Wednesday, July 13, 2005

Duke-Stir Heads Up the River
Will the Duke be Next?

Congressman Randy "Duke" Cunningham's home away from home, defense contractor Mitchell Wade's yacht, the Duke-Stir, set sail for an undisclosed location on Wednesday.

Also traveling soon will be four individuals associated with Washington's Capital Yacht Club, who are getting an all expense paid trip to San Diego.

According to an AP story:
The four who are flying to San Diego to testify Monday are the first witnesses known to be appearing before the federal panel that is gathering evidence on the eight-term Republican from Del Mar and his dealings with defense contractor MZM Inc.
The AP story closes the loop on a question I have always had about the Duke-Stir. Was it Wade's boat that he was letting Cunningham use, or was it a boat he purchased specifically for Cunningham? There is an important distinction here. It looks like the answer is that Wade bought the boat for Cunningham and Cunningham alone. As the AP story notes:

Wade had decided to sell the boat since Cunningham was no longer aboard and members of the private club had complained about the unwanted attention the Duke Stir was drawing.
The San Diego grand jury isn't the only agency that has on-going investigations into Cunningham and Wade.

The U.S. attorney's office in Washington, D.C., is also investigating Cunningham and Wade, said Channing Phillips, a spokesman.

Phillips declined to comment when asked if a second grand jury in Washington had been impaneled, but did say that prosecutors in his office's fraud and public corruption section were looking into the matter. Criminal investigators with the Defense Department and the Internal Revenue Service have also opened inquiries.

I'll bet Cunningham wishes he was on the Duke-Stir right now. Headed for parts unknown.

(photo by Hans Ericsson)