Southern California has been a cesspool of corrupt Republican politicians and their collaborating defense contractors for a couple of decades now. The LA Times recently profiled Brent Wilkes, who is so far unindicted, but intimately connected to Dusty Foggo, the outgoing number 3 at the CIA and whose home and CIA office had been searched this week. Brent Wilkes has been identified as the co-conspirator Number 1 in the Duke Cunningham bribery case.
1972 Year book
When did this circle of crooks start? Well, Wilkes and Foggo go back a long, long way:
Born in San Diego County in 1954, Wilkes graduated from Hilltop High School in 1972, along with his football teammate and best friend Kyle Dustin "Dusty" Foggo, currently third-in-command at the Central Intelligence Agency. Wilkes and Foggo were roommates at San Diego State University, were best men at each other's weddings and named their sons after each other.
Wilkes' career in political relations dates to the early 1980s, shortly after Foggo joined the CIA. Foggo was sent to Honduras to work with the Contra rebels who were trying to topple the Sandinista government of Nicaragua, according to sources within the CIA.
Wilkes had moved to Washington, D.C., and opened a business named World Finance Corp. about three blocks away from the White House. One of his chief activities, sources say, was to accompany congressmen – including then-Rep. Bill Lowery of San Diego, whom Wilkes met during his participation in the SDSU Young Republicans organization – to Central America to meet with Foggo and Contra leaders.
Cultivating the pols came a bit later:
Between 1992 and 1997, Audre employees [ed: Audre was Brent's employer at the time] and family members donated $77,000 to members of Congress. Rep. Duncan Hunter, R-El Cajon, who got $7,250, and Cunningham, who got $5,050, became prominent backers of automated document systems in Congress.
"Our job as San Diego congressmen is to do our best to make sure our guys get a fair shot," Hunter said recently. "And Brent Wilkes and Tom Casey were aggressive and enthusiastic promoters of a breakthrough technology."
Wilkes found other California politicians who could help:
Wilkes and his associates made their largest federal campaign donations to House Appropriations Committee member Rep. John T. Doolittle, a Republican from Sacramento, who received $82,000. Cunningham received $76,500, and $60,000 went to Appropriations Committee Chairman Rep. Jerry Lewis (R-Redlands).
So when did Mitchell Wade get pulled into the Brent Wilkes-Duke Cunningham-Dusty Foggo scheme?
In 1999, after the Pentagon raised allegations about Wilkes' overbilling the government, he turned to Wade to act on his behalf to win new contracts, according to a source close to the Cunningham investigation. Wade had worked for the Defense Intelligence Agency during the first Iraq war and was hired by Wilkes in 1999 as a consultant.
Wade had set up a Washington-based firm, MZM Inc., to provide "computer consulting services," but it had no revenue until it was hired by Wilkes, according to company records.
Wilkes has been known to lavish his ill-gotten gains on a number of up-and-coming Southern Californian Republican politicians. Although, today Schwarzenegger swears he doesn't know Brent Wilkes from Adam, one can ask whether Schwarzenegger would be governor without Wilkes' support (he and his wife donated $42,400 to Schwarzenegger's campaign):
When Arnold Schwarzenegger ran for governor, Wilkes was one of the first to contribute to his campaign. Schwarzenegger later gave him plum appointments to boards that oversee the prestigious Del Mar racetrack, where Wilkes held court on opening day in 2004 and 2005.
...In 2003, Wilkes co-chaired Schwarzenegger's fundraising operation in San Diego County. But in March of this year, Schwarzenegger insisted he didn't know Wilkes, adding that he was unaware of the details of Wilkes' appointment to the racetrack boards. "Sometimes I don't get involved in those kinds of decisions," the governor said.
One other Republican politician that has extremely close ties to Brent Wilkes also comes from the San Diego region. Married to Wilkes' former head of governmental affairs, Melissa Dollaghan, California State Assemblyman, George Plescia (R-San Diego) received $16,800 from Wilkes and his associates. Today Plescia says that Wilkes never asked him for anything, while his wife declined to comment. As I discovered back in December, Melissa hasn't always been so retiring about giving her opinions.
I respect that people feel passionately about an election and its results. It stings when you are on the losing side. But I cannot remember a time when the losers, in this case John Kerry supporters, so viciously attacked the intelligence, motives, faith and morality of the winner's voters.
The Kerry supporters' elitist and condescending tone has been unbelievable, but their insolent demonization of George Bush's supporters is unforgivable.
Let them go cower behind the rubble of their bankrupt ideas and try to figure out why Kerry's vision and ideas produced blue puddles amid a nation awash in red.
Bush's supporters voted for what they consider to be his superior vision and ideas. Maybe Kerry supporters should level their criticisms against Bush's policies; a vigorous dialogue about them is what America is all about. But spare us the malignant attacks on the intelligence and motives of Bush supporters. This type of dialogue is what truly divides America.
What other contracts has Mr. Wilkes gotten from his connections in Southern California? And what other pols has he bought? There is definitely more waiting to be discovered in this story.
Update: What Cunningham got for his selling out the country. What our country got was very overpriced computer equipment that didn't address a real problem.Posted by Mary at May 13, 2006 03:45 PM | Corruption & Graft | Technorati links |