Cunningham: "I broke the law, concealed my conduct, and disgraced my office"
That's what 8-term Republican Congressman Randy Cunningham said in his resignation speech, after pleading guilty to taking $2.4 million in bribes. Oh yes, and then talk about chutzpah, listen to this:
The tax evasion charge came after Cunningham reported joint income with his wife of $121,079 for 2004 and claimed he was due a refund of $8,504. Prosecutors said his income was $1,215,458 and he owed $385,077 in taxes.(You won't find that in the above link, but it's in the copy of the AP story a friend sent me.)
Hmmm, yet another GOP Congressional scandal--this makes the fourth one (DeLay, Frist, Bob Ney), not counting Plamegate and other White House scandals. One Democrat, William Jefferson of Louisiana, is also under investigation.
The Washington Post reports,
Democrats have vowed to make what they have called the GOP's "culture of corruption" a major theme of a 2006 congressional election campaign already unfolding under the twin clouds of the Iraq war and high energy prices.The Post kept a sense of humor in its report:
Now he's forced out of not only the House but his ill-gotten house, and will probably go to jail. You'd think these people would figure out by now that crime doesn't pay--unless, perhaps, the President calls you "Kenny-boy." Lay's trial was supposed to start over a year ago, and even that was years late. Why are they waiting?
For a gruff war veteran, Cunningham emerges from the court documents as a man with surprisingly delicate tastes. Among the gifts he accepted were a $7,200 Louis-Philippe commode, circa 1850; three antique nightstands; a leaded-glass cabinet; a washstand; a buffet; and four armoires. After paying $13,500 toward a Rolls-Royce in April 2002, one of Cunningham's benefactors tossed in $17,889.96 toward the car's repairs less than a month later.
And whatever happened to the days when public office was a public trust, and CEOs saw their mission as stewardship of shared resources rather than feathering their own nests? It's important to note that those who paid the bribes, and received vast return on their investment, are just as tarnished as the fallen Cunningham.