Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Capitol Crooks - US News Investigation

Fascinating investigative piece in latest US News on the corporation behind the "Duke" Cunningham scandal:
"A huge spider web." Cunningham "earmarked" millions of dollars in defense projects for Wade and Wilkes in a manner so brazen federal prosecutors called it "unparalleled" in the long, sordid history of congressional corruption. Cunningham now is serving an eight-year prison term, while Wade, 46, has pleaded guilty to paying Cunningham more than $1 million in bribes and is cooperating with prosecutors. Wade's sentencing has been postponed until next March. He faces a maximum prison term of 135 months. He declined to be interviewed for this account, as did his attorneys.

Prosecutors are using information from Melkessetian and his MZM colleagues to test Wade's veracity, to track cash or other assets he may be hiding, and to recommend the length of his prison sentence. The MZM employees have told investigators that they were unaware of Wade's corrupt acts, but as Melkessetian puts it, they suspected he was "up to no good."

Today, the FBI, the Defense Criminal Investigative Service, and the Defense Security Service are working with prosecutors to put the finishing touches on indictments against several other defense contractors, and senior defense and intelligence officials, who helped Wade with his corrupt activities. "We have been looking at everybody that's involved," says a federal law enforcement official. "Anytime you talk about defense contracting, it's a huge spider web."