I Need More Coffee
Another excellent post from Josh Marshall at TPM: Marshall unveils an important character in the case of Randy "Duke" Cunningham:
A few more points to mull about the Duke saga.Cool.
First, remember that "co-conspirator #1" in the charges against Duke is Brent Wilkes, a defense contractor who owns ADCS Inc.
In addition to various other bribes he gave Duke, Wilkes also rented a corporate jet which appears to have existed more or less entirely to ferry around members of Congress. Mainly Duke.
But also Rep. Tom DeLay and Acting Majority Leader Roy Blunt.
Wilkes is also an '04 Bush Pioneer.
Marshall gets into another intersting cat, Thomas Kontogiannis, aka "co-conspirator #3":
In a previously undisclosed link between Cunningham and Kontogiannis, the developer accompanied the congressman to Saudi Arabia last year. A Saudi-American businessman flew Cunningham to Saudi Arabia twice last year aboard a private jet. On the second trip, the jet stopped in Athens to pick up Kontogiannis, a native of Greece with businesses interests in several countries.Youch.
Ziyad Abduljawad, founder and chairman of San Diego-based PLC Land Co., paid for Cunningham's two trips to Saudi Arabia, each at a cost of more than $10,000. Cunningham has described Abduljawad as an acquaintance who shares his interest in improving U.S.-Saudi relations.
Kontogiannis "went as a friend of Duke's," said Harmony Allen, Cunningham's chief of staff. "That's the extent of it. Duke asked him to go as a friend.
I'm not sure if (Kontogiannis) had a special interest (in visiting) Saudi Arabia or not."
It was unclear who paid for Kontogiannis' trip.
Again, visit Talking Points Memo for more info on the Dukester.
Republicans Denounce Ex-Lawmaker
Meaning, they are "distancing themselves" from Cunningham:
With several investigations focusing on top Republican officials and growing public unease over the war in Iraq and economic policy at home, party leaders moved to distance themselves and their party from Mr. Cunningham's felony plea.Funny: Back in June, Tom Delay said that, "(Cunningham) is an honorable man of high integrity."
"What a difference...a day makes."
Though some Republican officials said Democrats in Congress were equally guilty of questionable behavior, including lobbyist-paid trips and underreporting of campaign contributions, they acknowledged that Republicans, because they control the White House and Congress, are being held to a higher standard by many voters.No.
Republicans are being held to a "higher standard" because they spend way too much time screaming and yelling about morals and family values.
Remember, they're "God's Own Party."
And to the point that "Democrats in Congress (are) equally guilty of questionable behavior?"
Will someone please add up the total $ taken in by the Repubs through all of these recent scandals?
The number will DWARF anything taken in by the Dems...because it's stupid to throw money at a losing horse.
Prosecutors said the contractors also gave Mr. Cunningham hundreds of thousands of dollars' worth of gifts, including a Rolls-Royce, two 19th-century French commodes, four armoires, a wooden sideboard with turned wooden spindles, three nightstands, a necklace, a laser shooting simulator and $15,000 worth of Oriental carpets (described in court documents as "one Indo Herati, one Karaja, one Indo Keshan and two Cino Kerman rugs").Good times.
The contractors also paid for tens of thousands of dollars' worth of repairs to the Rolls-Royce and to Mr. Cunningham's boat, the Kelly C, and essentially bought the former congressman a $2.55 million home in the exclusive San Diego County community of Rancho Santa Fe.
Back on Nov. 17, I posted some of the figures that have been thrown around in the Abramoff/Indian Casino case.
See Lawmakers Acted on Heels of Abramoff Gifts for more info:
WASHINGTON - Nearly three dozen members of Congress, including leaders from both parties, pressed the government to block a Louisiana Indian tribe from opening a casino while the lawmakers collected large donations from rival tribes and their lobbyist, Jack Abramoff.Again --
Denny Hastert, R-The creepiest suburbs outside of Chicago - $100,000
Thad Cochran, R-Miss - $77,000
The Hammer, R-Hell - $57,000
Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa - $62,200
T. Lott - $65,000
Pete Sessions, R-TX - $5,000
J. Doolittle, R-CA - $33,000
Roy "I'm taking over for The Hammer" Blount, R-Miss - $3,000
Vitter, R-LA - $6,000
Reid, D-NV - $66,000
Mary Landrieu, D-LA - $24,000
J. Breaux, D-LA - $11,000
Long story short...Repubs take in more cash.
Methinks that our dear friends on the other side of the aisle will not rest until they find the Dem version of Duke Cunningham.
New evidence is emerging that the top Democrat on the Senate committee currently investigating Jack Abramoff got political money arranged by the lobbyist back in 2002 shortly after the lawmaker took action favorable to Abramoff's tribal clients.$5,000.
A lawyer for the Louisiana Coushatta Indians told The Associated Press that Abramoff instructed the tribe to send $5,000 to Sen. Byron Dorgan's political group just three weeks after the North Dakota Democrat urged fellow senators to fund a tribal school program Abramoff's clients wanted to use.
BTW: The Dorgan story is fading.