Cunningham Felon’s Intelligence Contracts with the White House Virtually Unprecedented

As we reported on March 7th, crooked defense contractor Mitchell Wade’s MZM, Inc. got three contracts from the White House for “intelligence services” in 2004. That seemed odd to us, since this was with the Executive Office of the President, i.e. the White House complex, whose budget requirements generally reflect the logistical needs of a large office. What “intelligence services” did they want that couldn’t be fulfilled by the various intelligence and security agencies designed to provide them?

One question in particular stood out: how common is this? Just how many contracts has the White House given out for “intelligence services?”

The answer? Four. And three were to Mitchell Wade’s MZM.

Our search of the Federal Procurement Data System, going back to the beginning of the Bush administration, returns only one other contractor who got a contract for “Intelligence Services” from the White House.

That one went to Pushkin Operational Consultants, Inc. (POC), a small contractor based in Pembroke Pines, Florida owned by Matthew Pushkin. POC’s contract for $247,060 was signed August 13th, 2004 and lasted through May 31st of 2005. The only other indication of the nature of the contract is that POC classifies its industry as “Administrative Management and General Management Consulting Services.”

Several factors suggest that POC may have been working with MZM on the same project. Wade’s contracts with the White House, for instance, worth a total of $254,437, started about the same time as Pushkin’s – all in the Summer of ’04. And one of Wade’s 3 contracts also ended the same day as Pushkin’s – May 31st, 2005.

Making their collaboration more likely, POC’s business, like MZM’s, was information systems. The Federal Procurement Data System shows that POC’s other work (3 contracts worth $687,140.13) was for the Federal Technology Service, a government agency that provides IT and telecommunications services to various federal agencies.

He did not return our calls seeking comment.

So what does this tell us?

MZM’s intelligence work for the White House, which began in the summer of 2004 and ended on July 22nd, 2005, just after Wade’s involvement in the Cunningham scandal broke, was close to unprecedented. The Bush White has a history of ‘stovepiping’ intelligence and generally going outside proper channels in the field of intelligence. Given Wade’s status as a convicted felon, his unique role as an intelligence contractor directly to the White House certainly raises questions.

As we’ve been telling you, Wade’s company, MZM, was involved in some pretty shady stuff. Just what was this contract for? Was it related to the Iranian Democratization Foundation Wade established shortly before he received the contract? And how did MZM, whose owner is known to have bribed at least one congressman to obtain contracts, land this contract?