Friday, December 09, 2005

The "web of corruption" -- how far does it reach?

But the question is boyz, how far does the web extend? I have a feeling that this scandal is not over. XO

Democrat assails GOP over Wilkes contributions

By Philip J. LaVelle
UNION-TRIBUNE STAFF WRITER
December 7, 2005

The chairman of the San Diego County Democratic Party accused several leading Republicans yesterday of being part of a "web of corruption" for taking campaign contributions from a central figure in the case of former Rep. Randy "Duke" Cunningham.

Jesse Durfee pointed to thousands of dollars in donations to several current and former Republican officeholders – including some expected to run next year for Cunningham's vacant seat in the 50th Congressional District – and to Republican organizations.

Durfee's list, taken from public Web sites such as opensecrets.org, detailed payments from Poway defense contractor Brent Wilkes and his firms, ADCS Inc. and Group W.

Wilkes is not charged, but federal authorities identify him as a co-conspirator in the Cunningham case.

Cunningham pleaded guilty last week to conspiracy and tax evasion in admitting that he took $2.4 million in bribes to help defense firms gain government contracts.

"Voters will reject the Republicans' web of corruption," Durfee told reporters outside the downtown San Diego federal courthouse. "Voters in the 50th Congressional District do not want another congressional representative who is bought and paid for by Cunningham's money men."

Durfee's list showed payments of:

$18,500 to Rep. Duncan Hunter of El Cajon (includes $6,000 from Washington defense contractor Mitchell Wade, another person identified by federal authorities as a Cunningham co-conspirator who has not been charged, and his company, MZM Inc.).

$5,000 to Hunter's Peace Through Strength political action committee.

$18,250 to the Lincoln Club of San Diego County (includes $250 from Cunningham).

$9,200 to Assemblyman George Plescia of La Jolla.

$7,000 to former Rep. Brian Bilbray of Carlsbad (including $1,000 from Cunningham).

$6,500 to the San Diego County Republican Party (includes $1,500 from Cunningham).

$5,000 to Rep. Darrell Issa of Vista.

$4,500 to Assemblyman Mark Wyland of Del Mar.

$4,000 to former Assemblywoman Charlene Zettel of Poway.

$1,000 to state Sen. Bill Morrow of Oceanside.

Bilbray and Morrow are running for the Cunningham seat.

Ron Nehring, chairman of the county Republican Party, dismissed Durfee's remarks and said voters will replace Cunningham with another Republican.

"When you have a party that is headed for yet another loss in North County, you expect oddball, bizarre acts of desperation like this," Nehring said.

He also sought to downplay payments to the local Republican Party.

"The Republican Party in San Diego raises over $1 million a year, and the overwhelming majority of that support comes from Republicans who are interested in lower taxes, smaller government and winning the war on terror," he said.