They've got muck; we've got rakes. TPM Muckraker

Today's Duke Cunningham Sentencing Day! (USA Today, AP)

And it seems the only appropriate way to celebrate would be with a widening investigation into Pentagon contracts.

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Ah, now the gang's all here.

Here's a rosy-cheeked (and for some reason, overall rosy) Warren RoBold, the latest mugshot from Tom DeLay's bad bunch of money launderers -- okay, okay, alleged money launderers -- down in Texas.



RoBold, a big fundraiser for DeLay, was indicted way back in '04 for his role in funneling corporate contributions to Texas Republicans. He joins John Colyandro and Jim Ellis - and of course the beaming Tom DeLay.

A while back, we posted an email exchange that shows Warren RoBold setting up a fundraiser for DeLay's ARMPAC in Abramoff's skybox.

Well, it's not exactly a bribe menu, but...

Brent Wilkes, whom we'll simply identify as the dirtier of the two defense contractors who bribed Duke Cunningham (see below), had more than one friend in Washington. As we've mentioned before, he was close ($37-million-in-earmarks close) to Rep. John Doolittle (R-CA).

On November 14, 2003, Wilkes hosted a fundraiser for Doolittle at his swanky corporate headquarters - possibly to thank him for the $18 million in earmarks Doolittle had "steered" toward Wilkes' company that year.

You can see the menu here. It comes to us courtesy of Wilkes' wife's catering company's website, which is as far as we can tell the only website left standing of the once-formidable Wilkes empire. It's one of their sample menus; they're understandably proud of their work. And no, pork was not on the menu.

One thing I can't quite figure out though: the ticket theme. Is it meant to symbolize that Doolittle was Wilkes' ticket to government contracts? Or that Wilkes, who along with his cohorts gave Doolittle $85,000 over 3 years, was Doolittle's ticket to a healthy campaign?

Oh, who cares. Mmmm... Applewood smoked bacon wrapped filet...

(Late Update: I stand corrected. TPM reader JB writes "'Actually, pork (bacon) was on the menu. No jokes about "bringing home the bacon?'")

It's getting a lot worse for Rep. Katharine Harris (R-FL).

Last Friday, Mitchell Wade, the former president of the defense contractor MZM and one of the two who so impressively and repeatedly bribed Duke Cunningham, pled guilty. He admitted, among other things, that he illegally contributed to two Congressional campaigns. They've since been identified as Harris' and Rep. Virgil Goode's (R-VA).

Now, Wade told the government that neither Harris nor Goode knew that the contributions were illegal, i.e. that Wade reimbursed his employees and their spouses for the $2K they laid out to the campaigns.

But in both cases, Wade approached the Member of Congress after having delivered the contributions and asked if they wouldn't be so kind as to throw an appropriation his way. In Goode's case, that resulted in a $9M MZM facility in Goode's district.

Now it's coming out that Harris followed through too. And she's been lying, breaking promises, and doing her best to cover up her involvement with Wade....

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Mark your calendars...

Duke Cunningham will be sentenced this Friday, and the U.S. Attorney's Office down in Florida tells us that the sentencing of Adam Kidan and Jack Abramoff for their SunCruz fraud is coming up March 16th.

Travis County DA Ronnie Earle is continuing to chase down Tom DeLay's ties to Jack Abramoff.

Today he subpoenaed Jack Abramoff's travel agent, the one who arranged the junket to Scotland in 2000. DeLay came along, and I think that it's fair to say from the $6,617.20 ticket price that he flew first class. The ticket was charged to Jack Abramoff's credit card. You can see his AmEx statement here.

Late Update: TPM Reader ME writes in to confirm that the "J3" code on the ticket refers to Continental's "Business First."

Oh, videotape is not the friend of George W. Bush today.

Remember this quote, right?

"I don't think anybody anticipated the breach of the levees. They did appreciate a serious storm but these levees got breached and as a result much of New Orleans is flooded and now we're having to deal with it and will." - George W. Bush, Sept. 1, 2005

Only now the AP has unearthed videotape of the president being warned that just that could happen the day before Katrina hit.



Chris Matthews ran the tape just a few minutes ago on Hardball.

See the report on it here.

Late Update: video link here.

Even Later Update: Click here for the link to the White House photo of the August 28th briefing.

Golf and corruption brought Rep. Bob Ney (R-OH) this far; it's a winning combination and he's sticking with it.

OK, so he took a golf junket to Scotland with an admitted felon lobbyist, as part of an alleged quid pro quo with an Indian tribe that the lobbyist was screwing out of millions of dollars.

Is that going to stop him from loving golf?!

Apparently not. His campaign is handing out these customized Bob Ney tees out on the campaign trail. That's bold.

(Photo courtesy of the Buckeye State Blog.)

We called Ney's campaign for comment. His congressional spokesman, Brian Walsh, called us back and confirmed the tees were real. "I think a few were handed out last night," he said. "I saw it up on some liberal blogs and I think the fact that some bored democrats are making hay out of this is one of the silliest things I’ve ever seen."

The Hattiesburg American reports that the Feds are prosecuting Forrest County, Mississippi Sheriff Billy McGee for commandeering two FEMA ice trucks and giving their contents to locals in the midst of the Katrina disaster, when FEMA was too bolloxed up to order it themselves.

A National Guard trooper tried to stop McGee; the sheriff handcuffed him. Perhaps that was a bit of an over-reaction. But, as one fire chief told the paper, "We had diabetic people who hadn't been able to put their insulin on ice for three days."

Who would you want serving your community after its next disaster, McGee or the guardsman?

(ed note: Special thanks to TPM Reader CG for the tip.)

Great moments in corruption, courtesy of the United States Attorney's Office of the Southern District of California.

On at least six different occasions, Duke Cunningham personally contacted Defense officials to demand that his favorite defense contractors, Brent Wilkes and Mitchell Wade, got their money.

A sampling of those and other high points from the prosecutors' latest:

7/6/99 - Brent Wilkes faxes a set of "Talking Points" to Duke so that he can competently champion Wilkes' cause.

1999 - A Defense official, in the course of reviewing a number of invoices from Wilkes' company, determines that $750,000 of them are fraudulent. The official calls Wilkes and tells him the DoD is not paying. Soon after, the official receives a call from Duke, demanding to know why Wilkes' isn't getting paid. The official explains. Duke hangs up on him.

Duke calls the official's supervisor to complain.

1999 - A Defense official gets what he/she thinks to be an over-inflated invoice from Brent Wilkes' company. Wilkes tries to plead with the official, saying that "he needed the money to make a balloon payment or he would lose his company." The official is "unmoved."

Cunningham calls three separate times to demand payment to Wilkes. Wilkes then meets again with the official, has Cunningham call his cell phone, then passes the phone to the official to explain again why Wilkes isn't getting his money.

2001 - A Defense official moves $2-3M away from a $10M appropriation for Brent Wilkes' ADCS. Wilkes complains to Duke, who summons the defense official to a meeting. He berates the official; the official doesn't budge. Duke subsequently contacts the official's supervisor and demands that he/she be fired for not being a "team player."

9/27/02 - Duke Cunningham's frightened staffers email back and forth, anticipating the return of the "big chinchilla" after he's found out that his beloved defense contractor's programs have been cut. "I'm under my desk ducking and covering" says one.

Minutes later, he returns: "He stormed into his office, pissed, and said he might as well become a Democrat."

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