I thought of that old Johnny Rivers tune:
I washed my hands in muddy water
I washed my hands, but they didn’t come clean
I tried to do like my daddy told me, now
I must have washed my hands in a muddy stream
as I was reading about a new book co-authored by an old friend of mine, Dean Calbreath. Dean is part of the Pulitzer Prize-winning team at the San Diego Union-Tribune that exposed Congressman Randy “Duke” Cunningham’s elaborate and shameless schemes to solicit bribes from military contractors bidding on classified projects.
The team has published a book about Cunningham, The Wrong Stuff: The Extraordinary Saga of Randy “Duke” Cunningham, the Most Corrupt Congressman Ever Caught, and TPM Muckracker’s Paul Kiel calls it today’s “Must Read.” Kiel quotes the following unforgettable (in a bad way) passage:
…even (lobbyist Brent) Wilkes drew a line on what he would do for the congressman. For one thing, Wilkes was totally disgusted by the hot tub Cunningham put on the boat’s deck during the autumn and winter. What repelled Wilkes — and others invited to the parties — was both the water Cunningham put in the hot tub and the congressman’s penchant for using it while naked, even if everybody else at the party was clothed. Cunningham used water siphoned directly from the polluted Potomac River and never changed it out during the season. “Wilkes thought it was unbelievably dirty and joked if you got in there it would leave a dark water line on your chest,” said one person familiar with the parties. “The water was so gross that very few people were willing to get into the hot tub other than Duke and his paramour.” That was a reference to Cunningham’s most frequently seen girlfriend, a flight attendant who lived in Maryland.One of these parties started at the Capital Grille with Cunningham ordering his usual filet mignon — very well done — with iceberg lettuce salad and White Oak. Wilkes used the dinner to update Cunningham on the appropriations he wanted. Cunningham then took the whole group back to the boat where they drank more wine, sitting on white leather sofas while Cunningham told more war stories. Cunningham then took his clothes off and invited all to join him in the polluted hot tub that was hidden from the neighbors by a white tarp. There were no takers.
Talk about a cesspool of corruption…Bleah!