Tuesday, September 13, 2005

Cunningham Still Sucks

Yes, Randy "Duke" Cunningham is still the representative of California's 50th congressional district. No, Cunningham is not working for the people of his district. Yes, since the first revelation of bribery was published in June, Cunningham has failed to propose a single piece of legislation to support the needs of his constituents.

Yes, he is still a crook. Yes, allegations of impropriety keep piling up. Yes, it appears that Cunningham has accepted multiple large bribes as well as selling his influence for campaign contributions and other perks.

No, not a single Democrat has stepped forward to request an ethics investigation of Cunningham. Yes, it is hard to have any respect for Democrats in congress.

Saturday, the San Diego Union Tribune reports on another boat provide to Cunningham by a major defense contractor, whose business was enhanced by his association with the Duke.

"First there was the Kelly C. Then there was the Duke Stir. And now a third boat has emerged in the ongoing saga of favors offered to Rep. Randy "Duke" Cunningham by business executives whose companies won millions of dollars in government contracts with Cunningham's support.

Brent Wilkes, the Poway defense contractor whose home and offices were raided last month by federal agents, allowed Cunningham use of a 14.5-foot, 170-horsepower fiberglass boat several years ago when it was docked near Cunningham's yacht in Washington, D.C.

Critics say the boat is another example of the favors that some businessmen offered Cunningham and of his willingness to accept their offers as he advanced their interests."

On Sunday, North County Times columnist,

"The embattled congressman cannot possibly be working on behalf of North County, simply because he hasn't the time. He is far too busy fending off the very serious assorted charges of wrongdoing on a vulgar scale, and so he should quit now. North County deserves more in a congressman than absence.

Added to all of the charges is a simple and awful fact: He won't explain himself, as he once promised to do. He won't deign to tell the people who sent him to
Washington what he's been up to. Whatever is going through his head has led him additionally to the commission of the worst kind of crime for an elected public man: the disdain of silence.

At this stage, one can only plead: Do what you must to try to save yourself, Mr. Cunningham. But get out of the way."

Echoing Van Doorn's comments, the government watchdog group, Common Cause, announced that it would be calling for Cunningham to step down from his position on the Appropriations and Intelligence committees. Common Cause is concerned that Cunningham's focus on rewarding major contributors with government business, at times against the will of the departments forced to work with Cunningham's friends, is more than a distraction when American soldiers are putting their lives in harms way in the Middle East.

"Common Cause officials said they plan to send letters to the congressman, the House Ethics Committee and several members of Congress today calling for the eight-term congressman and former Navy ace pilot to give up his jobs on the House Appropriations Defense Subcommittee and the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence and as chairman of that committee's Subcommittee on Terrorism, Analysis and Counterintelligence, said Kathay Feng, executive director for California Common Cause. The group is the state arm of the national organization.

"Our concern is that decisions made that affect the safety of our troops are based on intelligence and not personal benefits," Feng said Monday. She added that Common Cause will also call on the House Ethics Committee to investigate Cunningham.

Feng added that Cunningham's legal entanglements make it impossible for him to focus on the nation's security."

So, Cunningham remains entrenched in the office of a public servant, while avoiding public contact. His primary efforts are focused on staying out of jail as a Federal grand jury probes a series of highly suspect business dealings and relationships. Evidence from multiple joint FBI, IRS, Defense Department raids is being sifted and prepared for review by the jury and prosecutors.

If Cunningham had any honor left, he would step aside and let someone else serve the people of his district. He certainly doesn't have the time.