Tuesday, February 21, 2006

WaPo Rehash

Yesterday, we touted Raw Story's tease of today's Washington Post story about Brent Wilkes. It's good to see the Post stick with the Wilkes' story and the connections between Wilkes and Representatives John Doolittle (CA-4), Jerry Lewis (CA-41) and Duncan Hunter (CA-52).

That said, the Post story is pretty much a rehash of work already done by the reporting team of the San Diego Union Tribune and Copley New Service.

Here are three articles from the UT to which we have linked in the past several weeks.

1. Case vs. DeLay Extends to Poway

Even before PerfectWave's patent disputes were resolved, it was donating money to key politicians in Washington. On Sept. 20, 2002, three months after the company was founded, it donated $15,000 to Delay's Texas PAC. By the end of 2003, Max and Ellen Gelwix made more
than $50,000 in political contributions, mostly to key Republican officials in the House leadership or the House Appropriations Committee.

Among other contributions, the Gelwixes donated $10,000 to DeLay's Americans for a Republican Majority PAC; $11,000 to Future Leaders PAC, headed by Rep. Jerry Lewis, R-Redlands, who chairs the House Appropriations Committee; $10,000 to Rely on Your Beliefs PAC, headed by acting House Majority Leader Roy Blunt of Missouri; and $10,000 to Superior California Federal Leadership Fund, headed by Rep. John Doolittle, R-Granite Bay, who is on the Appropriations Committee.

2. Four linked to area firm subpoenaed

PerfectWave, which specializes in acoustical technology, won more than $40 million in federal contracts between 2003 and 2005, according to congressional budget reports. Meanwhile, it donated money to DeLay and other key Republicans overseeing the appropriations process in Congress, including Rep. Jerry Lewis of Redlands, who is chairman of the Appropriations
Committee, and Rep. John T. Doolittle, a committee member who represents a district in the Sierra foothills near Sacramento.

The money was not requested by the Navy but was instead inserted by the Appropriations Committee as part of the closed-door congressional earmarking process.

3. The power of persuasion

From 1995 to 2005, as Wilkes got federal funding for his family of small defense companies, he steered more than $600,000 in contributions to lawmakers and their political action committees. The biggest beneficiary was House ppropriations Committee member John Doolittle from the Sacramento suburb of Granite Bay, who received at least $82,000 from Wilkes, his close relatives, employees and business partners. Appropriations Committee Chairman Jerry Lewis of Redlands received $60,000. Rep. Duncan Hunter of Alpine, chairman of the Armed Services Committee, got $39,200.

The last article noted, is a much better read than today's WaPo story, which covers all of the same ground that the UT was working over a month ago.

Of course, the key points are the same in all of these articles. Doolittle, Lewis, Hunter, DeLay and Cunningham helped "earmark" millions to companies that made contributions to them. They traded out tax dollars for products and technologies that no one else in the government wanted or needed for contributions to their political campaigns and political action committees.

These "representatives of the people" established a corporate welfare plan for rich Republicans, who bribed them with money, private jet travel, lavish fact finding trips, and more money.

I hope the "liberal media" keeps digging. Although the smell is getting pretty bad.