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Commentary :: Politics
An Open Letter to Randy “Duke” Cunningham
07 Dec 2005
The corrupt ex-Rep. Randy “Duke” Cunningham, an eight-term member of the Congress, will be sentenced on 02/27/06, for taking $2.4 million in bribes. An ultra hawk, he pushed for the Iraqi War which has cost untold misery for the Iraqi people and death and pain to the lives of so many American families. Cunningham said he wants to “atone” for his wrong doings. If so, let him come clean at his hearing about all of the pervasive corruption on Capitol Hill.
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U.S. District Court House.jpg
Dear Ex-Rep. Cunningham:

On Nov. 28, 2005, you copped a plea before a federal judge, the Hon. Larry Burns, in San Diego, CA, to assorted criminal bribery, mail and wire fraud, tax evasion and conspiracy charges. (1) You confessed to taking $2.4 million in bribes in order to steer lucrative defense contracts to your fellow, at this point unnamed, coconspirators. You are, in a word, a “bought” congressman, who served eight-terms in the House of Representatives. Your price was, indeed, high--very high. Maybe hawkish GOP congressmen cost more? Who knows, Duke? The prosecutor in your case, Carol C. Lam, said that you “enriched” yourself through your powerful elected position in the U.S. Congress by selling out your “official duties” to various unidentified bribers for cash, and for other goodies, and had thereby violated “the public trust.” (2)

After your court appearance, you held a press conference and announced that you were resigning from Congress. You cried, almost on cue, when discussing your wrong doings. I think, when you were sobbing, Duke, you were simply acting for the TV cameras. I suspect that you are only “sorry” because you got caught red-handed and are now facing forfeiture of your ill-gotten gains and a possible ten year term in a federal slammer. It’s too bad that you won’t also be losing your cushy congressional pension of $36,000 a year and also all of those health care benefits. I think that even though you said you want “to atone” for your crimes, that you may be beyond redemption. (3) Actions speak louder than words. Hey Duke, prove me wrong!

If I were the judge in your case, (and now it is too late for this kind of scenario), I would have rejected your plea bargain deal. I would have insisted on the toughest penalties permitted by law. You can understand that approach, can’t you, Duke? You’re one of those “throw-the-key away” law-and-order conservatives? Weren’t you a hard-assed guy in the Congress, like your crony, Rep. Tom DeLay (R-TX), who insisted on acting tough on first time drug offenders? That was, of course, until your own son got busted on drug charges. (4) I’m afraid that without more prison time hanging over your head, that your supposed “atonement” process may be just another con job. What about it, Duke?

In any event, Duke, you need for your own soul’s sake to come clean with the court and with the people. Not only about the sleazy particulars of your own sordid case, but with respect to all the criminality that you personally know about, that is presently going on with this God-awful Congress which has given the store away to the fat cats. You need to tell both the judge and the people, at your sentencing hearing, how and why the system has broken down and how it has been corrupted by these bribers - these cunning Wire Pullers - these influential special interests.

Who else, Duke, is now corrupting the Congress? Why is it we don’t have a health care system in this country? Why is there no federal limit on the exorbitant interest rates the credit card industry can charge a debtor? Who put the fix in for the tax cuts for the rich while cutting programs for the poor? Who is behind the out sourcing our manufacturing jobs and deindustrializing America? Why did you pass a so-called “Energy Bill” that gave a $4 billion tax break to “Big Oil?” Who was responsible for pushing the USA Patriot Act through the Congress during the early morning hours of a session without a public hearing? Who has been manipulating the Pentagon so that certain favored defense companies have made billions of dollars in profits on no-bid contracts in Iraq? How could you, in good conscience, enact a wrongly labeled “Clean Air” law that allowed strip coal mining companies to pollute the environment? Why are we giving billions of dollars of foreign aid away, yearly, to Israel, while some of our school children have to attend classes in WWII-era styled barracks? (5) Come clean, Duke! Answer fully all of the above questions.

