Public Nuisance

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The first Republican president once said, "While the people retain their virtue and their vigilance, no administration by any extreme of wickedness or folly can seriously injure the government in the short space of four years." If Mr. Lincoln could see what's happened in these last three-and-a-half years, he might hedge a little on that statement.
-Ronald Reagan

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Thursday, December 01, 2005
One rather consistent rule regarding dirty Republicans is that they travel in groups. So I decided to do some research on the invaluable Open Secrets site to see who else was involved with Brent Wilkes, aka co-conpirator number one. Wilkes and other executives in his several corporate entities have been making substantial contributions to many other Republicans than Duke Cunningham. Naturally, receipt of these legal donations isn't evidence that they have also been receiving bribes such as those Cunningham was convicted for.

ADCS contributions were always to Republicans, generally to House members from Southern California. Almost all were incumbents, although Maria Garcia's unsuccessful attempt in 2002 to unseat Robert Filner (D - Chula Vista) was an exception. Several committee chairmen got ADCS money, and large amounts went to Tom Delay. The largest beneficiary who was neither a Southern Californian nor a member of the House leadership seems to have been John Doolittle (R - Auburn). Mr Doolittle's extensive ties to Jack Abramoff are the subject of this recent article in his local paper, but the article doesn't discuss Doolittle's ties to co-conspirator number one. The Senator who got the most, although the sums involved were relatively modest, was Lindsey Graham (R - SC).

Although it helped to be local, ADCS beneficiaries also held strategic comittee seats like Jerry Lewis (Chair, Appropriations Committee), and Ken Calvert (Armed Services Committee). Cunningham and Doolittle sat on the Appropriations Committee.

The various people associated with ADCS and Wilkes's other ventures gave directly to the politicians and to PACs that the Open Secrets website lists them as controlling, including American Prosperity (Cunningham), Superior California Fed Leadership Fund (Doolittle), and Americans for a Republican Majority (Delay). The PACs have increased activity dramatically in recent years. For instance, in the 1998 cycle Doolittle's SCFLF raised only $3644; in 2004 it raised $496,941 with significant help from ADCS, at least two other San Diego area corporate sugar daddies (HST and Pure-o Tech), and several Indian tribes which were associated with Abramoff/Scanlon. The tribal contributions started several months before Doolittle's wife began working for Abramoff.

An odd chapter in this is the large number of donations made to ADCS from people affiliated with Wilkes's other business fronts, Group W and Wilkes Corporation. Most of those who listed these employers for contributions to ADCS also were executives in ADCS who listed it as an employer for direct donations to Republican candidates. That included Arnold Borromeo, Joel Combs, Cliff Rittel, and Paul Smithers, among others. ADCS contributore also included 5 members of the Wilkes family. Most payments to ADCS were made in unusual amounts: on 6/30/05 Larry Wilkes, Robert Wilkes, and Robert Williams all sent exactly $2307; on 11/25/05 12 contributions were made, 10 of them for exactly $576 apiece.

  • Joel Combs of Poway, 2000 - 2004 gave $45,459, all apparently to Republicans except for $10,959 to ADCS, including $9500 to Cunningham, $6000 to Dolittle, and $6000 to Tom Delay.
  • Brent and Regina Wilkes donated $139,306 since 2000, including $13000 to Duke, $25000 to Delay, $25000 to the NRCC, and $15000 to Doolittle.
  • Arnold Borromeo of San Diego gave $13,575 including $5000 to Duke.
  • Paul Smithers of Poway donated $22875, including $6500 to Duke and $8075 to ADCS.
  • Mike Williams of Fairfax gave at least $26,800, including $10000 for Duke.
  • Carlos Daniel Campos donated another $5000 to Duke along with $2920 to ADCS.
  • Edith Magruder of South Riding, VA, $1000 for Doolittle.