« Utah Legislators Propose Lobbyist "Speed Dating" | Main | Ice Age Predicted, Blamed on Global Warming »

Duke of Graft

Well, it's official. Former Congressman Randy "Duke" Cunningham, Viet Nam war ace, has resigned his office in disgrace and pleaded guilty to accepting over two million dollars in bribes from defense contractors.

I have a bit of passing interest in this case. I knew very little about Cunningham, but he had been chosen as the namesake of a warship featured prominently in the novels of James Cobb, which I do greatly enjoy. And now it's going to be hard to pick up those books without the thought of Duke's disgrace and shame -- not to mention his crimes.

I am gravely disappointed in Duke, but I don't feel that qualified to judge him. Besides, I think Wretchard and Professor Chaos have said it far more eloquently than I ever could.

Comments (12)

In the name of eliminating ... (Below threshold)

In the name of eliminating the appearance of corruption congress abridgies our right to free speech and calls it campaign finance reform. All the while not much seems to be done to eliminate actual corruption.

Obi Wan Kenobi said it best "You will never find a more wretched hive of scum and villainy."

Well, me, too, as to the di... (Below threshold)

Well, me, too, as to the disappointment.

We -- society, us humans -- admire skill and cunning and unfortunately, Cunningham grew reckless as to accountability, personal morality, and more.

None of us can judge him other than that he was a dishonest person in use of public office. And, I got the impression that his sorrow resulted from being captured, not as personal revision -- although he was in a bad place in that I don't see how he might have made a personal correction without being revealed and held publicly responsible. Still, it would have been admirable if he'd just come forward with his bad deeds, put an end to them voluntarily and accepted punishment, ridicule, loss of office accordingly. Because he didn't, he's now looking like yet another criminal guy sorry because he's facing jail time.

It's a sad thing to behold because I am sure, SURE, that for the acts by Cunningham, there are so many more similar ones, if not worse, by others who use public office in corrupt fashion. Seems it's also a case of who the incentives originated from...someone offered a vulnerable need that Cunningham had (luxury items) and he took the hook, line and sinker. Sad, sad. But even sadder is whoever it is -- all of them, whoever they may be -- who entice others into these failures. And never seem to be held accountable, or punished.

Stephen Macklin...and all..... (Below threshold)

Stephen Macklin...and all...I agree. Perhaps the method of gaining public office leaves people both funded by and vulnerable to elements among humanity that are "necessary" to the process. Not excusing those elements, just saying, perhaps gaining public office these days is a dance between willing, appealing personalities and willing, appealing "donors".

The MSM paints all of these... (Below threshold)

The MSM paints all of these ex-military politicians as being so "true blue" and we should hang on every word when they talk about military strategy. Sure, they might've been heroes once but now they're just plain old crooked politicians.

You know where this is goin... (Below threshold)

You know where this is going, don't you? Of course you do.

We desperately need to increase the salaries of congressmen so the poor public servants won't feel compelled to take bribes! Or evade taxes like Traficant...oops, how did a corrupt Democrat get in here? Must be a mistake...

"...not much seems to be... (Below threshold)

"...not much seems to be done to eliminate actual corruption."

Except, ya'know, if you count the fact that Cunningham will do hard jail time.

I believe that Cunningham was basically a good man who succumbed to temptation. I disagree with those who claim that the many good things he did for the people of San Diego, the miltary, and the country as a whole should be discounted because "he was a dishonest person in use of public office." More often than not, these are the same people who make light of ex-President Clinton's many, sordid transgressions.

But at the same time, you will not find anyone more shocked, angrier, and more disappointed than myself. He violated the trust of his constituants, and for that he should -- and will -- pay a very severe price.

fretless: Cunningham IS a ... (Below threshold)

fretless: Cunningham IS a dishonest person who used public office to exact dishonesty. That's been proven in a court of law and admitted to by Cunningham himself. Unless you're suggesting he's still being dishonest by admitting he was dishonest...don't know.

I don't discount what he's accomplished, not at all, and can't find much of anything I wrote earlier to suggest that everything he accomplished while in public service and later in public office should be overruled, "discounted," by his dishonesty in office.

Unfortunately, dishonesty often overrules many other accomplishments but when you're in elected office, it's even worse. I'm not the one writing his legacy but I tend to think that his legacy will be his dishonesty. Unfortunately for Cunninghham.

