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Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Duke Cunningham's Co-Conspirator Gave Arnold $77,400; Named to State Race Track Commission

As Dean Calbreath and Jerry Kammer report in the San Diego Union-Tribune, Brent Wilkes, unnamed co-conspirator #1 in the indictment against resigned-in-disgrace former congressman Randy "Duke" Cunningham, did not limit his politician buying spree to federal officials.

From September 2003 to October 2004, Wilkes, his wife Regina, and his company ADCS gave $77,400 to three political committees controlled by Arnold Schwarzenegger, including his 2003 and 2006 candidate committees and the California Recovery Team.

On April 7, 2004, Governor Schwarzenegger named Wilkes to the Del Mar Race Track Board. Then, on March 25, 2005, Schwarzenegger named Wilkes to the State Race Track Leasing Commission (pdf format - page 5).

Wilkes has not been convicted of any crime . . . yet. However, Cunningham's plea bargain and the documentation which led to that plea make it look very much as though Wilkes spent hundreds of thousands of dollars to bribe a sitting United States congressman in return for that congressman's help and influence in obtaining defense contracts for Wilkes' firm, ADCS.

As Calbreath and Kammer report in the Union-Tribune story, Wilkes has a long track record of greasing the political wheels in order to get something in return. While it isn't clear whether Wilkes had a similar expectation with his donations to Schwarzenegger, it is clear that Wilkes gave money to Schwarzenegger and got named to two gambling-related boards by Schwarzenegger.

The days ahead may provide the answer.

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