Tell us, too, Duke: How many more corrupted members are out there like you in the Senate and House? What do you personally know about this slippery lobbyist, Jack Abramoff? According to the Baltimore Sun, Abramoff, his associates and clients have contributed money “to perhaps a third of Washington’s 535 members of Congress in the past four years.” Now, there is a shocking number. (6) There is also another unsavory individual, Michael Scanlon, who has close ties to Abramoff. He has admitted to defrauding Indian tribes out of $45 million. (7) What, Duke, do you know about Abramoff and his cronies, like Scanlon, and their reported cozy relationship with 1/3 of the members of the Congress?

More importantly, Duke, who are the Wire Pullers that got the country into this unjust, illegal and immoral Iraqi War? Why did you permit them to get away with it? You were the czar of the House Intelligence Subcommittee on Terrorism and Human Intelligence. What do you know about members of the Bush-Cheney Gang supposedly “fixing” the facts and intelligence around the policy? (8) What about Irv “Scooter” Libby, Dick Cheney’s hatchet man, and the Valerie Plamegate/CIA Affair? (9) What information did you have about that scandal before it broke and also about the forged Niger uranium documents - the “smoking gun” canard of the Bush-Cheney Gang? What compelled you, and others, to vote to give away your Constitutional war making power to a seriously delusional president--a move that has caused the deaths of over 100,000 Iraqis, 2,131 U.S. military personnel and has cost the American taxpayers $224.8 billion, and rising? Explain yourself!

Duke, do you truly want “to atone?” Do you sincerely want to make amends for your back stabbing crimes? Then, begin atoning at your sentencing hearing. Let that day, Feb. 27, 2006, be the first day of your “new” life. You swore an oath to uphold the U.S. Constitution and to faithfully serve the Republic. You have miserably failed your constituents. Your kind of treachery is most foul - most black - most dangerous for the well being of our nation. What you have done is an absolute and unforgivable disgrace!

Nevertheless, you were once a “Top Gunner,” in Vietnam-a flying ace. We know you have the “guts” to turn your life around, if you genuinely intend to do so. Your sentencing hearing is an opportunity for you to begin to redeem yourself in a deeper spiritual sense and also to perform a very valuable service to the people. Come clean about all the pervasive dirt, sleaze, filth and garbage that has personally infected you, and, possibly other members of the U.S. Congress as well. You have promised in your Plea Agreement “to cooperate” with the Feds in the investigation and prosecution of other culpable parties in this matter. (1) Tell us, Duke: The names of the other crooks in the Congress who are on the take! And, is the corruption on Capitol Hill endemic?

© William Hughes 2005.

William Hughes is the author of “Saying ‘No’ to the War Party” (IUniverse, Inc.). He can be reached at liamhughes (at)


6. “A Wide Net Cast in Lobby Inquiry,” by Robert Little, Dec. 4, 2005, the Baltimore Sun.

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Re: An Open Letter to Randy “Duke” Cunningham
08 Dec 2005
Ok, Randy Duke has to be punished for what he did. He was in public service and fell to temptation, which in public service, is definitely a cardinal sin ( use this term if you an iggling of religious beliefs regardless of who your God is) worthy of a harsh punishment, but he did show tremendous courage as a fighter pilot in a very unpopular war; he did what he had to do and did it well. He was an honorable and brave warrior (maybe for an "unhonorable" government at the time) and was an ace, doing something that most people would have shit there pants doing. He didn't go to Canada or ALMOST become a Rhodes Scholar ( Bill Clinton, never completed the program), or fly fighters to keep the North Vietnamese out of Texas, he did an honorable thing 30+ plus years ago. What he did recently was inexcuseable, but if we are going to scream for clemency for "Tookie", let's remember everything that "Duke" did.... I challenge anyone who comes on Indymedia to say that they could have got every morning and faced death at 30,000 on daily basis. Let's be real people. Oh yeah, I'll be at he State House tomorrow for tookie, I don't think he should ever get out of prison, but the way the daeth penalty is administered, I'm against it in principal.