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Old 01-02-2006, 10:44 PM   #1 (permalink)
Deja Moo
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Location: Olympic Peninsula, WA
A Question Regarding Brent Wilkes & His Connections

Spectre has agreed to help me split Host's "2 Questions" topic, into separate topics

I have copied this from Host's original "2 Questions" topic regarding Brent Wilkes:

Do you think that it is signifigant that Brent Wilkes, one of the two defense contractors who ex-congressman Randy "Duke" Cunningham admitted to a federal judge in a guilty plea, had bribed him, is the best friend of the new number 3 official here?


Brent Wilkes also paid over $600,000 to the Alexander Group, a lobbying firm owned by Ed Buckham, formerly Tom Delay's chief of staff, who also had close ties to Jack Abramoff. (See new article in "Another Bush Crony Another Scandal" thread.)
Comment by Elphaba: Wilkes appears to be an important new link in the ever growing web of Abramoff, Delay and others. I have been looking at the Abramoff connections for several months, but Wilkes takes things to a much higher level in my opinion.

I would appreciate any help in chasing down the info links Host provided to see where they lead.

Last edited by Elphaba; 01-03-2006 at 02:38 PM.. Reason: Spelling corrections
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Old 01-03-2006, 06:02 AM   #2 (permalink)
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It may help if you use the name "Brent Wilkes"......I do have a feeling he will play a significant role in upcoming investigations.

Holding onto anger is like grasping a hot coal with the intent of throwing it at someone else; you are the one who gets burned. - Buddha
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Old 01-03-2006, 11:47 AM   #3 (permalink)
Deja Moo
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Eep. Buckham was misspelled, too. Thanks, Tec.
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Old 01-03-2006, 01:23 PM   #4 (permalink)
Deja Moo
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Location: Olympic Peninsula, WA
Tecoyah's article below:

Contractor 'knew how to grease the wheels'

ADCS founder spent years cultivating political contacts

By Dean Calbreath

and Jerry Kammer

December 4, 2005

In government documents, he is referred to as "co-conspirator No. 1": a man who gave more than $630,000 in cash and favors to former Rep. Randy "Duke" Cunningham for help in landing millions of dollars in federal contracts.

Poway military contractor Brent Wilkes – whom Justice Department officials identify as the co-conspirator – has long been active in local political circles, serving as the San Diego County finance co-chairman of Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger's campaign and the state finance co-chairman for President Bush.

Wilkes has not been charged with a crime in the Cunningham case. The former Rancho Santa Fe congressman announced his resignation Monday after pleading guilty to charges of tax evasion and conspiracy. Three other men – Washington defense contractor Mitchell Wade, businessman Thomas Kontogiannis and financier John T. Michael, both of New York – also have been identified as co-conspirators.

Wilkes' story shows how gifts, favors and campaign contributions can be used to gain lucrative business from the government.

Over the past 20 years, Wilkes has devoted much of his career to developing political contacts in Washington. He and his associates have spent at least $600,000 on political contributions and $1.1 million on lobbying beyond the gifts mentioned in the Cunningham plea agreement, as they cultivated such politicians as House Majority Leader Tom DeLay and Appropriations Committee Chairman Jerry Lewis.

And since 1996, he has received at least $95 million in government contracts for the small family of firms based in his $11 million headquarters in Poway, including ADCS Inc. and Group W.

Those who know Wilkes describe him as gregarious and ambitious, a person who can make friends easily and toss them aside just as quickly.

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.

Making connections

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.

A number of sources who have had business dealings with Wilkes say he hinted at that time and afterward that he was affiliated with the CIA. CIA sources say he was never employed by the agency.

By the time Wilkes returned to San Diego in the late 1980s, he had established relationships with members of the House Armed Services, Intelligence and Appropriations committees.

Neither Wilkes, Foggo nor Lowery responded to requests for comment.

By 1990, Wilkes was working for Aimco Financial Management in La Jolla. His chief duty was to bring in politicians, including Lowery, to talk to Aimco clients about how new laws might affect their finances.

Aimco ran into trouble after securities regulators accused its founder, Marvin I. Friedman, of taking $268,000 of a client's funds in 1991.

Wilkes left Aimco in 1992 to take a job as a political consultant for Audre Inc., a Rancho Bernardo firm that specialized in automated document conversion systems, which converted maps and engineering drawings into a format that could be edited via computer.

Audre, which was nearly bankrupt at the time, was eager to get more federal contracts. Shortly after Wilkes' arrival, the 35-person firm, headed by San Diego businessman Tom Casey, began donating thousands of dollars to key members of Congress.

"Wilkes was a political operator," said former Audre engineer Dirk Holland. "He was pretty slick. He knew how to grease the wheels."

Said a former business associate of Wilkes: "He knew that it pays to get a sponsor. He knew that's the way the game is played, and he convinced Tom Casey that that's what it's all about."

Between 1992 and 1997, Audre employees 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."

Audre was able to increase its influence by teaming up with Evergreen Information Technologies, a Colorado company that specialized in computerizing federal contract information.

