June 2, 2010 (San Diego’s East County) – Ray Lutz, Democratic candidate for the 52nd Congressional District, praised the U.S. Senate's confirmation of Laura Duffy as new U.S. Attorney in San Diegio. Duffy, appointed by President Barack Obama, fills the position once held by Carol Lam, "who was surprisingly dismissed after she successfully prosecuted Randy 'Duke' Cunningham, Dusty Foggo and Brent Wilkes," noted Lutz.
Lam, along with numerous other U.S. Attorneys, was fired by the George W. Bush administration despite winning a conviction against then-Congressman Cunningham for bribery and other charges. Suggestions have long been made by critics of the Bush administration that Lam’s abrupt dismissal may have been an effort to squelch her investigation into another powerful Congressman – Duncan Hunter, then chair of the House Armed Services Committee.
“It is our hope that the U.S. Attorney's office will now go back to the trail not investigated after Lam was dismissed,” said Lutz, who urged that Duffy produce a report that clearly states that the office has reviewed those lines of investigation. “Rep. Duncan Hunter was good friends with Cunningham, and the many dirty earmarks Hunter inserted into the budget leaves one to guess that Hunter was also involved in this scandal. When Lam was inappropriately dismissed under very unusual circumstances, that effectively shut down the investigation. She only just barely was able to get the indictments filed prior to leaving the office.”
Hunter, longtime friend of Cunningham, stepped down to run for the Presidency in 2008, leaving his seat in Congress to be filled by his son, Duncan D. Hunter.
Lam’s interim replacement was directed by the Bush Justice Department to focus efforts on prosecuting border crimes--an area in which the Bush administration claimed Lam had not been sufficiently aggressive.
Cunningham resigned from the House on November 28, 2005, after pleading guilty to accepting at least $2.4 million in bribes and under reporting his income for 2004. He pleaded guilty to federal charges of conspiracy to commit bribery, mail fraud, wire fraud and tax evasion. On March 3, 2006, he received a sentence of eight years and four months in prison and an order to pay $1.8 million in restitution. Lam led the corruption prosecution of Cunningham.
Days before leaving her post on February 13, 2007, Lam indicted former CIA executive director Kyle Foggo, charged with fraud and other offenses in the Cunningham corruption investigation. The indictment also named Brent R. Wilkes and John T. Michael. Wilkes was convicted on 13 counts of bribing Cunningham. Foggo pled guilty to accepting a bribe to steer a lucrative acccount to Wilkes. Michael pled guilty to money laundering and lying to a federal grand jury.
According to the July 2007 edition of Pacific Flyer, Hunter and Cunningham had pressured the Department of Defense to advise the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) to “put an immediate halt to bureaucratic delays and get on with the DuPont Aerospace DP-2 testing." Hunter received $36,000 in donations from DuPont Aerospace.
The DP-2 is a Vertical Take-Off and Landing, or VTOL, aircraft designed by DuPont Aerospace to transport special operations forces, but has been repeatedly rejected by the United States Navy, United States Army, United States Air Force, NASA, and DARPA. The design, of which all four constructed models have crashed, has had $63 million appropriated to it since 1991, not including a suggested $6 million for fiscal year 2008, Lutz noted.
“Despite the rejections and reports by multiple military and civilian experts that the aircraft will not fly or hover and will incinerate Special Operations forces rappelling out of the aircraft, Hunter has allegedly repeatedly added funding for the DP-2 in "earmarks" and defended the aircraft in recent testimony to the Subcommittee on Investigations and Oversight of the Committee on Science and Technology.
Hunter has also drawn criticism for accepting $46,000 from co-conspirators implicated in bribing Cunningham and for accepting nearly a quarter million dollars in campaign contributions from missile defense contractors, a 2005 in RawStory.com titled “Ethics questions dog California Congressman” reported.
The San Diego Union-Tribune, in a 2005 editorial titled “Legal Looting” criticized Hunter for helping defense contractors ADCS (owned by Wilkes, who was reportedly bribing Cunningham) and AUDRE obtain $290 million in Pentagon contractors for automated data conversion projects that the Pentagon said it didn’t need.
At the time, Hunter spokesman Joe Kasper questioned the Union-Tribune’s motives, stating, “Mr. Hunter has always represented the best interest of the American war fighter as well as the American taxpayer,” and added that there was backing for the data conversion technology program as well as the AUDRE conversion software, which he said would cut costs.
The East County Californian, on December 1, 2005, reported that Hunter took $22,700 from Wilkes Corp/ADCS and $7,000 from MZM, another company linked to Wilkes, including PACs and individual donations. Hunter also had a “Salute to Heroes” gala thrown in his honor by Wilkes, just as Wilkes hosted for Cunningham. Hunter later donated money from the then-unindicted Cunningham co-conspirators to a charity for injured Marines. Kasper maintained that Hunter’s contributions were “ethical and legal.”
Hunter’s integrity was also called into question by a Qui Tam (Whistleblower) lawsuit which alleged a conspiracy to defraud the Government of funds through Department of Defense projects and contracts. The lawsuit, filed in San Diego under Lam’s jurisdiction, implicated Congressman Cunningham, Congressman Hunter, Brent Wilkes President of ADCS Inc., and several other participants in the conspiracy. Cunningham was sentenced to the Federal Penitentiary for a period of 100 months for a part of his role in the conspiracy.
The lawsuit was filed by Richard A. Carden of Rolla Missouri, who invented a process that revolutionized data migration and archiving. When the stories of the Congressional fraud began to break, Carden conference with the Department of Justice and filed his Qui Tam lawsuit, in which he described efforts to lure him and his companies into the conspiracy.
Carden has written and published several books under the Pen Name of Dick C. One of those books, The Shark Tank, by Dick C, deals specifically with many of the matters covered within the Qui Tam lawsuit. View or print the lawsuit at www.dickc.com.
If Hunter should become the target of an investigation or conviction, it could tarnish his same-named son—and Lutz readily admits that his campaign could benefit. But Lutz, who also founded the watchdog group CitizensOversight.org, concludes, ““This investigation must be reopened and Hunter indicted and thrown into jail with his friend Cunningham if he was also involved. Justice must be served. No one should be above the law.”