Defense contractor Mitchell Wade entered a guilty plea Friday to bribery, corruption and election fraud charges related to more than $1 million that he paid to former Rep. Randy "Duke" Cunningham, R-Calif., who resigned last fall after pleading guilty himself to bribery and tax evasion.
In an appearance before U.S. District Court Judge Richard Urbina in Washington, D.C., Wade conceded that he had paid over $1 million to Cunningham in exchange for the congressman's help in obtaining Defense Department contracts in his capacity as a member of the Defense Appropriations Subcommittee.
According to documents filed by federal prosecutors, Wade also provided illegal benefits to Defense Department officials and violated campaign-finance laws by reimbursing employees at his company, MZM Inc., who made campaign contributions to two other members of Congress.
The members were not identified in court papers, but Reps. Virgil
H. Goode Jr., R-Va., and Katherine Harris, R-Fla., were two of the top
recipients of campaign funds from MZM employees during the 2004 and
2002 election cycles, according to campaign finance data compiled by
the Center for Responsive Politics.