Thursday, March 02, 2006

Your Tax Dollars At Work (And Play)

Rep. Randy “Duke” Cunningham (R-CA) has been described as a sanctimonious guy, judgmental, and he just dripped with his concern for our troops, with so much moral superior to anyone who would question the war in Iraq. Perhaps he was so in favor of the war because he was making so much money off of it.

Cunningham pleaded guilty in November to accepting $2.4 million in bribes from defense contractors. It came out this week in his sentencing hearing that he maintained a handwritten list of how much he would charge defense contractors to steer government dollars to them, using his seat on the Appropriations Committee.

Prosecutors will ask federal Judge Larry Burns to impose the statutory maximum sentence of 10 years in prison.

The sentencing memorandum includes the California Republican's "bribery menu" (above) on one of his congressional note cards, "starkly framed" under the seal of the United States Congress.

The card shows an escalating scale for bribes, starting at $140,000 and a luxury yacht for a $16 million Defense Department contract. Each additional $1 million in contract value required a $50,000 bribe.

The rate dropped to $25,000 per additional million once the contract went above $20 million.

At one point Cunningham was living on a yacht named after him, "The Dukester," docked near Capitol Hill, courtesy of a defense company president.

Fellow Republican Rep. Duncan Hunter (R-CA) faulted federal prosecutors, saying that although they probably knew about the bribe menu long ago, they are now “eking out their most damaging evidence . . . to bolster their position.”