Rep. Randy “Duke” Cunningham will plead guilty today to tax evasion in a political corruption case, according to a source close the investigation.
The veteran Republican from a conservative north San Diego County district called close supporters last night to tell them of his decision.
“It’s over. I can’t fight anymore,” Cunningham was quoted as saying. Cunningham sold his home to a defense contractor at an inflated price, sparking a wide-ranging federal corruption investigation. The eight-term congressman announced earlier this fall that he would not seek reelection next year, setting off a scramble among would-be successors.
This is the kind of tragic corruption that comes when one party becomes over-bearing in its exercise of power. Cunningham seems to have taken an inflated price for his home from the owner of defense contractor MZM Inc. in exchange for political favors (the contractor sold the house in less than a year for a $700,000 loss—in this over-heated market!), but will only be hit with tax evasion charges. Real Al Capone stuff, which is the logical result of turning Washington into an influence yard sale.
The committee Cunningham chairs, the House Intelligence Subcommittee on Human Intelligence and Counterintelligence, was directly responsible for the type of work the contractor has received more than $163 million in federal funds since 2002 to perform (here’s the link to the DOD archives, which are unsearchable). The company has also hired members of the family of the director of DOD facilities it serves, another smarmy corruption. Here’s who the company’s PAC supports: Senator Ben Nighthorse Campbell (R.—Colorado); Cunningham; Rep. Randy Forbes (R—Virginia); Rep. Virgil Goode (R-Virginia); Rep. Katherine Harris (R-Florida); Rep. Duncan Hunter (R—California); Rep. Richard Renzi (R—Arizona).
Anyhow, Cunningham, who was one of the Congressmen who urged the First Bush to smear Bill Clinton with the communism brush because of his college-era exchange trip to Russia, further besmirches the honor of public service. This after a career as one of the most-decorated airmen in Vietnam, certainly the highest order of valor and integrity. How the mighty fall, eh? Unbridled payola is what you get when one party takes and holds power at any cost.
I am resigning from the House of Representatives because I’ve compromised the trust of my constituents.
It is an abject admission of guilt, does not beggar forgiveness and is contrite. All criminal pols should be so straightforward, but most won’t be.