Senate Majority Project

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Lindsay and Duke

Graham is the Top Senate Recipient of Dirty Duke Donor Money

With the indictment, plea and resignation of Duke Cunningham, there is plenty of evidence that Cunningham donor Brent Wilkes -- aka coconspirator #1 -- had more in mind than boosting his favorite candidates with his political contributions. According to the San Diego Union Tribune,
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.
A list of money from Wilkes, his businesses and employees shows mostly House members, but one Senate candidate stands out: Sen. Lindsay Graham received $13,000 most of it from ADCS PAC for his 2002 Senate Race.

True to form, Graham served on the House Armed Services Committee and went on to serve on the Senate Armed Services Committee. Others include Larry Craig, Kay Bailey Hutchison, and Sam Brownback. All three of these Senators serve on the Senate Appropriations Committee. Wilkes was known to have distributed cash and favors to lawmakers who were most likely to help him secure defense contracts.

A developing angle to the story was sniffed out by the Hotline who noticed the following in the San Diego Union tribune story.
According to the U-T, Wilkes also "ran a hospitality suite, with several bedrooms, in" DC -- "first in the Watergate Hotel and then" in a Capitol Hill hotel.
Come again? A "hospitality suite with several bedrooms"?
Talk about raising more questions, including:
-- Why does a lobbyist need a "hospitality suite with several bedrooms"?
-- Who uses those bedrooms and for what?