The Real Reason Dennis Hastert Is Retiring Early

This post, written by Howie Klein, originally appeared on Down With Tyranny!

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Prostitutes, a disloyal nephew, subpoenas refused by bribe-taking members of Congress... Brent Wilkes' trial is a peek inside the way the Republicans ran the United States government for the first 6 years of the Bush Regime. And the mundane details are sickening in as much as they point to untold millions-- perhaps more-- being distributed among GOP fat-cats in return for... a chance to win at poker and a little nooky. In the end Cunningham helped Wilkes get nearly $100 million worth of government contracts for around $700,000 in bribes. What a deal!
Joel Combs, a nephew of Wilkes who worked closely with him at Wilkes' ADCS company in Poway, testified Wednesday morning about another benefit Wilkes gave: He let Cunningham win at poker.
In a morning of testimony that was damaging to Wilkes, Combs revealed that at an expensive trip in Hawaii, Wilkes set up poker games for Cunningham and other people, including Combs. Wilkes gave Combs cash with some instructions.
"He gave me money to lose to Duke," Combs said.
It was not the first time that happened, Combs said. He said Wilkes would often instruct ADCS employees who played cards with Cunningham to intentionally lose.
...He testified that Wilkes developed a close relationship with Cunningham over the next seven years, and that led to ADCS getting millions in contracts via Cunningham's influence and ability to earmark government funds for certain programs in the defense budget. He would also pressure Pentagon officials to award contracts from those programs to ADCS.
Wilkes often said he could rely on Cunningham. "He explained that Cunningham was basically willing to do anything," Combs said.
When there were problems with government officials about the work, Combs said Wilkes would often respond that he would "get ahold of Duke" to resolve them. He said Cunningham was "our problem-solver."
Although Wilkes' attorney tried to get the judge to rule that none of the prostitutes who were supplied to Cunningham and other Republican officials would be permitted, he was overruled and yesterday Donna Rosetta and Tammy McFadden told their tawdry stories.
Donna Rosetta said she was chauffeured to a private villa at the Hapuna Beach Prince Hotel in Kamelua, Hawaii, in August 2003 by an escort service she worked for. Cunningham and Wilkes invited her and a second woman to undress and slide into a hot tub before Cunningham invited her upstairs, Rosetta said.
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