By: E&P Staff
The Wall St. Journal’s Thursday scoop on a possible new “prostitute” angle in the scandal involving disgraced Rep. Randy “Duke” Cunningham has reporters at several other papers looking into how many other congressmen might have been involved, and who they are.
The Journal reported that the FBI is ?investigating whether two contractors implicated in the bribery” of Cunningham “supplied him with prostitutes and free use of a limousine and hotel suites.? It revealed: “In recent weeks, Federal Bureau of Investigation agents have fanned out across Washington, interviewing women from escort services, potential witnesses and others who may have been involved in the arrangement.”
The wider picture, involving possibly other congressmen involved with prostitutes, emerged Thursday in an appearance by Dean Calbreath of The San Diego Union-Tribune on MSNBC’s Joe Scarborough show, in which he suggested that as many as six lawmakers could eventually be named. The Union-Tribune earlier this month won a Pulitzer for its coverage of the Cunningham case.
Then Calbreath reported in Friday’s paper: “Federal prosecutors are reviewing records of two Washington, D.C., hotels where Poway defense contractor Brent Wilkes rented suites as part of their investigation into whether prostitutes were involved as he tried to curry favor with lawmakers and CIA officials.” Two sources said “they were present on several occasions when Shirlington Limousine & Transportation Service of northern Virginia brought prostitutes to the suite. They say they did not see lawmakers in the suites on those occasions, though both had heard rumors of congressmen bringing women to the rooms.”
Here is part of the Scarborough transcript, as posted at ThinkProgress.org.
SCARBOROUGH: You have obviously and your papers been all over this Cunningham scandal from the very beginning ? What are your sources telling you about this latest information that the Wall Street Journal reported on today about possible trading of prostitutes for votes?
CALBREATH: We and a number of other papers have been on this for about six months or so. We have all been looking for the break in this and the Wall Street Journal found it, which is the confirmation that the feds were actually looking at this. For the past six months there we have been hearing a lot of rumors that not only Congressman Cunningham but as many as a half dozen other congressmen may have been involved in this. And we?ve also been hearing about the limousine service that Brent Wilkes used to bring prostitutes to the Watergate hotel and the Grand Westin in Washington.
SCARBOROUGH: Your sources are telling you that he used these limousines to bring prostitutes to the hotel. Also, apparently, he is cooperating with investigators. Is there a possibility that this black book with information may be turned over to the FBI and other high ranking Republican congressmen could be in big trouble?
CALBREATH: Well now, Mitchell Wade is cooperating with the investigators, but the guy who supposedly has the black book, Brent Wilkes he is hanging tough. He is so far not cooperating. I think that he is going to hang tough until he is indicted. So, I think it will be a while before other names come out.
Like I say, the rumor mill is alive with names. The rumor mill is alive with at least half dozen names. Congressman Cunningham in today?s story in the Wall Street Journal that is really the first solid confirmation we have gotten of an eyewitness report.