May 13, 2006

Southern California Corruption - Republican Style

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
Kyle Dustin "Dusty" Foggo (top), now the CIA's executive director, was a friend of Brent Wilkes' at Hilltop High School in Chula Vista.

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.

La Jolla

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 |

Southern California has been a cesspool of corrupt Republican politicians: Such a Broad statement
I see from the demonstrations and the Mexican Flags flying over our high schools that your socialist experiment is not doing much better.
This state is run buy the Dem's and its a joke. 50% of the $9K+ per student reaches our kids in school.
some of our high schools are 45 students per class and climbing. where does the money go, you tell me.
corruption again you tell me.


Posted by: Rob at May 14, 2006 04:13 PM

Illegal immigration issues

I have been a loyal Republican for 25 years now. I voted for Bush and also all Republican that were ever running for office. I gave financial contributions and helped with campaigns to support the Republican party, as well as talking in-depth and hours with friends on why being a Republican mattered. I live in South Orange County, Laguna Niguel, need I say more?

This year was the last straw. Our President and all the blunders hes made I could live with, after all you cant be 100% on all issues. However a man has a limit to what he is will to put up with. And his betrayal to illegal immigration issues has now broken my sprit. I have decided to no longer support the Republican party, I will now become an independent, and do what ever it takes with helping on voting out my former party in all of it offices and look forward to the day when a new party emerges.

You sir and your party have sold out America.

The message below was also sent to me, which is one in a million of regret and discuss! I thought it best to go back to you.

Consider cheap tomatoes

This email is from a retired former teacher friend whose wife is a teacher in the Riverside CA area, and has been for many, many years. The attached is first hand knowledge...

As you all listen to the news about the student protests over illegal immigration there are some things that you should be aware of.

As most of you know my wife is in charge of the English-as-a-second-language department at large southern California high school, which is designated a Title 1 school, meaning that its students average lower socio-economic and income levels. ! Most of the schools you are hearing about, High, Bell Gardens, Huntington Park, etc. where these students are protesting, are also Title 1 schools.

My wife tells me that 100% of the students in her school and other Title 1 schools are on the free breakfast, free lunch program. When I say free breakfast I'm not talking a glass of milk and roll... but a full breakfast and cereal bar with fruits and juices that would make a Marriott proud. The waste of this food is monumental, with trays and trays of it being dumped in the trash uneaten.

She estimates that well over 50% of these students are obese or at least moderately overweight. About 75% or more DO have cell phones.

The school also provides day care centers for the unwed teenage pregnant girls (some as young as 13) so they can attend class without the inconvenience of having to arrange for baby-sitters or having family watch their kids.

She was ordered to spend $700,000 on her department or risk losing funding for the upcoming year even though there was little need for anything; her budget was already substantial. She ended up buying new computers for their computer learning center; half of which, one month later, have been carved with graffiti by the appreciative students who obviously feel humbled and grateful to have a free education in America.

She has had to intervene several times for young and substitute teachers whose classes consist of many illegal immigrant students here in the country less then 3 months who raised so much hell with the female teachers, calling them Putas, whores, and throwing things, that the teachers were in tears.

Free medical, free education, free food, day care etc., etc., etc. Is it any wonder they feel entitled to not only be in this country but to demand rights, privileges and entitlements?

To my conservative friends: I hope you're really proud of how George W. Bus has helped to sell-out this country with his pro-illegal policy. I voted for him too, but on this issue he is a disaster.

To my bleeding-heart liberal friends who want to point out how much these illegal immigrants contribute to our society because they LIKE their gardener and housekeeper and they like to pay less for tomatoes: spend some time in the real world of illegal immigration and see the TRUE costs. Higher insurance, Medical facilities closing, higher medical costs, more crime, lower standards of education in our schools, overcrowding, new diseases etc., etc., etc. For me, I'll pay more for tomatoes.

We need to wake up. The guest worker program will be a disaster because we won't have the guts to enforce it. Does anyone in their right mind really think they will leave and return voluntarily?

There are many hardworking Hispanic/American citizens that contribute to our country and many that I consider my true friends. We should encourage and accept those Hispanics who have done it the right and legal way.

It does, however, have everything to do with culture: A third-world culture that does not value education, that accepts children getting pregnant and dropping out of school by 15 and that refuses to assimilate ... and an American culture that has become so weak and politically correct that we don't have the will to do anything about it.

If this makes your blood boil, as it did mine, forward this to everyone you know.

Posted by: Douglas at May 16, 2006 08:55 AM