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Tuesday, November 29, 2005

The first domino falls
Posted by Jill | 7:03 AM

And this is even BEFORE the Abramoff Gang starts singing:

Representative Randy Cunningham, a Republican from San Diego, resigned from Congress on Monday, hours after pleading guilty to taking at least $2.4 million in bribes to help friends and campaign contributors win military contracts.

You've got to give Duke credit: at least he's an expensive whore.

Mr. Cunningham, a highly decorated Navy fighter pilot in Vietnam, tearfully acknowledged his guilt in a statement read outside the federal courthouse in San Diego.

"The truth is, I broke the law, concealed my conduct and disgraced my office," he said. "I know that I will forfeit my freedom, my reputation, my worldly possessions and, most importantly, the trust of my friends and family."

Mr. Cunningham, 63, pleaded guilty to one count of tax evasion and one count of conspiracy to commit bribery, tax evasion, wire fraud and mail fraud. He faces up to 10 years in prison and hundreds of thousands of dollars in fines and forfeitures.

Prosecutors said he received cash, cars, rugs, antiques, furniture, yacht club fees, moving expenses and vacations from four unnamed co-conspirators in exchange for aid in winning military contracts. None of this income was reported to the Internal Revenue Service or on the congressman's financial disclosure forms, the government said.

Mr. Cunningham, who is known as Duke, lived while in Washington on a 42-foot yacht, named the Duke-Stir, owned by one of the military contractors that received tens of millions of dollars in federal contracts that prosecutors said Mr. Cunningham helped steer its way.

Mr. Cunningham, who is known for his combative conservatism and his emotional outbursts, served on the defense subcommittee of the House Appropriations Committee and as chairman of the House Intelligence subcommittee on terrorism and human intelligence.

"He did the worst thing an elected official can do," Carol C. Lam, the United States attorney, said in a statement. "He enriched himself through his position and violated the trust of those who put him there."

Mr. Cunningham's plea adds to the ethics cloud over the Republican-controlled Congress and the Bush White House.

These guys are never in the least bit sorry for their greed, but they're always very, very sorry they get caught. Shed no tears for the Dukester, my friends, for his trials and tribulations are well-deserved.

This is why we need a two-party system to provide oversight. The Republicans have been so certain of their own eternal rule that they believed they could get away anything. The one hopeful sign that our system, as creaky and damaged as it is by this bunch of criminals that constitute today's GOP, still has some life in it is the fact that while Republicans control everything, there are still some people with integrity in the Justice Department.

So here's the GOP scorecard so far:

Rep. Randy Cunningham: plead guilty

Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist: under investigation by the SEC for insider trading.

House Majority Leadert Tom DeLay: indicted on conspiracy and money-laundering charges.

DeLay spokesman Michael Scanlon: plead guilty to bribery charges.

Cheney's Chief of Staff Scooter Libby: indicted on perjury charges.

Ohio Rep. Bob Ney: under investigation for bribery, tied to Jack Abramoff

Montana Sen. Conrad Burns: part of the Abramoff campaign finance investigation

California Rep. John Dolittle: part of the Abramoff campaign finance investigation

And that's just where we are so far. Now tell me again how Republicans are the party of high moral values.
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