Tuesday, May 30, 2006

15 MINUTES OF INFAMY -- Newsweek profiles the man at the middle of the Congressional bribery probe(s):
Brent Wilkes has flown in a private Gulfstream jet, lived in a huge house (once occupied by former San Diego Chargers quarterback Stan Humphries) in a gated community, smoked expensive cigars on the best golf courses and sponsored good works and charities, like the "Tribute to Heroes Gala," which raised hundreds of thousands of dollars for a children's hospital and a military charity called the Air Warrior Courage Foundation.

What paved the road to riches and beneficence for Wilkes? Once a lowly CPA in southern California, Wilkes became a fabulously successful defense contractor. He carefully cultivated friends in high places, personally handing out some $800,000 in campaign contributions, not counting the donations of a political action committee controlled by his company. He was a Republican "Pioneer," which means he raised at least $100,000 for the GOP. And he has long been known for showering favors on congressmen and national-security officials, playing poker with them at fancy Washington hotels and flying them in a jet he partly owned.