Casey had been one of the founders of Evergreen in the early 1990s and served on its board of directors. Evergreen gave $22,000 in political donations, often targeting the same politicians on the same dates as Audre.

According to charges filed by the Securities and Exchange Commission, $20,000 of Evergreen's donations were illegal. Evergreen Chief Executive Barry Nelsen asked staffers to write $1,000 checks, leaving the "payee" line blank, according to SEC documents. Nelsen then gave the checks to lawmakers and repaid his workers in violation of federal law, the SEC charged in 1993.

Nelsen did not fight the charges and was fined $65,000. He says he made the donations – none of which went to Hunter or Cunningham – so Congress would push the Navy to work with his firm.

Getting noticed

"I went to Tom Casey and said, 'How do we get some money or political heat or something to make the Navy do what they should do?' " Nelsen said. "So up pops Brent Wilkes."

Nelsen said Wilkes identified which politicians should be given donations.

The lobbying by Audre, as well as that of other software companies, was effective. Congress created an automated document conversion program, which provided $190 million in contracts between 1993 and 2001.

Audre won more than $12.5 million of those contracts, largely provided through earmarks that let legislators add pet projects to the budget.

"An earmark is usually devoted to a particular company or particular project that is tied to a particular congressman," said Michael Surrusco, director of ethics campaigns at Common Cause, a government watchdog group.

Earmarks are typically added to budget bills after they have been passed by the Senate and the House and the differing versions are being resolved in a conference committee. Because those meeting occur outside public view, the earmarks can be a way of avoiding scrutiny or accountability.

The earmarks were included in the budget even though the Pentagon never asked for funds for automated document conversion. In 1994, the General Accounting Office, now known as the Government Accountability Office, which monitors federal spending, found that the military did not need automated systems because it already had its own systems to digitize documents.

That did not dissuade Audre's supporters in Congress.

"I operate under the idea that not all good ideas come out of the Pentagon," Hunter said.

Two dozen firms vied for funding from the automated document conversion program. Their success depended on lobbying influential legislators, said Richard Gehling, who headed Audre's federal sales in the late 1990s.

Once Congress has appropriated money for programs, Pentagon officials decide how to apportion the money among prequalified contractors. These officials are very mindful of the desires of members of Congress who were crucial in funding the program, contractors and program managers said.

Gehling described Audre's technique for obtaining government contracts during a deposition in a lawsuit he filed in 2000 to gain back pay from the company.

A successful sale to the military, he maintained, "normally boiled down to who the House or Senate member was and how much pressure they put on the undersecretary (of Defense) about getting the funding for their constituents."

Audre attorney Ian Kessler asked: "That, in turn, depends upon how much political muscle, how much influence (a company has) with a particular congressperson?"

Gehling: "The majority of the time, it's (whichever company) has the most clout."

Kessler: "You mean the most political clout?"

Gehling: "Who's paid more."

Kessler: "Paid more in terms of political contributions?"

Gehling: "Fundraisers. Sponsoring."

To build more political backing for Audre, Wilkes asked Casey in 1994 to budget at least $40,000 a month for lobbying, far beyond what the money-losing company had been spending, according to two sources at the company.

When Casey balked, Wilkes quit the firm. Six months later, Wilkes launched ADCS Inc., customizing a German system called VPMax to compete for contracts to convert government documents. It was a family affair. Most of the company's top executives were related to Wilkes or his wife, Regina.

The Pentagon rated VPMax as faster, easier and cheaper than Audre. VPMax cost $6,035 per unit, compared with $11,479 for Audre's PC system and $29,950 for its Unix system.

Even so, Hunter backed Audre, partly because it was a U.S.-made product.

"I did oppose having a German firm get the business," he said recently, although the German creator of VPMax was getting little more than licensing fees for the ADCS project.

Casey played on that sentiment. When talking to Hunter about ADCS, Casey called it "the German software." Hunter, in turn, asked Maj. Gen. John Phillips, the Pentagon's chief purchasing officer, to "whenever possible, use [document conversion] products that are made in the United States by American taxpayers."

In May 1995, just as Wilkes was launching ADCS, Hunter – who had just been named chairman of the Armed Services Committee – let Audre use his office for two weeks to demonstrate its newest release to Pentagon officials.

Two weeks after the demonstrations ended, Audre sold $1.2 million of the software to the military for testing.

"When you're in a position like Hunter was, you have a lot of clout, and we're not supposed to rock the boat," said a former Pentagon procurement official who declined to be named.

At that point, Wilkes started donating money to Cunningham, who sat on a House Appropriations subcommittee overseeing the Pentagon budget. Since October 1995, he and his associates have given $71,500 to Cunningham's campaign and political action committee. Cunningham became an ADCS booster.

"The success achieved by ADCS Inc. is an asset to the San Diego business and technological communities," Cunningham said in a 1997 endorsement that was printed in ADCS' pamphlets and press releases. He predicted VPMax would lead to "a stronger, more efficient national defense."

In 1996, Casey pressed Hunter to find out why the military was not buying more of Audre's software. Hunter demanded a Pentagon investigation.

