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 Can of worms
Author: R. Middlemas 
Date:   2006-03-03 08:02:06

Looks like this thing is just starting. Good deal:

Today's Duke Cunningham Sentencing Day!

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

Perhaps the most spectacular boondoggle achieved by Cunningham went through CIFA (Counterintellig ence Field Activity), a Defense intelligence agency established in September 2002. CIFA exists to "coordinate policy and oversee the counterintellige nce activities of units within the military services and Pentagon agencies." But here's the good part: 70% of its budget is contracted out.

Right after CIFA was established, Cunningham helped his friend Mitchell Wade's company MZM land a $6.3 million contract with CIFA through an earmark. The earmark set aside the money for CIFA, and Cunningham made sure that MZM got the contract. How he made sure of that is not clear.

Here's what your taxpayer dollars bought:

The resultant program saw more than $6 million spent for a mass data storage system supposedly for CIFA that, according to the prosecutorial document, included almost $5.4 million in profit for MZM and a subcontractor. "Adding insult to injury," the prosecutors wrote, "the final system sold to the government was never installed (as it was incompatible with CIFA's network system) and remains in storage in Arlington, Va."

And then Cunningham tried to follow through with another contract through CIFA, $16.15 million for a "collaboration center." It's unclear how far that went.

Did I mention that a consultant to the Director of CIFA on developing the project left to work for MZM in 2001? That consultant, retired Lt. Gen. James C. King, became president of MZM after Wade was forced to step down.

CIFA has spent more than $1 billion since its inception, most of it on contracts. Prosecutors are looking into the agency's contracting, and the Defense Department is conducting its own internal review.


 Re: Can of worms
Author: Paul 
Date:   2006-03-03 08:27:40

As we have all agreed, the "slam-dunk” of the Duke-Stir is merely the tip of the iceberg.

 Re: Can of worms
Author: Paul 
Date:   2006-03-03 08:45:05

For all of these guys . . . Congressmen and Lobbyists . . . to parapharase Lou Mannheim: "Man looks in the abyss, there's nothing staring back at him. At that moment, man finds his character. And that is what keeps him out of the abyss."

Unfortunately, these guys averted their gaze.

 Re: Can of worms
Author: Paul 
Date:   2006-03-03 11:09:05

Dan posted Cunningham's no-frills Prison Act at the end of January. It bears reposting. I am certainly sure that the former congressman is happy that it did not go through . . . .

The "No Frills Prison Act" was introduced in the 104th Congress as H. R. 663 on Jan. 24, 1995. The next day Cunningham became an early co-sponsor. The bill didn't pass, but is quite entertaining to read. In the spirit of "practicing what you preach", I think the Duke should pledge to voluntarily follow the provisions of the law he proposed. What do you think?

Text (from http://thomas.loc.gov/):

H. R. 663
IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES 104th CONGRESS 1st Session January 24, 1995

To amend the Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act of 1994 to prevent luxurious conditions in prisons.
Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled,

This Act may be cited as the `No Frills Prison Act' .

(a) STATES- Section 20102(a) of the Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act of 1994 is amended—
. . .
(6) by adding at the end the following:
`(2) provides living conditions and opportunities to prisoners within its prisons that are not more luxurious than those conditions and opportunities the average prisoner would have experienced if such prisoner were not incarcerated, and does not provide to any such prisoner—
`(A)(i) earned good time credits;
`(ii) less than 40 hours a week of work that either offsets or reduces the expenses of keeping the prisoner or provides resources toward restitution of victims;
`(iii) unmonitored phone calls, except when between the prisoner and the prisoner's immediate family or legal counsel;
`(iv) in-cell television viewing;
`(v) the viewing of R, X, or NC-17 rated movies, through whatever medium presented;
`(vi) possession of any pornographic materials;
`(vii) any instruction (live or through broadcasts) or training equipment for boxing, wrestling, judo, karate, or other martial art, or any bodybuilding or weightlifting equipment of any sort;
`(viii) except for use during required work, the use or possession of any electric or electronic musical instrument, or practice on any musical instrument for more than one hour a day;
`(ix) use of personally owned computers or modems;
`(x) possession of in-cell coffee pots, hot plates, or heating elements;
`(xi) any living or work quarters into which the outside view is obstructed;
`(xii) food exceeding in quality or quantity that which is available to enlisted personnel in the United States Army;
`(xiii) dress or hygiene, grooming and appearance other than those allowed as uniform or standard in the prison ; or
`(xiv) equipment or facilities at public expense for publishing or broadcasting content not previously approved by prison officials as consistent with prison order and prisoner discipline;
. . .

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