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Thursday, June 16, 2005

Consequences, part 1

Posted by: Hammer / 8:29 AM

Talking Points Memo has been all over the Randy "Duke" Cunningham imbroglio since day one. A recap: Cunningham sold his home to a company run by Mitchell J. Wade. Wade is also president of MZM, Inc., a defense contractor. Probably not a great idea, since Cunningham sat on the House Appropriations Committee, which has since awarded millions of dollars to MZM.

It gets better.

Cunningham sold the house to Wade for $1.675 million in 2003. Wade put the house on the market almost immediately after buying it, and finally sold it in October for $975,000. That looks an awful lot like a $700,000 bribe.

It gets better.

Cunningham doesn't have a house, condo or apartment in D.C. He lives on a 34 ton yacht named the Duke Stir.

It gets better.

The owner of the Duke Stir? Mitchell J. Wade.

The NC Times interviewed an ethics expert:

An expert on ethics in government said Wednesday that the living arrangement would be unethical only if Cunningham is not paying rent.

"Then it is inappropriate because this person wants something from him and is apparently getting millions of dollars in federal contracts," said Bob Stern, president of Los Angeles-based Center for Governmental Studies, a nonpartisan think tank that studies campaign finance.

I suppose that's technically true. So long as Wade paid fair market rent for the yacht, he's not getting any personal benefit from Wade/MZM. If it's not unethical, it's clearly improper to have such extensive personal dealings with a defense contractor while sitting on the appropriations committee.

Of course, for Republicans, there are no consequences...yet.


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