Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Earle Probes Possible Cunningham-DeLay Tie

Looks like it is time for a fun-filled episode of The Tom DeLay Comedy Hour! This is from Yahoo News:

SAN DIEGO - The Texas prosecutor targeting Rep. Tom DeLay has issued a second round of subpoenas to businessmen here seeking records surrounding donations to the former Republican leader and disgraced former Rep. Randy "Duke" Cunningham.

The subpoenas issued by Travis County District Attorney Ronnie Earle's office zero in on transactions in 2002 involving PerfectWave Technologies LLC, a company controlled by Brent Wilkes, a businessman with ties to DeLay and Cunningham.

Wilkes' attorney has identified him as an unidentified co-conspirator of Cunningham, a California Republican who resigned from Congress after pleading guilty in November to accepting $2.4 million in bribes from defense contractors.

DeLay, charged with conspiring to launder campaign money that was given in 2002 for legislative races in his home state of Texas, flew three times on a jet owned by another Wilkes company, according to campaign records.

In one sense, it doesn't surprise me, considering that both DeLay and Cunningham were drinking from the same lobbying trough. There has been plenty of speculation going on regarding a relationship between Wilkes and DeLay--the fact that DeLay was flying on Wilkes' jet is enough to raise eyebrows. And why wouldn't Wilkes talk to DeLay, after DeLay started building his K Street Lobbying Project. Oh, and while we're at it, Cunningham would have been happy to add his name to the K Street Project and collect lobbying contributions for legislative favors. This scandal is evolving into an interconnection of dots between lobbyists, DeLay, Cunningham, possibly other unnamed Republican congressmen, and corporate heads of business. Its goal was simple--the selling of congressional votes to the highest bidder. Who wouldn't take advantage of such a deal? Continuing on with the details of the scam:

According to the subpoenas, businessman William B. Adams wrote a $40,000 check to PerfectWave on Sept. 18, 2002. Two days later, PerfectWave sent $15,000 to TRMPAC, the state committee whose spending is at issue in DeLay's criminal case. On Oct. 3, PerfectWave gave $25,000 to "Tribute to Heroes," Cunningham's annual black-tie charity gala in San Diego.

Wilkes' charitable foundation spent nearly $36,000 hosting "Tribute to Heroes" in 2002. Cunningham, a former Vietnam war fighter ace, was feted with a trophy at the event, according to the event's Web site and tax filings.

Subpoenas were issued last week to Adams and Max Gelwix, PerfectWave's president and CEO. The subpoenas sought records of any communications between DeLay, Cunningham, House Majority Whip Roy Blunt of Missouri and Wilkes over federal legislation that may have benefited Adams and his businesses.

We've seen this pattern before, many times. Lobbyist Jack Abramoff would give political contributions to DeLay from his Indian tribe clients, or his Marianas textile clients, or hold fundraising dinners at Signatures restaurant. We've seen this pattern where checks would be moved from one account to another, and now we're seeing it here with a corporation giving money to two different accounts of two different congressmen. What did PerfectWave expect to get from DeLay and Cunningham for its political contributions? The subpoenas are also looking into any communications between DeLay, Cunningham and Roy Blunt? Interesting, considering that Blunt is pretty much DeLay's protege. Continuing on:

Matt Hennessy, an attorney for DeLay, said the latest subpoenas were not worth the paper they were printed on. Cunningham's lawyer, Lee Blalack, did not immediately return a call seeking comment.

Adams, a golf course developer who lives in suburban San Diego, gave $5,000 in 2002 both to Delay's Americans for a Republican Majority PAC and Blunt's Rely on Your Beliefs fund, according to campaign finance records.

So here's a connection between PerfectWave's president and Blunt. Adams gave $5,000 to both DeLay's and Blunt's PAC funds. This says there is some type of relationship between PerfectWave and Blunt--we don't know what it is yet. Continuing on:

Earle's office, which did not return a message left seeking comment, also issued subpoenas regarding a $10,000 contribution received by a San Diego YMCA that may have come from an Idaho mining company.

According to the subpoenas, Atlas Mining Co. of Osburn, Idaho, wired $10,000 to PerfectWave on Oct. 24, 2002 — the same day PerfectWave cut a $10,000 check to the Copley Family YMCA, named for the family that publishes The San Diego Union-Tribune and other newspapers. Wilkes, whose foundation gave an additional $15,000 to the Copley YMCA in 2002, was named its man of the year.

But Ron Short, Atlas Mining's operations manager, said Tuesday that he could find no record that money was wired to PerfectWave and added that he had never heard of PerfectWave or Wilkes.

"We didn't have $10,000 to give away three years ago," Short said.

Also named in the subpoenas was San Diego attorney Paul E. Smithers, who co-signed checks from PerfectWave to TRMPAC and Tribute to Heroes. Smithers did not return a message seeking comment.

I'm not sure where the Atlas Mining Company, or the San Diego YMCA contributions fit within this scheme. From what details I can glean here, Atlas Mining Company wired $10,000 to PerfectWave, and then PerfectWave sent a $10,000 check to this Copley Family YMCA (who happens to own a number of newspapers). In addition, Wilkes' charitable foundation also gave $15,000 to the YMCA, of which Wilkes was then named "Man of the Year," by the Copley YMCA. My question here is did DeLay, or Cunningham provide any favorable votes, legislative, or congressional favors that would have benefited either Atlas Mining company, or the Copley Family newspapers? Did DeLay, Cunningham, or Blunt receive any money from Atlas Mining Company, or Copley Family YMCA or any of its newspapers? I can't say yet, the details are still sketchy. There are still more dots to connect here.

1 comment:

Matthew said...

The donation to the YMCA was nothing more than coincidence. The YMCA is in the business of helping people in need. When someone wants to donate a sizeable amount of money that could potentially help hundreds of deserving youth and families, it's a no-brainer. It seems the investigators themselves have realized there's no issue here and have moved on.