A report from the Pentagon's Inspector General responded that "little demand exists" for automated document conversion systems. Aside from a Navy base in Ventura County, Port Hueneme, no military installation said it needed the systems. Much of the software Congress had funded was languishing in storage.

Such criticism did not dissuade Hunter.

According to Gehling's deposition, Hunter pushed the military to buy $2.5 million in Audre software in February 1997.

"There were still problems with the software," Gehling said. "It's always been flaky. It's still flaky."

Under pressure from Cunningham, the Pentagon shifted the money from Audre to ADCS. At the time, Cunningham said he only wanted the military to pick the best contractor possible. Donald Lundell, who was then Audre's chief executive, accused Cunningham of being swayed by Wilkes' campaign contributions.

At the time, Cunningham rejected any criticism of his actions.

"I'm on the side of the angels here," he said then, adding that anyone who questioned his role "can just go to hell."

Questionable projects

By then, the document conversion program was drawing fire from Arizona Republican Sen. John McCain, who included it on a list of $5.5 billion "objectionable" earmarks that Congress had tacked onto the military budget.

In July 1997, McCain accused the Senate Armed Services Committee and the House National Security Committee, where both Hunter and Cunningham sat, of "virtually ignoring the request of the Pentagon and impeding the military's ability to channel resources where they are most needed."

McCain said that "with military training exercises continuing to be cut, backlogs in aircraft and ship maintenance, flying hour shortfalls, military health care underfunded by $600 million, and 11,787 service members reportedly on food stamps," Congress should not be funding "a plethora of programs not requested by the Defense Department."

McCain was largely ignored. Three months later, Congress earmarked $20 million for document conversion systems. The earmarks hit $25 million the next year, including ADCS' biggest project: a $9.7 million contract to digitize documents in the Panama Canal Zone, which was to be handed to Panama in 1999.

The idea for the project came about at a time that Hunter and Cunningham were both warning that the People's Republic of China might try to take over Panama once U.S. forces left. The project was based on the idea that the U.S. should have blueprints of public buildings in Panama in case of a Chinese takeover.

Wilkes began lobbying for the project in early 1998, targeting Rep. Robert Livingston of Louisiana, who chaired the Appropriations Committee, and Rep. Jerry Lewis of Redlands and Cunningham, who served on the subcommittee on defense.

As the Appropriations Committee earmarked the budget, Wilkes, his wife Regina, Wilkes' nephew and lobbyist Joel Combs, attorney Richard Bliss and Rollie Kimbrough, a Democrat who headed a Washington, D.C., company that partnered with ADCS on the project, contributed a total of $28,000 to the three Republican lawmakers.

The project passed without the Pentagon's support, since most of the documents in Panama had little military value. Many of the documents that were of military value already were being photocopied, faxed or scanned into computers.

But Wilkes got a contract to convert millions of documents into computer-readable format, including reams of papers that dated to the administration of President Theodore Roosevelt. By Wilkes' own description, ADCS was using its most expensive technology to scan engineering drawings from the 1870s and images of boats from the 1910s.

Louis Kratz, an assistant undersecretary of defense, tried to block funding for the project, arguing there were more pressing needs at the Army's Missile Command, the Air Force's Logistics Center and an Air Force Pacific Base project.

Kratz was rebuffed by Cunningham as well as Hunter, who wanted the Pentagon to give Audre a $3.9 million contract to perform document conversion on an Abrams tank project.

Kratz later told The Washington Post that he had never encountered such "arrogance" and "meddling" as he had from Cunningham and Wilkes. John Karpovich, who helped run the document conversion program at the Defense Department before his retirement, said Wilkes infuriated Pentagon staff by claiming that the document conversion money belonged to him.

"Brent came in and said, 'That's our money,' " Karpovich recalled. "He said, 'The congressmen put the money in there for us.' "

Kratz eventually freed the funds, delaying the Air Force and Missile Command projects. But he also asked the Inspector General to investigate how the projects got funding.

In June 2000, the Pentagon Inspector General reported that several important projects had lost funding because "two congressmen" pressured defense officials to shift the money to the Panama and Abrams tank projects. The shift in funding was causing some military officers to "lose confidence in the fairness of the selection process," the Inspector General reported.

Lavish living

The money from Panama and other ADCS contracts – ranging from Gateway computer systems to military sound technology – helped fund a heady lifestyle for Wilkes and his associates.

In 1999, Wilkes and his wife bought a $1.5 million home in the Poway hills. He soon bought a second home: a $283,500 town house in the Virginia suburbs near Washington, D.C. During his visits to Washington, he made his rounds in a chauffeur-driven Mercedes. At the Capital Grille, a favored hangout of legislators and lobbyists, he rented a personalized wine locker with his best friend Foggo.

Wilkes spread his taxpayer-provided funds throughout his company, taking executives on periodic retreats to Hawaii and Idaho.

In Honolulu, Wilkes stayed at suites at the Royal Hawaiian Hotel or rented the beachfront mansion of the late hairstyling mogul Paul Mitchell, which typically goes for $50,000 a week.

