view from mars

"Enlighten the people generally, and tyranny and oppressions of body and mind will vanish like evil spirits at the dawn of day."

Tuesday, February 28, 2006

if it walks like a duck


Ruth Marcus in the Washington Post breaks it down:

Last week's guilty plea by Cunningham's co-conspirator, defense contractor Mitchell Wade, illuminates the way easy access to earmarks can corrupt even without bribes -- or, to be a bit more blunt, with the legal bribes known as campaign contributions. The plea agreement describes how Wade wanted his company, MZM Inc., to open a facility in the district of Virginia Republican Virgil Goode (Representative A, in the language of the plea). MZM employees contributed $46,000 to Goode's campaign from 2003 to 2005, making the company his single largest source of campaign cash. Unbeknownst to Goode, but also unsurprisingly, Wade illegally reimbursed his employees and their spouses for their contributions.

And then -- surprise -- Wade asked for federal funding for the facility he wanted to build in the district. As described in the matter-of-fact language of the plea agreement, "In June 2005, Representative A's staff confirmed to Wade that an appropriations bill would include $9 million for the facility and a related program. Wade thanked Representative A and his staff for their assistance." You bet he thanked them: a $9 million contract for a mere $46,000 in contributions -- in comparison with Cunningham's prices, a real bargain.

[snip]

Prosecutors said Harris, like Goode, wasn't aware that the $32,000 she received from MZM employees and spouses was secretly underwritten by Wade -- though he turned up with the checks in hand to deliver them to her personally. Did she and Goode think that all these MZM employees from outside their districts had spontaneously come to the realization that they were the best two members of Congress? When someone who has never given campaign donations suddenly decides -- along with a spouse -- to write out checks for the maximum donation, something fishy is up. When you need the cash, though, there's not much incentive to sniff too hard to discern precisely how odoriferous it is.

It's not about being bribed (yet). It's about looking the other way and handing out YOUR MONEY to corporations who have no problem with flat-out bribery.

It's not about bringing jobs to Martinsville, either. Goode allowed himself to be used by MZM who saw him as an easy target for getting a hell of a lot for their money. And Goode saw no problem using his position on the House Appropriations Committee repaying them for their generosity.

Of course, Goode got that spot because he flipped on the democrats, voted to impeach Clinton, and added to DeLay's numbers.

It has nothing to do with the Fifth District or our interests.

2 Comments:

  • At 6:32 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Out of sheer morbid curiosity (and on a personal note...) Did Mitch Wade's wife, Christieanne, stick around for all of this? She seemed so pedigree and straight-laced. Furthermore, I know that they just had a baby girl a few years ago. We heard about Duke Cunningham's wife leaving him and we thought that it was a sham. She was bright and quick, how did she (and Mitch's wife) claim to have not known about the bribes?

     
  • At 9:40 AM, Blogger mar said…

    good question

    ever see that episode of Six Feet Under where the guy who is running some investment scheme hits his head on the diving board, dies, and leaves his wife with a newborn? Turns out she didn't know ANYTHING about what he did -- she thought it was all legit and loved their lifestyle all his crimes brought.

    She's left with absolutely nothing, decides she has to go back to waitressing but not before she reaches into his coffin and takes the Rolex he was going to be buried with to pawn it off to help pay for the enormous debt she was left with.

     

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