to the country, such rare skill and insight into the ways of corruption as Delay and Cunningham have accrued. This is a sad day for our country. If only they had followed the rules.

The best explaination for Cunningham's behavior was on Chris matthews program last week. He was interivewing a former Attorney for the House.

Matthews: So what is it with this guy? Didn't he think that anyone would notice a 2.5 million dollar blip on his bank account and a yacht and a rolls? What is he some kind of ballon head or what?

Attorney: No it was just arrogance.

Matthews: What you mean he really thought that no one would notice.

Attorney: No he thought as a lot of others that since their party controls the White House, the Senate, and the House, as well as the Justice department... they didn't think that they would ever get investigated.

Its really the consequence of one party rule. What they didn't count on was all those little GS-13s out there who really do do their jobs.

Good exchange but not quite what Matthews was ready for.

Feel the love.

So now abramoff-cunningham connection start to become clearer and spread to other GOP.

The entire corruption web will bring down GOP.

Seems the entire California GOP is under a big, stinking cloud. (Let's call it "Duke," just for fun.)

And they aren't alone. Local news reporters, as well as folks at the national dailies, have started digging in to the financial mess that is connected to Jack Abramoff, and they are finding a whole lotta ick under the stones they have been turning over.

The WaPo has put together a handy graphic representation of money flowing from Abramoff to a lotta folks in Congress -- definitely worth a peek.

I've said it before, and I'm going to say it again: if there are any Democrats who have involved themselves in a quid pro quo deal with the GOP money machine in exchange for legislative favors, they had better come clean and do it soon. No one wants to drag them like an anchor through the 2006 election cycle. (And remember, the good plea deals go to the early shoppers.)

Wapsoh has a chart.

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