In Idaho, Wilkes' team stayed at the posh Coeur d'Alene Resort, where Wilkes paid $2,500 a night for a 2,500-square-foot penthouse suite, featuring an indoor swimming pool and outdoor Jacuzzi, said former employees and sources in Idaho.

For dinner, Wilkes would take his team to Beverley's restaurant, where a group meal could easily cost several thousand dollars. For recreation, they would fish, Jet Ski or play at the resort's exclusive golf course, famed for its 14th hole on a man-made floating island in Lake Coeur d'Alene.

There were retreats to Hawaii and Idaho at least once a year, said one source inside the company, with visits to Idaho typically occurring in spring or summer and visits to Hawaii in fall or winter.

Wilkes made no bones about where his money was coming from. His jet-black Hummer bore a license plate reading MIPR ME – a reference to Military Interdepartmental Purchase Requests, which authorize funds in the Pentagon.

Wilkes shared the benefits of his largesse with the politicians who helped him. He took Cunningham on several out-of-state trips on his corporate jet. Cunningham has produced no records showing that he paid for food, lodging or transportation while traveling to resorts with Wilkes, although he does have receipts for several campaign trips on Wilkes' jet.

Wilkes also bought a small powerboat that he moored behind Cunningham's yacht, the Kelly C, at the Capital Yacht Club in Washington, D.C. The boat was available for Cunningham's use anytime Wilkes was not using it.

But what landed Wilkes in trouble with federal prosecutors was his gifts to Cunningham. According to Cunningham's plea agreement, "Co-conspirator No. 1," gave $525,000 to Cunningham on May 13, 2004, to pay off the second mortgage on Cunningham's home in Rancho Santa Fe.

Co-conspirator No. 1 also gave $100,000 to Cunningham on May 1, 2000, which went into Cunningham's personal accounts in San Diego and Washington, D.C. And he paid $11,116.50 to help pay Cunningham's mortgage on the Kelly C.

The plea agreement charged that in return for the payments, Cunningham "used his public office and took other official action to influence U.S. Department of Defense personnel to award and execute government contracts."

Wilkes befriended other legislators, too. He ran a hospitality suite, with several bedrooms, in Washington – first in the Watergate Hotel and then in the Westin Grand near Capitol Hill.

He also kept his donations flowing, targeting people with clout over the Pentagon budget: $43,000 to Jerry Lewis, who now heads the Appropriations Committee; $35,500 to Hunter, who heads the Armed Services Committee; and $30,000 to Tom DeLay, who flew on Wilkes' jet several times and has been a frequent golfing buddy.

Over the past three years, Wilkes' lobbying group in Washington – Group W Advisors – also paid about $630,000 in lobbying fees to Alexander Strategy Group, a firm headed by DeLay's former chief of staff Ed Buckham and staffed with former DeLay employees.

The firm has a well-publicized reputation in Washington as a conduit to DeLay's office.

"The Alexander lobbyists' sales pitch was, 'Either you hire me or DeLay is going to screw you,' " an anonymous source identified as a top Republican lobbyist told the Congressional Quarterly weekly last month. "It was not really a soft sell."

Besides donating money to DeLay's campaign, Wilkes also has given money to a political action committee that DeLay helped organize: Texans for a Republican Majority. The group is under investigation for allegedly breaking Texas law to divert corporate contributions into its drive to redraw the state's election districts.

DeLay was indicted in late September over his activities with the group.

One of the group's biggest contributors was PerfectWave Technologies, one of Wilkes' companies, which donated $15,000.

House Speaker Dennis Hastert also flew on Wilkes' jet several times, sources say, although Hastert's expense records show no payments for such trips.

Besides its military work, ADCS also vied for state and municipal contracts, both for document conversion services as well as mapping systems to help speed police, firefighters and emergency workers to crime sites or fires.

As Wilkes vied for contracts, he donated to state and local politicians, such as San Diego County Supervisor Ron Roberts and Assemblyman George Plescia of Poway. The kickoff for Plescia's political campaign was held in ADCS' headquarters; Plescia was about to marry Wilkes' government affairs manager Melissa Dollaghan.

Other than Wilkes' donations to federal campaigns, his biggest contributions went to Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger.

Besides helping coordinate the Schwarzenegger campaign's finance activities in San Diego County during the 2003 recall election, Wilkes and his wife donated $42,400 to Schwarzenegger, the maximum allowable. The next year, Wilkes allowed Schwarzenegger to use ADCS' headquarters as a local office for his 2004 workers' compensation initiative campaign.

Schwarzenegger appointed Wilkes as a board member of the Del Mar Race Track Board in 2004 and the State Race Track Leasing Commission this year.

Despite the recent negative publicity, ADCS remains in operation. At the company's glass-and-steel headquarters in Poway one day last week, about 20 cars were in the parking lot.

None of the employees would comment, and company officials shooed a reporter and a photographer away from the property.

The headquarters building was erected in 2003 at a cost of $11 million when the company was receiving a steady stream of government contracts. According to the architectural firm that built it, the building boasts a 100-seat theater, a 2,000-square-foot kitchen, and 32,000 square feet of office space, including a large sandbox lined with surfboards, which was designed to bring an element of fun into the workplace.

