Thursday, June 16, 2005

Crooks in Congress

The ethical problems of Tom DeLay are well known by now. Josh Marshall of Talking Points Memo is carrying the discussion of sleaze and criminality in Congress further.

Senator Ted Stevens (R-Alaska)

For one there is "Sen. Ted Stevens (R-Alaska) made $822,000 last year from the sale of a controversial real estate investment with an Anchorage developer who had obtained a huge federal contract with his help." described briefly by Josh Marshall. He refers us to the article in Los Angeles Times dated June 15th, 2005.

Congressman Randy "Duke" Cunningham (R-California)

Previously there were reports in the San Diego Union-Tribunethat Rep. Randy "Duke" Cunningham, R-Escondido was given three-quarters of a million dollars by Mitchell Wade. Mitchell Wade owns a defense contracting company that wasn't doing great until Duke Cunningham assisted him to get a lot of well-paying defense contracts. Josh Marshall gave that report national exposure here. He has followed by expanding the investigation
  • here - report of follow up by the Carpetbagger,
  • here - More follow up and first report on the broker, Elizabeth Todd who enabled the transaction,
  • here - Follow up on Cunningham's' response to the Union-Leader article,
  • here - points to lack of further reporting on Cunningham and on Cunningham's op-ed on the flag-burning amendment.
  • here - Tom DeLay vouching for someone's ethics. That's like a jackal defending a wild dog against cattle killing, isn't it?
  • here - about the broker, Elizabeth Todd who allegedly gave the inflated estimate of value that allowed the bribe to occur. She also got a huge commission on the sale of the original house and on the new one purchased by Duke with the profits from the first sale. It appears that her independence is very questionable.
  • here - confirming that Elizabeth Todd was not paid for the appraisal of the value of the home for which Mitchell overpaid by three-quarters of a million dollars.
  • here - in which it is made clear that Elizabeth Todd was a campaign contributor to Duke Cunningham,
  • Not Josh Marshall, but the Union-Tribune story that confirms and ties up many of the questions from the earlier stories,
  • here - a referral to a list of other congressmen Wade Mitchell has contributed to),
  • here - more on Duke Cunningham's activities),
  • here - Wade Mitchell also contributes heavily to Congressman Virgil Goode (R - VA),
  • here - Dennis Hastert's comment that the Ethics Committee needs to be up and functioning to deal with Duke Cunningham's problems.) and
  • here - where it is reported the Duke Cunningham lives in Washington rent free on a lavish 40 foot yacht owned by Mitchell Wade.
  • here- Josh comments on the Mitchell Wade obviously had bought Duke Cunningham.
  • here- the Union-Leader has an editorial that says Duke Cunningham is finished as a Congressman.

Addendum June 17th

  • additional - FBI has opened a case on Duke Cunningham - Elizabeth Todd had never sold a home before she brokered Cunninghams new $2.55 home.

Representative Bob Ney (R - Ohio)

Now we get news of Representative Bob Ney, (R - Ohio). Bob is tightly connected with lobbyist Adam Kidan, a partner to Jack Abramovitch. Kiden is a disbarred lawyer with alleged connections to organized crime.

Ney has used his office to pressure contributors and businessmen. An example is this report:"Ney used the power of his office to help a Washington lobbyist buy a casino company in Florida. Shortly after the deal fell through, the company's owner was killed in what police describe as a professional hit."

And there is more: "After a Texas Indian tribe gave Ney tens of thousands of dollars in contributions and helped send him on a luxury golfing trip to Scotland, he assisted them in their attempts to open a casino. Washington super-lobbyist Jack Abramoff paid for a luxury golfing vacation to Scotland in exchange for Ney's sponsorship of a bill that would re-open Native American casinos. The total cost of the six day Scotland golfing junket was over $150,000, raised primarily from Native American tribes. Five days after the trip, Ney met with tribal leaders and reiterated his commitment to the legislation. In addition to the trip, the Tigua tribe of Texas donated over $30,000 to Ney's campaign in exchange for his support. Unfortunately for the Tiguas, the bill failed in the Senate, leaving the tribe tens of thousands of dollars poorer. (Roll Call, 12/6/04; Washington Post, 9/28/04; The Hill, 12/15/04; Fort Worth Star Telegram, 3/25/05; Washington Post, 11/18/04; Cleveland Plain Dealer, 11/19/04)"

This really looks like the Republicans in Congress have gone crazy with greed and power. How many more simply haven't been exposed yet?

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