The San Diego Union-Tribune and Copley News Service
Read the original reporting from The San Diego Union-Tribune and Copley News Service about the bribery scandal involving Congressman Randy "Duke" Cunningham.
Click here for recent updates, video of Cunningham's resignation speech, and court documents related to the story.
And here for the details on The Wrong Stuff: The Extraordinary Saga of Randy "Duke" Cunningham, The Most Corrupt Congressman Ever Caught, the book-length political biography of Cunningham by members of the team who broke the story.
POLITICS AND BRIBERY
"The End of Legal Bribery," Washington Monthly, June 2006
When does a campaign contribution turn into a bribe? How widespread is the practice? In the light of lobbyist Jack Abramoff's corruption scandal, Jeffrey Birnbaum attempts to answer these questions and considers a series of solutions that could change life in Washington forever.
Federal Election Campaign Act (FECA)
Enacted in 1971, FECA is a federal law that regulates the financial aspects of federal election campaigns. Among other things, FECA requires candidates to disclose source of campaign donations and campaign expenditures, and sets legal limits on campaign contributions by individuals and organizations. A 1974 Amendment to the law created the Federal Election Commission, to administer and enforce the Act.
Office of Management and Budget
The Office of Management and Budget oversees the activities of federal agencies, monitoring a range of topics relating to federal policy, management, legislative, regulatory, and budgetary issues. The OMB website also dedicates an entire section to earmarks. On January 3, 2007 President Bush called on Congress to cut the number and cost of earmarks by at least half. To establish a benchmark for accurately measuring the President's goal, OMB requested agencies provide data on the earmarks for FY 2005 and created a database of appropriations.
ADVOCACY AND WATCHDOG GROUPS
Taxpayers for Common Sense
Taxpayers for Common Sense (TCS) is a nonpartisan budget watchdog group. TCS is dedicated to cutting wasteful government spending and subsidies in order to achieve a responsible and efficient government that lives within its means. TCS creates databases of earmarks in recent appropriations and authorizations bills, and then provides information about the requesting members, dollar amounts and beneficiaries – when it can get that information. In October 2007, TCS and the Sunlight Foundation launched EarmarkWatch.org, an effort to recruit every day citizens as researchers to explore the connections between requesting members and those who benefit.
Citizens Against Government Waste (CAGW)
Citizens Against Government Waste is a private, nonpartisan, nonprofit organization founded in 1984 by industrialist J. Peter Grace and syndicated columnist Jack Anderson. CAGW researches waste, mismanagement, and inefficiency in the federal government; it publishes the annual "Congressional Pig Book Summary," a list of the most egregious and wasteful pork-barrel projects attached to the year's appropriations bills and the members of Congress responsible for them. The Council for Citizens Against Government Waste (CCAGW), the lobbying arm of CAGW, publishes an annual Congressional Ratings list which rates members of Congress on how they vote on key tax and spending issues.
Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington
A campaign finance watchdog group, Citizens for Responsibility in Washington "uses high-impact legal actions to target government officials who sacrifice the common good to special interests." In the aftermath of the scandal involving Duke Cunningham's corruption, this group called on him to return the money he received from defense contractors looking to boost their businesses with the federal government.
Automated Document Conversion Systems (ADCS)
In 1995, California businessman Brent Wilkes founded a document conversion company named ADCS. As reported by Dean Calbreath of The San Diego Union Tribune, between 1995 and 2005, Wilkes and those close to him provided over $700,000 dollars in bribes to Congressman Duke Cunningham and other powerful politicians, in return for lucrative government contracts for his company. Wilkes has been charged with 14 counts of conspiracy, bribery, fraud and money laundering. He has pleaded not guilty. On November 5, 2007, Wilkes was convicted of 13 felonies including conspiracy, bribery, money laundering, and wire fraud.
Athena Innovative Solutions (formerly MZM Inc.)
Shortly after Marc Stern's story about Cunningham's inflated house sale to MZM, Inc. appeared in June 2005, Mitchell Wade resigned as the company's CEO and president. In August 2005, MZM, Inc. was bought by Veritas Capital, a New York private-equity firm and renamed Athena Innovative Solutions. In February 2006, Mitchell Wade pleaded guilty to conspiring to bribe Congressman Cunningham, election fraud and other charges.
On September 24, 2007, CACI International Inc. announced its intention to acquire Athena Innovative Solutions, Inc. from Veritas Capital. The deal is expected to close on November 1, 2007.