Sources who have worked at or done business with ADCS say the company has shrunk in size from more than 135 employees at its heyday to about 45 or fewer today. The headquarters is largely empty, the sources say.
I will add my thoughts in another post.
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Old 01-03-2006, 09:04 PM   #5 (permalink)
Location: home
As far as Abramoff is concerned
he has taken a plea deal
Yup....he's gonna roll on as many people
as possible to save his own butt.
Abramoff Pleads Guilty to 3 Counts
Jack Abramoff, the once-powerful lobbyist at the center of a wide-ranging
public corruption investigation, pleaded guilty yesterday to fraud, tax evasion and
conspiracy to bribe public officials in a deal that requires him to provide evidence
about members of Congress.
Abramoff, who built a political alliance with House Republicans, including
former majority leader Tom DeLay of Texas, has agreed to provide information and
testimony about half a dozen House and Senate members, officials familiar with the
inquiry said. He also is to provide evidence about congressional staffers, Interior
Department workers and other executive branch officials, and other lobbyists.
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Old 01-03-2006, 10:47 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Good. I don't care if he spends a day in prison or pays $1 in fines. It's more important to me that every single govt official guilty of wrongdoings gets punished for this. Dem, Rep, I don't care, I want them out.
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Old 01-04-2006, 05:41 AM   #7 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by kutulu
Good. I don't care if he spends a day in prison or pays $1 in fines. It's more important to me that every single govt official guilty of wrongdoings gets punished for this. Dem, Rep, I don't care, I want them out.
Agreed 110%.
"Of all tyrannies, a tyranny exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive. It may be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies. The robber baron's cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satiated; but those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end, for they do so with the approval of their own conscience." – C. S. Lewis

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Old 01-04-2006, 07:14 AM   #8 (permalink)
I'm really hoping for a massive shakeup in congress. i'm hoping that enough people will be shown to be involved that there is massive public backlash against curruption.

well to clarify i'm not hoping that a tun of people are involved, i'm suspecting a tun of people are involved and hoping all of them go down. ideally there would be limited involvement and our congress would have a backbone but i don't think that this is the case.
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Old 01-06-2006, 06:00 PM   #9 (permalink)
Deja Moo
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Location: Olympic Peninsula, WA
It appears that Wilkes is just another player that leads back to DeLay. I think it safe to say that there won't be great enthusiasm in holding DeLay's leadership position open for him.


'DeLay Inc.' Lobbying Firm Has Links to Three Capital Scandals

Friday 06 January 2005

Representative Tom DeLay's campaign to get Republicans to dominate Washington lobbying may have worked too well for Alexander Strategy Group.

The firm has links to no fewer than three of the scandals convulsing the US capital. One partner, former DeLay aide Tony Rudy, is now a focus of a federal investigation of lobbyist Jack Abramoff. The group's founder, former DeLay chief of staff Ed Buckham, set up a South Korea junket for his old boss that violated ethics rules. And the firm represents a company whose owner, prosecutors allege, bribed former Representative Randy Cunningham.

Alexander Strategy's links to lawmakers are an outgrowth of a decade-long effort by DeLay, 58, to force lobbying firms to hire more Republicans, who can direct corporate money to the party. The system, known as "DeLay Inc." or "the K Street Project," has fueled a surge of money in politics, and critics say it has also created the potential for greater corruption.

"Alexander Strategy Group is really part of DeLay Inc. and Abramoff Inc.," said Melanie Sloan, a former federal prosecutor who now heads Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, an ethics watchdog group. "There have been some aggressive prosecutors trying to unravel those ties. I am sure that Alexander Strategy is going to have more than Tony Rudy as a problem when this is over."

Rapid Growth

Alexander's ties to DeLay, a Texas Republican and the former House majority leader, helped it become one of Washington's fastest-growing lobbying firms, with revenue surging 20-fold from 2000 to 2004, according to lobbying- disclosure reports.

Its DeLay ties go well beyond Rudy and Buckham. Jim Ellis, the head of DeLay's political action committee, Americans for a Republican Majority, also worked for the firm as a lobbyist. Karl Gallant, who preceded Ellis as head of DeLay's political action committee, is currently an Alexander lobbyist. And the firm employed DeLay's wife, Christine, from 1998 to 2002, paying her from $3,200 to $3,400 a month, according to Richard Cullen, a lawyer for the former majority leader.

Another congressional spouse, Julia Doolittle, wife of California Republican John Doolittle, helped Alexander with bookkeeping for one of its clients, according to Justice Department records.

Ellis faces money-laundering charges in Texas along with DeLay, who was forced to give up his leadership post after his September indictment. The case involves his PAC's alleged attempts to steer corporate money to state legislative races.

From 2000 to 2003, the PAC paid at least $388,000 to Alexander in fund-raising fees, FEC and Internal Revenue Service records show.

