December 9, 2005
WASHINGTON (AP) - Two defense contractors at the center of ex-Rep. Randy “Duke” Cunningham’s bribery case also spent hundreds of thousands of dollars to curry favor with other influential lawmakers, records show.
One contractor, Brent Wilkes, provided private jet flights to lawmakers, including Reps. Tom DeLay, R-Texas, and Roy Blunt, R-Mo., who is serving as majority leader while DeLay fights money-laundering charges in Texas.
Wilkes also raised at least $100,000 for President Bush’s 2004 re-election bid and donated more than $70,000 to California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, who appointed him to two state boards.
… Wilkes and defense contractor Mitchell Wade, along with their families and companies, donated generously to dozens of political campaigns - mostly Republican - beginning in the 1990s.
Most of the lawmakers who received cash from Wilkes and Wade are donating it to charity. But not DeLay. He’s hanging on to his $70,000—despite this little wrinkle:
Wilkes’ donations to DeLay included $15,000 from one of his companies to Texans for a Republican Majority, the state committee whose spending is at issue in DeLay’s criminal case. Wilkes’ company also hired Alexander Strategies, a consulting firm that employed DeLay’s wife, Christine.
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