Friday, July 29, 2005

Duke Must Go - the Sequel

The Cunningham Slime
Just Keeps Leaking Out

Today, the San Diego Union Tribune reports another amazing story about Congress Randy "Duke" Cunningham.

Between 2001 and 2003, Cunningham took a very active roll in pushing the Internal Revenue Service to hire a San Diego a company that had formed to provide tax auditing services to the IRS. None of the principles in this company, First Auditors, had any accounting experience and they intended to perform the specialized audits using software developed by a company, Integrated Actuarial Services, that lost out in the contract bidding process to First Auditors.

"Integrated Actuarial Services of Ormond Beach, Fla., says the Rancho Santa Fe Republican, acting in his role as a member of the House Appropriations Committee, pressed the IRS to pursue an auditing project that led to a contract benefiting the San Diego group.

The group, which includes two residents of Cunningham's district, incorporated in 1999 as First Auditors for the express purpose of pursuing the IRS auditing contract. None of them had an accounting background, and First Auditors had no other projects or clients."

During the time that First Auditors was attempting to capture the IRS contract that ultimately came their way, "Cunningham wrote at least five letters to the IRS commissioner ... urging the agency to sign a contract for the program." But, Cunningham apparently did more than just write letters.

In May 2001 he appealed to IRS commissioner, Charles Rosotti, for "a meeting with you on behalf of my constituents, the principals of First Auditors' L.L.C., of San Diego."

Letters, meetings and ultimately legislation.

"Cunningham was instrumental in getting language into the appropriations committee report accompanying the annual IRS funding bills in 2002, 2003 and 2004 that called on the agency to spend $3 million, $4 million and $4 million, respectively, on the project."

Besides a personal sense of satisfaction, what did Cunningham gain from his support of First Auditors?

"First Auditors' three principals and their Washington lobbyist donated a total of $11,600 to Cunningham's campaign and political action committee between 2001 and 2005."

What about the program that Cunningham push so hard to have the IRS put in place?

"About $5 million was spent – including $3.5 million paid to First Auditors and $1.5 million spent internally by the IRS – before the IRS halted the program."

Two things amaze me about the whole series of Cunningham dealings. First, why hasn't he had the decency to resign? Second, why has not a single Democrat lodged an ethics complaint against Cunningham?