'Nothing Wrong'

Buckham and Rudy didn't return phone calls seeking comment. Cullen, DeLay's lawyer, denied his client engaged in any wrongdoing. DeLay "knows that he has done nothing wrong," Cullen said on Jan. 3, after Abramoff pleaded guilty to conspiracy, mail fraud and tax evasion in the Justice Department investigation of political corruption.

The DeLay-Buckham connection helped Alexander thrive. The company, whose offices are along the Potomac River in Washington's fashionable Georgetown district, brought in $7.8 million in 2004, an average of $650,000 for each of its 12 registered lobbyists, according to disclosures filed with Congress. That compares with an average of about $250,000 per registered lobbyist last year at Patton Boggs LLP, Washington's biggest lobbying firm by revenue. Patton Boggs had revenue of $30.6 million in 2004.

Giving to Republicans

Some of Alexander's money found its way to the Republican Party. Its lobbyists gave at least $376,608 to Republican candidates and party committees since 2001, according to Federal Election Commission records. The 12 gave a total of $1,000 to Democrats during that period.

"The largest public image of DeLay Inc. would be Alexander Strategy Group," said Kent Cooper, a former FEC official who co-founded PoliticalMoneyLine, a Washington-based company that tracks political finance. The firm's relationships with DeLay and other lawmakers and spouses "might be what prosecutors are looking at."

Prosecutors are clearly looking at Rudy, 39, DeLay's former deputy staff chief. Abramoff's plea agreement states that in 2000 a DeLay aide the government called "Staffer A" helped the lobbyist defeat legislation that would have restricted Internet gambling. People familiar with the case later said the staffer was Rudy. In return, the wife of "Staffer A" was paid $50,000 through a charity, according to the plea. Rudy hasn't been charged with a crime.

Measure Defeated

In July 2000, DeLay was one of 44 Republicans who voted against the Internet Gambling Prohibition Act, while 165 party members supported it. The legislation, which required 270 votes to pass, fell short by 25 votes.

Alexander was also employed by Abramoff associate Michael Scanlon, a former communications director for DeLay. Scanlon's public-relations company, Capitol Campaign Strategies LLC, paid $120,000 to the firm in 2002, according to records released by the Senate Indian Affairs Committee in November.

Justice Department records show that Alexander was behind a nonprofit association - the Korea-US Exchange Council - that was financed by South Korea's Hanwha Group and that flew DeLay to Korea in August 2001. Congressional ethics rules ban registered foreign agents from funding travel by members of Congress; the trip added to the cloud of controversy surrounding DeLay when it was reported by the Washington Post in March.

Possible Violation

Alexander, whose lobbyists signed the council's tax returns, may be in violation of the law, says the IRS's former head of nonprofit groups. While the council is registered with the Internal Revenue Service as a nonprofit organization, its business-oriented purpose documented in Justice Department disclosures "suggests tax-exempt status was not warranted," said Marcus Owens, who headed the IRS division of tax-exempt groups from 1990 to 2000.

Kelly Kramer, a lobbyist for the council at Nixon Peabody LLP, didn't return phone calls and e-mails asking for comment.

In the years before the Korea trip, Buckham and Abramoff had a close association. They used their credit cards to help pay for a 2000 trip to the U.K. for DeLay and his wife, the Washington Post reported in April. House rules bar members from accepting travel from registered lobbyists. DeLay's office said it had been told that a nonprofit group sponsored the trip.

"He is someone on our side," Buckham said of Abramoff in a 1995 interview with the National Journal. "He has access to DeLay."

The Cunningham Connection

One of the biggest clients Alexander landed was Group W Advisors, a San Diego-based defense consultant. The company is owned by Brent Wilkes, a businessman who is one of the four un- indicted co-conspirators in a Nov. 28 criminal complaint for allegedly bribing Cunningham, his lawyer, Michael Lipman, told USA Today. Cunningham pleaded guilty and resigned his House seat on Nov. 28.

Alexander took in at least $525,000 in fees from 2002 to 2004 from Group W to lobby on defense appropriations. Those appropriations are among the legislative favors Cunningham gave to receive his gifts, according to the former lawmaker's plea agreement. It isn't clear what role, if any, Alexander strategists had. Lipman didn't return a call seeking comment.
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Old 01-07-2006, 12:11 PM   #10 (permalink)
Deja Moo
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Location: Olympic Peninsula, WA
DeLay has given up his leadership position. I think it wise for the Replican party to distance themselves from what is to come.


Under Fire, DeLay Steps Down
The Associated Press

Saturday 07 January 2006

Washington - Embattled Rep. Tom DeLay decided Saturday to give up his post as House majority leader, clearing the way for new leadership elections among House Republicans eager to shed the taint of scandal, two officials said.

These officials said DeLay, R-Texas, was preparing a letter informing fellow House Republicans of his decision. These officials spoke on condition of anonymity, saying they did not want to pre-empt the formal announcement.

DeLay is battling campaign finance charges in Texas and was forced to step aside temporarily as majority leader last fall after he was charged in his home state. He has consistently maintained his innocence and said he intended to resume his leadership post once cleared.