Age, a desirous mate, pressures from family, lust for grandious objects, age-onset dementia rendering him irresponsible, I don't know what his motives were but he acted with.intentional.dishonesty.using.the.advantages.public.office.provided.him and, he did so with ongoing intention. It isn't like he suddenly accepted a nice car or a luxury vacation...he seems to have engaged in an ongoing pattern of very serious dishonesty while in office.

It's not a small thing, not easily dismissed by many. If you can, great, and I hope that Cunningham has learned a big lesson in character. I just wish he'd done so on his own volition, by changing his character through self awareness, rather than have it forced on him and the taxpayers and general public by law enforcement. It does suggest he'd have continued his behavior had he not been forced to "change" and that's the added aversion I have to his story.

If Cunningham was a basical... (Below threshold)

If Cunningham was a basically good man he wouldn't have succumbed to temptation would he?

Sure he might have done some good in the congress along the way and much as his corruption does not erase them, they do not in any way lessen the corruption.

At this point probably the only thing that separates Cunningham from most of the rest of Congress is that he got caught. The gift the perks and the payoffs are not not unique to him.

Duke Cunningham was a crook... (Below threshold)

Duke Cunningham was a crook who got caught. It seems to me the Right prides itself on taking personal responsibility, yet I have seen posts on several right wing boards attempting to somehow tie this to campaign finance reform. The guy was buying houses and cars with the wads of cash he was stuffing in his pockets, for Christ's sake. And I don't think we can overlook the fact that he was being bribed for defense procurement purposes. It appears the bribing companies didn't feel they could get contracts honestly, which leads to questions about the quality of their work and/or products.

And Sandy Berger, please. He took copies of his own documents. He shouldn't have done it. He went to court. He was punished. There's absolutely no evidence that he gave the information to anyone else. I can't believe people are trying to say that what he did was worse than the wholesale thievery admitted to by Cunningham. Face it, I'm sure it's embarrassing that he was a Republican, just like Democratic wrongdoers embarrass me. But this is one of the most egregious, blatant cases of good old fashioned bribery in the history of this country. It only makes it worse when you try to compare it to lesser transgressions.

And I couldn't believe this statement: "At this point probably the only thing that separates Cunningham from most of the rest of Congress is that he got caught. The gift the perks and the payoffs are not not unique to him." Well call me naive, but I really don't think most members of Congress, Democrat or Republican, are taking wads of cash to buy toys. Do you have any evidence to base that statement on?

Duke Cunningham was a cr... (Below threshold)

Duke Cunningham was a crook who got caught. It seems to me the Right prides itself on taking personal responsibility, yet I have seen posts on several right wing boards attempting to somehow tie this to campaign finance reform.

Then it must warm your heart considerably to see that he has been pretty much universally condemned by conservatives here on this conservative blog.

I wonder, if Cunningham had been a Democrat, would he have been so condemned by the Kos Kidz or the DUmmies...?

I have seen posts on sev... (Below threshold)

I have seen posts on several right wing boards attempting to somehow tie this to campaign finance reform.

Names and links, please, so we can all go over there and set them straight.

Chris,Take a look ... (Below threshold)


Take a look here.

The expectation that political corruption in congress is limited to one individual or one side of the aisle is wishful thinking that rises to the level of delusion.






Follow Wizbang

Follow Wizbang on FacebookFollow Wizbang on TwitterSubscribe to Wizbang feedWizbang Mobile


Send e-mail tips to us:

[email protected]

Fresh Links


Section Editor: Maggie Whitton

Editors: Jay Tea, Lorie Byrd, Kim Priestap, DJ Drummond, Michael Laprarie, Baron Von Ottomatic, Shawn Mallow, Rick, Dan Karipides, Michael Avitablile, Charlie Quidnunc, Steve Schippert

Emeritus: Paul, Mary Katherine Ham, Jim Addison, Alexander K. McClure, Cassy Fiano, Bill Jempty, John Stansbury, Rob Port

In Memorium: HughS

All original content copyright © 2003-2010 by Wizbang®, LLC. All rights reserved. Wizbang® is a registered service mark.

Powered by Movable Type Pro 4.361

Hosting by ServInt

Ratings on this site are powered by the Ajax Ratings Pro plugin for Movable Type.

Search on this site is powered by the FastSearch plugin for Movable Type.

Blogrolls on this site are powered by the MT-Blogroll.

Temporary site design is based on Cutline and Cutline for MT. Graphics by Apothegm Designs.

Author Login

Terms Of Service

DCMA Compliance Notice

Privacy Policy