Tuesday, July 26, 2005

Hail to the Duke! The GOP Corruption Story that keeps on Giving

 Rep. Randy "Duke" Cunningham (R-California) is the GOP Sleazeball who keeps on giving.  He May be retiring at the end of this term, but that hasn't stopped him from leaving an ever spreading trail of Slime and corruption of the way out the door.

The shady dealings with a defense contactor who bought his house and gave him a boat were enough, to make him the Perfect poster child for the GOP's Culture of Corruption, (and the GOP's symbiotic relationship with the Klepto-Industrial complex).

But today comes word of a fresh new scandal involving Another Corrupt  businessman, and yet another shady House and boat deal.

As a bonus, this one includes an attempt to intimidate a federal prosecutor on behalf of a NY businessman under investigation for, you're going to love this,   bribing a school superintendent to get a computer contract.

Really. Is it just me or are we sensing a theme here:

Rep. Randy "Duke" Cunningham wrote to a prosecutor in Queens in 2000 on behalf of a New York developer who was then under investigation for bribing a school superintendent to get a computer contract. The businessman, Thomas T. Kontogiannis, later bought the California Republican's boat and helped finance his new home.

What is this with the Dukester and his boats?

Even Elvis didn't need this many boats.

Now his lawyer vehemently denies any wrongdoing:

K. Lee Blalack II, Cunningham's attorney, said: "Duke's letter to the district attorney did not urge any outcome or action of any kind in the investigation of Mr. Kontogiannis"

Really? hmm. Funny , cause when I read it...well you be the judge:

According to sources who read the letter to a reporter, Cunningham wrote that it had come to his attention that the prosecutor had filed a case against Kontogiannis. The congressman wrote that there may be a political agenda against the school official by a disgruntled contractor and that Kontogiannis may have been victimized as a result. He asked Brown to contact him with any information he could provide on the case, and he thanked the prosecutor for considering his concern.

Cunningham noted in the letter, the sources added, that he had filed a congressional inquiry with Rep. Henry J. Hyde (R-Ill.), who was then chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, and attached a note in which a committee lawyer acknowledged receiving the inquiry and said he was looking into it.

So let's review. Cunningham not only "comments on an ongoing investigation" which as we all know is a big No-no in GOP circles.  But he goes so far as to explain  that his good buddy was the victim of a frame up, and the US House Judiciary Committee was investigating the matter.  (for those of you playing along at home, that would be the committee that his boss' boss' boss has to answer to.)  

 Nope. Can't see how That might be an attempt to influence the outcome of the investigation in Any way.

Or at least that's his lawyer's story and he's sticking to  it:

{the Letter} merely related Mr. Kontogiannis's concerns about a political agenda behind the investigation and asked the prosecutor for a response. There is nothing improper or unethical about such a request."

Oddly though, the lawyer for the Judiciary Committee disagrees:

Sam Stratman, a spokesman for Hyde, said the note "was merely a matter of courtesy to acknowledge that the committee had received [Cunningham's] request." When the committee lawyer "learned that the New York case was a potential criminal matter," Stratman said, "any inquiry would have been inappropriate.  No inquires were ever made of New York officials by the chairman or his staff."

And The Dukes poor framed up friend?  Well, He copped a plea and coughed up a huge wad of cash:

Kontogiannis was indicted along with the school superintendent a few weeks later. He pleaded guilty to a scheme to defraud in the second degree, a misdemeanor, and agreed to pay nearly $5 million to settle the bid-rigging case.

But apparently this poor "businessman" is awful careless with his money anyway, like the time he Bought Duke's boat for a whole lot more than it was worth and then clean plumb forgot to change title.  Amazing how absent minded people get sometimes:

Kontogiannis has said he bought Cunningham's boat, the Kelly C, for $600,000 in 2002 and then spent $100,000 on improvements. He never changed the title, and the boat is still registered in Cunningham's name.

Kontogiannis said he used more than $400,000 he owed the congressman on the purchase of the Kelly C to pay off the second mortgage of the home Cunningham bought after his home sale to Wade.

Could this guy Be Any More corrupt?  All he needs is can of  mustache wax and he's a cartoon character. (Maybe he really is the Doonesbury character mysteriously brought to life, the personal ethics are a match...)

This is really quite a hit Parade:  endangering national security  by corruptly awarding  defense contracts to cronies,  screwing  with the justice system by trying to protect a criminal  who was trying to defraud school children!  

What's next? A revelation that he awarded an HHS contract to a guy who's hobby is administering heavy sack beatings to widows and orphans?

Guys, they are making this way too easy on us.  If Dems don't use Dumbass "Duke", and Tripping Tommy DeLay, and the rest of the Culture of Corruption Players as a hook to nationalize the 06 elections and Sweep the chamber, then we simply don't deserve to be a national party.

As C. Montgomery Burns would say

"Release the Hounds"


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