Tuesday, August 16, 2005

He Can Hide, But Can He Serve?

While the people's elected representative, Congressman Randy "Duke" Cunningham, continues to hide from his constituents, the federal grand jury looking into his affairs sticks to it business.

The North County Times reports that,

"The defense contractor at the center of a San Diego federal grand jury investigation of U.S. Rep. Randy "Duke" Cunningham has been subpoenaed to testify before the panel.

Mitchell J. Wade, owner and former president of MZM, Inc., received the subpoena recently, a source close to the investigation told the North County Times on Monday....

The jury is examining whether Cunningham, an eight-term Escondido Republican, improperly influenced the awarding of Pentagon defense contracts to MZM through his position as a member of the powerful House Appropriations Committee and its Defense Subcommittee.

Wade, whose 2003 purchase of Cunningham's Del Mar Heights home at an apparently inflated price triggered the probe, wasn't the only one to receive a subpoena in recent days as the pace of the grand jury's work accelerates. More staffers from the congressman's Washington, D.C., office also have been ordered to appear, another source close to the investigation told the newspaper."

A Cunningham spokesman, continuing the Congressman's policy of stonewalling, refused to confirm the new round of subpoenas.

"...Mark Olson declined to comment directly on that report. Instead, Olson issued a written statement saying that any additional subpoenas served on staffers did not have to be disclosed until the House returns from its August recess on Sept. 6.

"There have been no subpoenas disclosed to the House because the House is out of session until Sept. 6," Olson wrote. "Due to the sensitivity of your inquiry, I can't provide you with any more details."

This is the Cunningham pattern. Hide or obscure the facts. Are there subpoenas or not? Why won't the Congressman's office answer that question? Cunningham's evasions continue. Just as the former "top gun" continues to hide from his constituents, while telling them that he can continue on in his job.

How can he do his job if the people he works for can't find him?

A North County group, Resign Randy, is asking that same question.

"Monday's disclosure of the latest subpoenas came as a North County-based group stepped up a signature drive calling for Cunningham's immediate resignation.

"We feel that it is inappropriate for an individual in his position with a black cloud hanging over him to simply wait out the end of his term," spokesman Matt O'Connor said in reference to Cunningham's announcement last month that he would not seek re-election to a ninth term.

"How can he do his work in Washington when he won't meet with voters?" O'Connor said. "If he is unable to do that, than clearly he is unable to serve."

Cunningham through his spokesman declared that these calls by his constituents were nothing more than "another partisan attack and a poorly directed publicity stunt."

Duke is creating more partisans every day with his tactics of hide, deny and obscure.

The people of the 50th District deserve better than this.