Some of you may feel disappointed that scandals in the modern Republican era have mostly involved corrupting the levers of government for profit and partisan gain. Where’s the sex? You almost miss the days when reputable papers ran red with tales of Bill Clinton, Bob Packwood and Newt Gingrich crossing swords. Ken Starr’s angry 500-page coda practically came with a brown paper wrapper. There’s something cold about a party that transgresses for profit/partisan gain, and never for sex.
It appears that Randy “Duke” Cunningham, the most awe-inspiringly corrupt politician in recent memory, and his equally-audacious defense-contracting partner-in-crime Mitchell Wade have ended our long, sad drought of illicit government sex. From today’s WSJ:
Federal prosecutors are investigating whether two contractors implicated in the bribery of former Rep. Randall “Duke” Cunningham supplied him with prostitutes and free use of a limousine and hotel suites, pursuing evidence that could broaden their long-running inquiry.
Besides scrutinizing the prostitution scheme for evidence that might implicate contractor Brent Wilkes, investigators are focusing on whether any other members of Congress, or their staffs, may also have used the same free services, though it isn’t clear whether investigators have turned up anything to implicate others.
…Meanwhile, prosecutors are looking at whether they can make corruption cases against other lawmakers based on Mr. Wilkes’s campaign contributions to them. But lawyers expert in campaign-finance and criminal law say such cases are far more difficult to prove than those involving outright bribery. The government must show a direct “quid pro quo” that a lawmaker has taken action on a particular bill solely because of a campaign contribution.
Proof of the prostitution scheme, on the other hand, could provide potentially damaging evidence that Mr. Wilkes had taken illegal steps in exchange for legislative favors, people involved in the investigation said.
I doubt that MZM, Inc. kept an entire suite of “hospitality rooms” at the Watergate Hotel exclusively for Duke Cunningham. If this story breaks further somebody will have some ‘splaining to do to their “family values” constituency.
BTW, of course it had to be the Watergate.