His about-face came amid growing pressure from fellow Republicans who were concerned about their own political futures in the wake of this week's guilty pleas by lobbyist Jack Abramoff.

Missouri Rep. Roy Blunt, the party whip who temporarily has filled in for DeLay, was expected to run for majority leader.

Rep. John Boehner of Ohio, a former member of the leadership, is also likely to run.

Elections are likely the week of Jan. 30, when lawmakers return to the Capitol.

DeLay intends to remain in Congress, these officials said, and plans to seek a new term in November.

DeLay acted hours after a small vanguard of Republicans circulated a petition calling for leadership elections and citing DeLay's legal problems as well as his long ties to Abramoff.
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Old 01-11-2006, 07:28 PM   #11 (permalink)
Deja Moo
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I was just reading my Time magazine cover story concerning Abramoff. I wonder why this story took so long, given that Host had most of the story pulled together nearly a year ago.

True investigative reporting as I remember it seems to no longer exist. Our main stream media has become cautious to the point of waiting until plea deals and/or confessions are on record.
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Old 04-28-2006, 07:38 AM   #12 (permalink)
Okay, here we go.....it took a while, but now, even the WSJ is out in front on this story, but with far less "particulars" than the San Diego newspaper that first exposed Randy Cunningham's treason. (maneuvering/pressuring the Pentagon to initiate "defense" spending that it had no interest in doing, and which did not enhance the ability of the armed forces to defend the country, in a "time of war", is aptly called treason, when it is motivated by bribes to induce misuse of elected office and official influence.....)

There is a noticeable lack of participation on this thread, and, in the politics forum as time goes by, from those who staunchly maintained that there is a series of corruption ridden scandals in Washington, that involve democrats and republicans. I encourage those who still hold that opinion, to post the names and deeds of democrats who are at risk of indictment or have been indicted in the Abramoff, Plame CIA leak, Cunningham bribery, Tom Delay money laundering, New Hampshire "phonegate", Ohio "coingate", or....any recent bribery or "dirty tricks" scandal that you can make a case for. The two democratic congressman in the news, one from WV who failed to fully disclose his personal finances and seems to have some real estate related, conflicts of interest, who resigned from the house ethics committee after the minority leader asked him to, and Jefferson from New Orleans, who is being investigated for questionable dealings with Nigerians, don't seem to rise to the scale of Abramoff or Cunningham related crimes. For that matter, they don't seem to compromise national security in a time of war or put the entire legislative process on the block, for sale to the highest or most influential bidder. I detect no "bi-partisan" era of scandal. Democrats have no power or influence to sell. Republicans have attempted to purge democrats from all lobbying firms. They're reaping what they've sown.

Participate....start your own thread to spotlight the crimes that make the case that this is a "bi-partisan" atmosphere of contemporary, federal corruption....or weigh in to challenge what has been posted here, or to condemn the conduct of those under investigation or of the indicted and the guilty.

Here's the "news" on the stench and breadth of the Cunningham, Wilkes, Wade, Foggo, corruption. It is reportedly linked all the way to the "reform" minded and extremely partisan director of the CIA:
Congressional-Bribe Case Cunningham Is Suspected
Of Asking for Prostitutes; Were Others Involved?
April 27, 2006; Page A6

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.....

......The charges against Mr. Cunningham had alleged that "Co-conspirator #1" -- Mr. Wilkes -- had given the congressman more than $600,000 in bribes, including paying off a mortgage on Mr. Cunningham's house.

Mr. Wilkes hasn't been charged with any crime, and people with knowledge of the investigation say he recently decided he would fight any charges that might be filed rather than plead guilty and cooperate with the investigation. Michael Lipman, Mr. Wilkes's lawyer, denied his client had been involved in procuring prostitutes. ........

.......The charges against Mr. Cunningham had alleged that "Co-conspirator #1" -- Mr. Wilkes -- had given the congressman more than $600,000 in bribes, including paying off a mortgage on Mr. Cunningham's house.

Mr. Wilkes hasn't been charged with any crime, and people with knowledge of the investigation say he recently decided he would fight any charges that might be filed rather than plead guilty and cooperate with the investigation. Michael Lipman, Mr. Wilkes's lawyer, denied his client had been involved in procuring prostitutes.
The San Diego Union-Tribune actually reports much more thoroughly today:
Co-conspirator's possible links to prostitutes eyed
By Dean Calbreath

April 28, 2006

.........As The San Diego Union-Tribune <a href="http://www.signonsandiego.com/news/politics/cunningham/20051204-9999-1n4adcs.html">reported in December</a>, the suites – first at the Watergate Hotel and then at the Westin Grand Hotel – had several bedrooms where lawmakers and other guests could relax.

Federal investigators are trying to determine whether Cunningham and other legislators brought prostitutes to the hotels or prostitutes were provided for them there, according to a report in yesterday's Wall Street Journal and confirmed by the Union-Tribune..........

...........Two of Wilkes' former business associates say they were present on several occasions when Shirlington Limousine & Transportation Service of northern Virginia brought prostitutes to the suite. They say they did not see lawmakers in the suites on those occasions, though both had heard rumors of congressmen bringing women to the rooms.

