February 18, 2006
What's the Point of Unparalleled Corruption?
This list of Duke Cunningham's offenses (and it's far from complete) just boggles my mind. It appears that Duke kept on seeing things he wanted, and asking defense contractor buddies to buy them for him. A Chevy Suburban. A used Rolls-Royce. A boat. And then there's the scheme to have millions funneled to him through above- and below-market real estate transactions. He even had a menu for how much you'd have to pay him to get a certain amount in contracts. (Buying the boat got you $16 million in contracts.) But it's the little things that really strike me. I picked a random page and found Cunningham getting a guy to buy something called a Laser Shot Shooting Simulator for his office. It cost a few thousand dollars.
Corruption on this level is sort of beyond me. It can't just be that he wanted to score the most points in the money game -- lots of the things he got don't have that much resale value. Did Cunningham really want all this stuff for its own sake? Did he get off on being powerful enough to make people buy these things for him? Did he have some kind of Bond-villian plan to assemble all this stuff into a gigantic robot and use it to take over the world?
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Tracked on Mar 19, 2006 12:22:04 AM
I think he was just a hooker whose menu was more creative than most.
Posted by: Pepper | Feb 18, 2006 5:15:18 PM
This is something I really don't understand at all.
If Cunningham were taking huge bribes so that he could have a very nice small business when he left Congress, that would be one thing. But a few items that might be in Shaq's basement the next time he's on MTV Cribs just doesn't seem worth it. $200K/year isn't a ton of money, but with all your travel paid for, what could you possibly need that your salary wouldn't provide?
Someone once said, the surprising thing isn't that politicians are corrupt. The surprising thing is that they're willing to sell out for so little money.
Posted by: Nicholas Beaudrot | Feb 18, 2006 7:17:51 PM
maybe it was also a soul sickness. you know,
after he lost his cherry, he had that angst-ridden
agita of a damned soul,and then he decided to love his
damnation, and then his only pleasure was wallowing
in it and dragging others into it.
kind of like a junkie.
Posted by: daveminnj | Feb 19, 2006 7:29:36 AM
Nicholas has it exactly. For myself, while I'd like to think I'm terribly moral, I think what would truly hold me back is the sheer insult not of being asked to whore myself, but to whore myself so cheap!
OTOH, I'm sure this is how he rationalized it to himself, "it's not like I'm selling myself. I was gonna vote that way anyway, and I'm not changing it for the Chevy. I am just getting the Chevy for something I was gonna do anyway. It's not like they could buy me with a Chevy. Hell, I'm pretty much using them!"
I think that's why they whore cheap. So they can pretend it's not whoring.
Posted by: theorajones | Feb 20, 2006 10:38:56 PM
Posted by: judy | Oct 1, 2007 4:50:26 AM
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