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How Many Slow Rides To Come?


Looks like several more friendly Republican limo service users have been indicted in the ever-expanding Duke Cunningham/Wilkes/Shirlington Limo fiasco.  As Howie says:

With two key GOP operatives in the Republican Culture of Corruption, Brent Wilkes and Kyle Scooter Dusty Foggo, about to be indicted, extreme paranoia is sweeping the Republican congressional caucus. At least two dozen GOP congressmen were on the receiving end of goodies from these two. If either turns state's evidence, you will see crooked congressmen like Virgil Goode, Jr., Jerry Lewis, Duncan Hunter, John Doolittle and many more joining their pals Cunningham and Ney in prison.

Think of this as a farewell gift from Carol Lam, the Republican prosecutor fired by the Bush Regime– without cause– in order to derail the investigation which had already nailed Cunningham and is close to ending the political careers of at least 4 California Republican congressmen. Do you remember when this investigation was dismissed by Bush operatives as a fantasy existing nowhere but in the fevered minds of bloggers?

As a political bombshell of a potential story, it really doesn't get much more potent than this, does it? Alleged bribery, gambling, limo rides with hookers? What's that, you say, hookers?!? Why…yes. Remember this from the Cunningham indictment days:

Duke Cunningham, of course, is serving out an eight year-plus prison sentence for taking bribes. Federal investigators have been told that Shirlington ferried Duke around town, as well as prostitutes which serviced him.

Yes, I know: ewwwww. And yet, after days and days of "all Anna Nicole, alla time," is there any doubt that all it would take is for the info-tainment-crazy media to get its hands on a video of just one member of Congress in a limo doing who knows what to whom? (Again: ewwwww.  But there you are.)

According to the San Diego Union-Tribune, there are multiple charges levels against Wilkes and Foggo, and a third man — John T. Michael, who is the nephew-in-law of "Thomas Kontogiannis, a Long Island developer who sought Cunningham's help in seeking a presidential pardon for a conviction in a New York schools bribery scandal. Ultimately, Kontogiannis decided not to pursue the pardon. "  (Cozy.)  The indicted charges include:

The jury returned 11 counts against Foggo and Wilkes that include conspiracy, wire fraud, conflict of interest and money laundering. It charges Foggo with using his seniority and influence within the CIA to direct the awarding of contracts to Wilkes, his lifelong friend.

A second indictment, which included 26 counts, names Wilkes and New York-based mortgage banker John T. Michael, who co-owned a mortgage company that provided loans to Cunningham. It charges Wilkes with conspiracy, wire fraud, bribery of a public official and money laundering.

A huge thank you to Carol Lam and her devoted AUSAs and federal investigators who worked on this investigation. And a huge thumbs down to the Bush Administration for throwing her out just as she was zeroing in on corrupt Republican members of Congress. Cronyism and corruption, thy name is Republican Party. Perhaps they should rename themselves from GOP to CYA?

Don't know about you guys, but this sounds awfully promising:

The indictment alleges that Wilkes paid bribes to Cunningham in the form of cash, checks, lavish meals, trips, lodging, corporate jet travel, boats and prostitution.

The indictment says that on two occasions Wilkes provided prostitutes for himself and the congressman on two consecutive evenings on a lavish Hawaiian trip.

Court documents also allege that Foggo and Wilkes, both 52, schemed to conceal Foggo's conflict of interest and corrupt intent by using shell companies and straw men, and laundered the proceeds of their fraud.

Foggo accepted tens of thousands of dollars in meals, gifts and vacations, and a standing offer of a senior executive position with ADCS. Foggo disclosed none of this to the CIA, according to the indictment.

Prosecutors are asking for forfeiture of $12 million from Wilkes and Michael.

“These two indictments describe patterns of self-dealing and corruption that spanned years and reached deep into our country's systems of procurement in the defense industry,” Lam said.

“The allegations in the indictments describe undisclosed personal and financial relationships between government officials and individuals seeking lucrative defense contracts. These personal and financial relationships led to benefits totalling thousands, even millions of dollars, being bestowed on government officials and millions of dollars in defense contracts flowing back in the other direction.”  (emphasis mine)

Hmmmm…government officials…personal and financial relationships…hookers.   Did I mention the elected government officials, potential bribes and HOOKERS?  (Sure, it's a shameless plug for more corporate media coverage of this story.  But, frankly, I cannot take one more day of the Anna Nicole Smith-a-thon.  Or Britney's panties or lack thereof.  Or TomKat.  Whatever.  It is so hard to keep track of the infotainment of the day.  Just think of it, teevee producer types — politics and hookers News at 11.)

Isn't it time we all started asking our members of Congress again why it is that a recess-appointment pal of Tom DeLay's is still running the Public Corruption unit at the DoJ? It's time we asked some very serious questions about Alice?   And, while we're at it, why there has been so little movement since Jack is alleged to have spilled an awful lot of Republican beans?

For so much more on this, do NOT miss the coverage at TPM Muckraker.   Truly, the Muck has been all over this story (metaphorically speaking) and they deserve huge kudos for their coverage.  Just check out this link, and be amazed at how much has not been covered in the corporate media at any length.

(And just for kicks, here is Foghat from a live 1978 performance doing Slow Ride, that includes Rod Price's full solo slide intro.  Duuuuuude…)

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Christy Hardin Smith

Christy Hardin Smith

Christy is a "recovering" attorney, who earned her undergraduate degree at Smith College, in American Studies and Government, concentrating in American Foreign Policy. She then went on to graduate studies at the University of Pennsylvania in the field of political science and international relations/security studies, before attending law school at the College of Law at West Virginia University, where she was Associate Editor of the Law Review. Christy was a partner in her own firm for several years, where she practiced in a number of areas including criminal defense, child abuse and neglect representation, domestic law, civil litigation, and she was an attorney for a small municipality, before switching hats to become a state prosecutor. Christy has extensive trial experience, and has worked for years both in and out of the court system to improve the lives of at risk children.

Email: reddhedd AT firedoglake DOT com