Cunningham Prostitution Connection Probed
This story has been out in various forms for a while now but in case you missed it, it alleges women for sale were given to a Congressman (and possibly other Congressmen) for sale:
Federal authorities are investigating allegations that a California defense contractor arranged for a Washington area limousine company to provide prostitutes to convicted former congressman Randy “Duke” Cunningham (R-Calif.) and possibly other lawmakers, sources familiar with the probe said yesterday.
In recent weeks, investigators have focused on possible dealings between Christopher D. Baker, president of Shirlington Limousine and Transportation Inc., and Brent R. Wilkes, a San Diego businessman who is under investigation for bribing Cunningham in return for millions of dollars in federal contracts, said one source, who requested anonymity because the investigation is ongoing.
Baker has a criminal record and has experienced financial difficulties, public records show. Last fall, his company was awarded a $21 million contract with the Department of Homeland Security to provide transportation, including limo service for senior officials. Baker and his lawyer declined to comment yesterday.
The Cunningham investigation’s latest twist came after Mitchell J. Wade, a defense contractor who has admitted bribing the former congressman, told prosecutors that Wilkes had an arrangement with Shirlington Limousine, which in turn had an arrangement with at least one escort service, one source said. Wade said limos would pick up Cunningham and a prostitute and bring them to suites Wilkes maintained at the Watergate Hotel and the Westin Grand in Washington, the source said.
Cunningham resigned from Congress after pleading guilty last November to accepting $2.4 million in bribes from four co-conspirators, including Wilkes and Wade. The former lawmaker was sentenced to eight years and four months in prison. Wade pleaded guilty to his part in the scheme in February and is cooperating with investigators. Wilkes has not been charged.
The Wall Street Journal, San Diego Union-Tribune (TMV’s former employer) and various weblogs have been all over this story for several days. One prime aspect in this emerging saga is whether this kind of thing was limited just to Cunningham – or whether more info will soon come out naming the names of other politicos. And, if so, will they be Democrats and Republicans or just Republicans? And how will all of that play in an election year?
Basically, the implication in this probe is that prostitutes were allegedly provided to Cunningham so he could do to them what he did to ethical standards — and what the current Congress is doing to tough proposals for meaningful ethics reform (and in this, Congress does not need political Viagra).
SOME OTHERS COMMENTING ON THIS STORY INCLUDE:
TPM Muckraker, Skeptics Eye, Norwegianity, Brothers Judd, Daily Kos, Ed Morrissey, This Divided State, Canadian Perspective, Politics Up, Americablog, Boi From Troy, Impolitical, Pam’s House Blend, Wonkette (who details ongoing speculation about what other big names may be involved)