|"Only dull people are brilliant at breakfast"
|"The liberal soul shall be made fat, and he that watereth, shall be watered also himself."
-- Proverbs 11:25
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.
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.