Tuesday, November 29, 2005

"I Broke the Law & Disgraced My Office"

The guilty plea of Republican Congressman Randy "Duke" Cunningham yesterday is just another collapsing domino in a long line.

For the record, Cunningham pled guilty to one count of tax evasion and one count of conspiracy to commit bribery, tax evasion, wire fraud, and mail fraud. None of the bribes he received was reported to the Internal Revenue Service or on the congressman's financial disclosure forms.

Still pending:

1. Senator Bill Frist, Republican of Tennessee and the majority leader, is under scrutiny by the Securities and Exchange Commission for the timing of his trades in the stock of his family's health care company.

2. Representative Tom DeLay, Republican of Texas and the majority leader, was forced to step down as majority leader after he was indicted on conspiracy and money laundering charges.

3. Michael Scanlon, a former spokesman for Mr. DeLay, pleaded guilty last week to bribery. Prosecutors said Mr. Scanlon was part of a conspiracy to defraud Indian tribes and win legislative favors from lawmakers in return for campaign donations, meals, entertainment and other benefits. A former White House aide has also been indicted in that investigation, which is centered on Jack Abramoff, a lobbyist and an ally of Mr. DeLay who worked with Mr. Scanlon. As part of his plea, Mr. Scanlon agreed to cooperate in the investigation. Several members of Congress are said to be under investigation for accepting bribes from Scanlon on behalf of Abramoff.

4. I. Lewis Libby Jr., the former chief of staff to Vice President Dick Cheney, was indicted last month on charges of perjury and false statements in the investigation of the leaking of the name of a C.I.A. operative. Other White House officials, including the senior political adviser Karl Rove, remain under investigation in that case.

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