Tuesday, September 18, 2007

A Dirty Baker's Dozen?

By Cernig

There's big breaking news in the nest of corruption trials surrounding Duke Cunningham today from the AP, via The Guardian:
Former House Speaker Dennis Hastert and 12 other members of Congress have been subpoenaed to testify in the trial of a defense contractor charged with bribing jailed former Rep. Randy ``Duke'' Cunningham.

The subpoenas were sought by attorneys for contractor Brent Wilkes, who faces a trial in San Diego on more than 30 counts of bribery, fraud, money laundering and conspiracy in connection with his relationship with Cunningham.

...In addition to Hastert, R-Ill., Wilkes' attorneys are seeking testimony from:

-House Republican Whip Roy Blunt of Missouri

-Rep. Jerry Weller, R-Ill.

-House Intelligence Committee Chairman Silvestre Reyes, D-Texas.

-House Armed Services Committee Chairman Ike Skelton, D-Mo.

-House Appropriations defense subcommittee chairman John Murtha, D-Pa.

-California Republican Reps. Duncan Hunter, John Doolittle, Darrell Issa and Jerry Lewis. Hunter chaired the Armed Services Committee and Lewis chaired the Appropriations Committee in the last Congress.

-Republicans Reps. Peter Hoekstra and Joe Knollenberg of Michigan. Hoekstra chaired the House Intelligence Committee in the last Congress.

-Democratic Rep. Norm Dicks of Washington.

The subpoenas from U.S. District Court for the Southern District of California were read on the House floor late Monday in accordance with House rules requiring lawmakers to inform the House speaker if they've been subpoenaed.

All the lawmakers said in notifications to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi that after consulting with House attorneys they had decided not to comply with the subpoenas.
Brent Wilkes and his firm, ADCS Inc, was involved with contracting out of intelligence operations for both the CIA and military. Wilkes himself is a Bush campaign $100,000 "Pioneer" fundraiser.

Four of the thirteen are Democrats - all with deep connections to military/industrial campaign cash. I'm at a loss to understand what they think they are doing by refusing to answer to the subpoenas, or what Pelosi is up to in not reading them the riot act. After all, their Democratic colleagues have been using a line of "if you've nothing to hide, you've nothing to fear" in pressuring White House staff and former staff to answer Congressional subpoenas. This will undermine that whole line of argument. There's nothing good coming from this.

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