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It’s Hard Out Here For a Crook


Details of the Duke Cunningham scandal continue to unfold.  TPM is now reporting that the mysterious first time $140,000 contract that Cunningham cutout Mitchell Wade scored to provide services to Dick Cheney turns out to have been for…anthrax screening of White House mail:

Why did a company like Wade's, which had no track record whatsoever and had only been approved to receive federal government contracts two months earlier, get a contract from the White House to screen the mail of the President of the United States? Was Wade actually working in concert with or as the cut out for accused fellow Cunningham briber Brent Wilkes? And what role might Doolittle and Ney have played? And what about Wade's claims of having pull with the Vice President? Is that what got him the deal?

The Wilkes-Wade business model was corrupting members of Congress and the executive branch in order to obtain pricey government contracts, often but not always for worthless products and services, and almost always stashed away in classified programs where the light of day could never expose their corrupt practices. And Wade's first contract was with the White House itself. So whose palm got greased?

Remember that two weeks after the deal, Wade purchased a yacht for Cunningham — for $140,000.  If Dick Cheney pushed this deal through, I think Shooter's got some 'splainin to do.

(And no, the photo has nothing directly to do with the story, except tangentially.  I just like it.)

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Jane Hamsher

Jane Hamsher

Jane is the founder of Her work has also appeared on the Huffington Post, Alternet and The American Prospect. She’s the author of the best selling book Killer Instinct and has produced such films Natural Born Killers and Permanent Midnight. She lives in Washington DC.
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