Friday, January 20, 2006

The Wicked Wide Web

More on the connections between Cunningham, DeLay and Brent Wilkes....

In December of last year, Joe Cannon at Cannonfire and Sherlock Google at dKos had detailed an intricate network of Brent Wilkes/Mitchell Wade front corporations that appeared to be nothing more than GOP money funnels for various congressional Republican candidates around the country. The companies, so set up, began receiving DoD contracts that had been awarded by none other than Randy "Duke" Cunningham's House Intelligence and Appropriations Committee. Cunningham, of course, has since pleaded guilty to bribery charges for receiving graft in exchange for directing contracts to at least one of Wilkes' DoD contractors, MZM Inc.. The media immediately fell silent or, at best, reported that other investigations of congressional Republicans, including the case against Tom DeLay, were "unrelated."

When this story started burbling up, the UnCap Journal had proposed that the Cunningham plea had been designed for just this purpose:
It seems clear now that Cunnnigham's confession was designed for one thing: to shut down further investigation of his ties to Wilkes and these front companies. Local authorities may have been lulled into to a sense of satisfaction with the guilty plea but it certainly looks like they're being played because it was Duke Cunningham who, in 1997, said that anyone questioning his lobbying actions and DoD contract awards could "go to hell." His contrition carries a great deal of suspicion.
Indeed, the larger media has barely mentioned these subsequent investigations of Wilkes/DeLay. While the media may have been happy to make claims of unrelatedness, either through ignorance or sloth, at least one party decided that DeLay/Cunningham/Wilkes were, in fact, connected.

Texas prosecutor Ronnie Earle, the man responsible for DeLay's indictment and one who has demonstrated remarkable investigative vigor, subpoenaed the bank records of several of Wilkes' companies:
District Attorney Ronnie Earle issued subpoenas late Monday afternoon for California businessmen Brent Wilkes and Max Gelwix, records of Perfect Wave Technologies LLC, Wilkes Corp. and ADCS Inc. in connection with a contribution to a fundraising committee at the center of the investigation that led to DeLay's indictment on money laundering charges.
To this, DeLay's attorney Dick DeGuerin said,
He can subpoena all he wants, there's nothing there.
Well, Earle took DeGuerin's advice. No doubt the initial round of subpoenas led to some interesting findings and Earle has now subpoenaed further documents surrounding the monetary machinations of Wilkes' companies.

Despite DeGuerin's assurrances that "there's nothing there," the subpoenaed documents do appear to have exposed some interesting connections. One of Wilkes' alleged front companies, PerfectWave Technologies, was given $40,000 by William Bain Adams on Sept 18, 2002. Two days later, PerfectrWave then donated $15K of the "investment" to Tom DeLay's political action committee, Texans for a Republican Majority, aka TRMPAC. The rest of the initial $40 thousand was then donated directly to an event that was to honour Randy Cunningham, the "Tribute to Heroes" gala, which was organised by Brent Wilkes.

DeLay is under indictment for money laundering, specifically regarding the shifting of $190,000 in corporate donations to the Republican National Committee (RNC), which then sent the same amount to DeLay's Texas Republican comrades. In what DeLay's lawyer will surely call a coincidence, PerfectWave sent their $15,000 to TRMPAC at almost exactly the same time that TRMPAC received the money from the RNC. Earles is no doubt curious as to why a San Diego-based defense contractor would be sending money to Texas state Republicans.

DeGuerin, DeLay's lawyer, just can't keep his mouth shut. He keeps egging on Ronnie Earle, who seems only too happy to issue more and more subpoenas,
any lawyer worth his salt will see the subpoenas are not worth so much toilet paper.
I'm guessing Earle is on a salt-free diet these days.

Stay tuned. This can only get better.

[via: Josh Marshall]


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