Shirlington's attorney, Bobby S. Stafford, confirmed in a letter that from the company's founding in 1990 through the early 2000s, Shirlington President Christopher Baker “provided limousine services for Mr. Wilkes for whatever entertainment he had in the Watergate.”

Stafford's letter stated that Baker was “never in attendance in any party where any women were being used for prostitution purposes.”

<b>Last year, Shirlington won a $21 million contract from the Department of Homeland Security.</b>

According to the Journal, FBI agents have interviewed women employed at escort services in Washington, as well as other potential witnesses.

In his guilty plea in November, Cunningham said Wilkes, referred to as “co-conspirator No. 1,” gave him more than $630,000 in cash and gifts in order to gain government contracts. Wade, known as “co-conspirator No. 2,” also named Wilkes in his guilty plea. Wilkes has not been indicted in the case, and his companies continue to receive money from government contracts.

Several of Wilkes' former employees and business associates say he used the hospitality suites over the past 15 years to curry favor with lawmakers as well as officials with the CIA, where both Wilkes and Wade sought contracts.

<b>Wilkes hosted parties for lawmakers and periodic poker games that included CIA officials</b> as well as members of the House Appropriations and Intelligence committees. Cunningham, who sat on both committees, was a frequent guest, according to some of the participants in the poker games.

People who were present at the games said one of the regular players was Kyle Dustin “Dusty” Foggo, who has been Wilkes' best friend since the two attended junior high school in Chula Vista in the late 1960s. In October, Foggo was named the CIA's executive director – the agency's third-highest position..........

<b>.......Wilson said nearly all the poker players at the two games he attended were CIA officials, including Foggo and Nine Fingers. ........

........Foggo, who occasionally hosted the poker parties at his house in northern Virginia,</b> is under investigation by the CIA's inspector general to determine whether he helped Wilkes gain CIA contracts.

CIA spokesman Paul Gimigliano said such an investigation is routine when questions are raised about an official's actions at the agency..........

.........One of Wilkes' companies, Archer Logistics, won a contract to provide bottled water, first-aid kits and other supplies to CIA agents in Afghanistan and Iraq. The company had no previous experience with such work, having been founded a few months before the contract was granted.

Critics familiar with the contract, valued at $2 million to $3 million, say <b>the CIA overpaid for the work. The contract was approved by the CIA office in Frankfurt, Germany, where Foggo oversaw acquisitions.</b> Foggo did not personally sign the contract, however, said unnamed CIA officials who spoke with Newsweek.

“Mr. Foggo maintains that the contracts for which he was responsible were properly awarded and administered,” Gimigliano said.
CIA's Goss Drawn Into Hooker Probe?
By Justin Rood - April 27, 2006, 7:23 PM

Ken Silverstein reports at Harper's blog on the spreading Cunningham-Wade-Wilkes prostitute scandal. He says more lawmakers, past and present, are being investigated. Sounds like he thinks House Intel Chair-turned-CIA Director Porter Goss is one of them:

....... Remember that Goss is the one who plucked one of Wilkes' old San Diego friends, the unusual and colorful Kyle "Dusty" Foggo, out of CIA middle-management obscurity to be his #3 at the agency. At the time of Foggo's appointment, no one could figure out where he came from, or how Goss knew him.
Red Lights on Capitol Hill?
Posted on Thursday, April 27, 2006. By Ken Silverstein.

.........Wilkes, I've learned, even hired Shirlington as his personal limousine service.

It gets even more interesting: the man who has been identified as the CEO of Shirlington has a 62-page rap sheet (I recently obtained a copy) that runs from at least 1979 through 1989 and lists charges of petit larceny, robbery, receiving stolen goods, assault, and more. Curiously—or perhaps not so curiously given the company's connections—Shirlington Limousine is also a Department of Homeland Security contractor; according to the Washington Post, last fall it won a $21.2 million contract for shuttle services and transportation support. (I tried to contact Shirlington but was unable to get past their answering service.)
Can anyone seriously make a case that we are a nation "at war"? I've <a href="http://www.tfproject.org/tfp/showthread.php?t=101881&highlight=cigar">posted recent reports</a> of the "stand down" of the "Intelligence Czar", and here is a link to Krugman's new column on Bush, <a href="http://www.smirkingchimp.com/viewtopic.php?topic=64883&forum=6">the "Crony Fairy"</a>, responsible for the destruction of FEMA, and this news, today: <a href="http://today.reuters.com/news/articlenews.aspx?type=politicsNews&storyid=2006-04-28T132611Z_01_WAT005465_RTRUKOC_0_US-SECURITY-DUBAI-BUSH.xml">Bush expected to approve Dubai defense purchase</a>

If these reports are all credible, how can anyone, in good consious, support these "leaders" and their assertions that they can "appropriate" unilaterally, "war powers", like.....warrantless domestic wiretapping?

It looks like no one can....hence the "drying up" of posts by those who formerly "defended" our "leadership" and their fear mongering, "we are at war" propaganda. <b>Watch what they do</b>....not what they say.....
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