Saturday, April 22, 2006

Lawsuit Links Doolittle to Another Brent Wilkes Scam

The North County Times brings us news of a new lawsuit in San Diego contends that Brent Wilkes conspired with convicted Republican felon, Randy "Duke" Cunningham to illegally "steer contracts away from San Diego-based American Technology Corp. to a company Wilkes controlled."

American Technology developed acoustical technology that was of interest to the military. The company's systems could be used to transmit voice and sound warnings over long distances.
In the aftermath of the October 2000 terrorist attack in Yemen on the USS Cole which killed 17 U.S. sailors, the Navy established a 500-yard protection zone around U.S. vessels.

The decision to create a "protection" zone raised the need for a long-range acoustic device to hail and warn vessels away from the ships. In response, according to court records, American Technology sped up development of technology that allowed for long-distance verbal and sound warnings to any approaching vessels.

In May 2003, the company delivered its first prototypes of the system to the Navy. In February 2004, the company was awarded its first contract for the system by the U.S. Marine Corps. Other contracts soon followed. And, according to the company, it "had a reasonable expectation of a continued economic relationship with the U.S. Navy."
Brent Wilkes apparently saw an opportunity in the exploitation of this technology and in 2004, Wilkes became the the controlling partner in Acoustical Communications Systems, a company created to utilize the same acoustical technology as American Technology Corp. Wilkes created Acoustical Communications System out of a small San Diego company, Horizon Sports Technology. Horizon Sports officials became minority partners to Wilkes in Acoustical Communications. Wilkes played his congressional connections to help bring the Horizon Sports team on board.
According to the lawsuit, in the lead-up to forming that partnership, Wilkes told his prospective partners that an unnamed Congressman had obtained authorization from Congress for a $25 million for such a warning system project and that his company had a track record of successfully lobbying U.S. government officials for projects.

The lawsuit said that even before creating the new company, another company owned by Wilkes, Group W Advisors, signed a consultancy agreement with Horizon calling for it to pay $1.5 million in upfront money "for lobbyists and various expenses," to secure the $25 million deal.

Between January and November 2004, the lawsuit states, Wilkes and other officials with his companies, including the newly formed partnership, "traveled to various locations to meet various United States Senators, Representatives, government employees and trade associations related to obtaining the contract ... these included trips to Washington D.C., Florida, Las Vegas, Nevada, and various locations in California and Hawaii."
We have the typical Brent Wilkes business and the typical Brent Wilkes approach. The technology doesn't matter, what matters is making sure that the political wheels are greased with cash. So how does Representative John Doolittle (CA-4) fit into this whole deal? Let's follow the money that Wilkes new business partners began to throw around.
Federal Elections Commission campaign finance records show that in 2004, two key Horizon executives donated $5,000 each to the conservative Superior California Federal Leadership Fund, which donates hundreds of thousands of dollars each year to congressional campaigns.
Which member of congress rusn the Superior California Federal Leadership Fund PAC?

Yes, it is none other that John Doolittle.

And, just by coincidence, which member of congress directly pocketed $1,500 out of the $10,000 donated by the Horizon executives?

Yes, that too would be John Doolittle, whose wife Julie gets a 15% commission on funds raised for Doolittle's PAC.

Brent Wilkes owned Randy Cunningham and if you look at the money that Wilkes donated directely or steered to John Doolittle, it is apparent that if he didn't own Doolittle, he was renting him on a pretty regular basis.