- Jul 31, 2005
- Reaction score
- Political Leaning
I think they should reveal who these defense contractors are.SAN DIEGO - Rep. Randy "Duke" Cunningham, an eight-term congressman and hotshot Vietnam War fighter jock, pleaded guilty to graft and tearfully resigned Monday, admitting he took $2.4 million in bribes mostly from defense contractors in exchange for government business and other favors.
"The truth is I broke the law, concealed my conduct, and disgraced my office," the 63-year-old Republican said at a news conference. "I know that I will forfeit my freedom, my reputation, my worldly possessions, most importantly, the trust of my friends and family."
He could get up to 10 years in prison at sentencing Feb. 27 on federal charges of conspiracy to commit bribery and fraud, and tax evasion.
Investigators said Cunningham, a member of a House Appropriations subcommittee that controls defense dollars, secured contracts worth tens of millions of dollars for those who paid him off. Prosecutors did not identify the defense contractors.
Cunningham, a swaggering former flying ace with the Navy during the Vietnam War, was known on Capitol Hill for his interest in defense issues and his occasional outbursts.
In court documents, prosecutors said Cunningham admitted receiving at least $2.4 million in bribes paid in a variety of forms, including checks totaling over $1 million, cash, antiques, rugs, furniture, yacht club fees and vacations.
Among other things, prosecutors said, Cunningham was given $1.025 million to pay down the mortgage on his Rancho Santa Fe mansion, $13,500 to buy a Rolls-Royce and $2,081 for his daughter's graduation party at a Washington hotel.
"He did the worst thing an elected official can do — he enriched himself through his position and violated the trust of those who put him there," U.S. Attorney Carol Lam said.