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'Top Gun' Ace Grounded

Ethically challenged Congressman Randy "Duke" Cunningham (R-CA) announced today that he will not run for another term as representative from California's 50th U.S. House district.

On June 30, 2005, Fox News reported:

Cunningham, who sits on the House Defense Appropriations subcommittee, sold his house to defense contractor Mitchell Wade for $1.7 million. That turned out to be roughly $700,000 more than the house was worth. Wade's company, MZM, Inc., has since been the recipient of $104 million in classified, Pentagon no-compete contracts.

Wade also owns a 42-foot yacht that until recently Cunningham called home when in Washington. But the questions don't end there.

After the story broke, Cunningham, a former U.S. Navy fighter ace during the Vietnam War, issued a three page press release which said in part:

I recognize, however, that I showed poor judgment in selling my home in Del Mar to a friend who does business with the government. At the time of the sale, I failed to adequately consider how this transaction might be perceived by others who don't know me.

You can read Rep Cunningham's complete press release here if you are so inclined.

Then on July 1, 2005, ScienceDaily reported:

Federal agents searched the San Diego-area home of Rep. Randy "Duke" Cunningham, R-Calif., and the Washington, D.C., offices of a defense contractor Friday.

A task force made up of agents from the FBI, the Internal Revenue Service, the Defense Criminal Investigation Service and the U.S. Attorney's offices in San Diego and Washington also searched the boat Cunningham has lived on for much of the past year at Washington's Capitol Yacht Club.

Cunningham could see the writing on the wall and today the eight-term Congressman, during a hastily arranged news conference, called it quits. The Associated Press, in a story found at Fox News, quoted the Congressman:

"The time has come for me to conclude the public chapter in my life," the eight-term San Diego-area Republican said, reading from a brief written statement. "Quite simply, right now I may not be the strongest candidate."

Posted by Rick | July 14, 2005 09:33 PM

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