Saturday, July 09, 2005

The Age of Innocence

"It's really hard to imagine innocent explanations for all this," says Melanie Sloan head of the Center for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington. Ms. Sloan is speaking of the ever growing web of scandals involving Congressman Randy "Duke" Cunningham.

The North County Times has an a detailed summary of both the various potential Cunningham legal issues and the grand jury process that will try and unravel them.

Regarding the legal issues the NC Time summarizes them as they stand today. Considering the frequency at which new revelations of misconduct are popping up, who knows what the list will look like tomorrow.

Believed to be at the heart of the jury's inquiry is whether any laws were broken in Cunningham's real estate transaction and other dealings with Washington, D.C., defense contractor Mitchell J. Wade and Wade's company, MZM Inc. Also at issue are the congressman's apparent unauthorized use of the congressional seal on a commercial product sold through a company he owns, as well as his financial dealings and a boat sale with a New York developer.

The article also warns everyone that this sort of investigation is going to take a long time.

"In a politically sensitive matter like this, it could take an incredibly long time," said Shaun Martin, a professor of law at the University of San Diego and a former editor of the Harvard Law Review. "In any high-profile case like this, the U.S. attorney wants to leave no stone unturned and be extremely confident in the validity of their position."

I'm sure local Republicans are looking forward to a year's worth of investigations, leaks and revelations as the grand jury moves every stone under which a Cunningham scandal might be hiding. And, that steady drumbeat of corruption doesn't include the shrill accompaniment of a Congressional ethics investigation generating its own publicity.

[photo from Jesus' General]