Monday, March 13, 2006

Cunningham Aftermath - Florida Rep. Harris In Trouble, Idaho Sen. Craig Coughs Up Tainted Contributions

Senate Campaign of Rep. Harris in Trouble
As Tamara Lytle reports in the Orlando Sentinel, Florida congresswoman and current U.S. Senate candidate Katherine Harris withdrew from a party conference this weekend, citing the need to strategize about a major campaign announcement this week.

Harris has faced tough questions over the last two weeks about her involvement with Duke Cunningham briber and co-conspirator Mitch Wade, who pleaded guilty to funneling $32,000 in illegal campaign contributions to Harris. Shortly after Wade's plea, it was revealed that Harris had requested $10 million in federal funding for Wade's company after a meeting with Wade at which he offered to hold a fundraiser for Harris.

Harris initially refused to give up any of the $50,000 she received through Wade, but seeing the writing on the wall, recently gave the money to charity.

In her statement, Harris said: "I will continue to look to our founding fathers, who pursued their vision with integrity and perseverance, to discern the best course of action for the state of Florida and our nation."

I don't know about that "continue to look to our founding fathers" bit . . . I don't remember anything about Washington and Adams directing earmarks to campaign contributors who promised to hold fundraisers for them. Maybe it was my public education.

Senator Craig Coughs Up Campaign Cash
As Dan Popkey reports in the Idaho Statesman, Idaho Senator Larry Craig has decided to give up the $43,500 he received from resigned-in-disgrace former congressman Duke Cunningham and his alleged co-conspirator Brent Wilkes and his associates.

Like Harris, Craig had requested millions in federal funds for a program benefiting Wilkes's company ADCS shortly after meeting with ADCS lobbyists in 2002. (See Senate Amendment 4419 to HR 5010, a Defense appropriations bill.)

Like Harris, Craig initially refused to cough up the campaign contributions from Wilkes and his associates. Wilkes continued his refusal even after Cunningham pleaded guilty to the bribery scheme and accused Wilkes and three others of bribing him. Craig said he didn't want to appear guilty. Now he's giving it back because he want to avoid looking guilty.

Sounds like the Senator may have more than a perception problem on his mind.

We've called on all officials who have received any campaign contributions from Wilkes or his associates to cough up the cash. Sign the petition if you want to help the Katherine Harrises and Larry Craigs of the world find a little ethical clarity.

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