Sunday, March 19, 2006

Republican Business - Steal Everything You Can Get Your Hand On

The Washington Post details the business practices of Mitchell Wade, convicted felon. What he couldn't buy outright he rented or stole.

A review of the rise and fall of Wade and his company, based on interviews and MZM and government documents, shows that bribing Cunningham was only one part of Wade's formula for success. His firm, which had no prime federal contracts in fiscal 2002, collected more than $170 million over the next three years, thanks not just to Cunningham, but also to Wade's ability to take practices common among government contractors and push them to the limit.


He freely distributed title and rank, appointing more than 100 vice presidents, executive vice presidents and "senior executive vice presidents" in a company of about 400 people. He aggressively used the "revolving door" between the government's defense and intelligence bureaucracy and the private industry, attracting top talent and often sending new hires back to work on contracts at their former agencies and to try to cultivate new business.

MZM was able as the sole bidder to win a "blanket purchase agreement" for up to $225 million over five years in Pentagon technology work, though procurement regulations require at least three competitive bids.

Kenneth L. Wainstein, U.S. attorney for the District, said after Wade's guilty plea that the agreement amounted to "a $225 million blank check drawn on taxpayer funds."


According to several sources inside and outside the company, including some former employees, Wade attracted staff by offering tens of thousands of dollars more than the going salary. The sources agreed to speak only on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the subject. As his company grew, he hired people like retired Army Lt. Gen. James King, who held several high positions at Pentagon intelligence agencies and now runs Athena Innovative Solutions Inc., MZM's successor company. Wade also hired David Holmes, a former CIA lawyer; John Quattrocki, a high-ranking FBI officer; and Kay Coles James, the former head of the Bush administration's Office of Personnel Management.


The global war on terror was good for business. There was lots of work at the National Ground Intelligence Center and the Counterintelligence Field Activity. The Pentagon called on MZM to help seek counters to roadside bombs in Iraq. The Special Operations Command in Tampa needed help too. And thanks to an earmark from Rep. Virgil H. Goode Jr. (R-Va.), MZM was picked to run a Foreign Supplier Assessment Center in Martinsville, Va., to check out foreign-based contractors.

Last July, a month after the San Diego Union-Tribune triggered the investigation by disclosing the home sale, the Pentagon was still telling Cunningham's office that money was in the pipeline for his latest MZM earmarks.

This is what putting Republicans in power means for the American people. Thieves like Mitchell Wade are allowed to steal our money with the aid of their powerful allies, the people we elect to serve us in Congress.