Saturday, March 04, 2006

Katherine Harris Caught Up in Bribery Scandal

U.S. republican Rep. Katherine Harris said Thursday she did not knowingly do anything wrong in her associations with a defense contractor who prosecutors say illegally funneled thousands of dollars to her campaign in 2004.

You remember Katherine Harris, don't you? She's the former Florida secretary of state (and chairperson of the Florida RNC -- no conflict there!) who helped fix the 2000 presidential election recount in favor of George Bush.

The donations were described in a plea agreement last Friday, when Mitchell Wade, the former president of MZM Inc., pleaded guilty to bribing U.S. Rep. Randy "Duke" Cunningham in exchange for assistance in getting $150 million in Defense Department contracts for his company.

He also admitted making illegal campaign contributions in the names of MZM employees and their spouses to Harris and Rep. Virgil Goode, R-Va. Prosecutors said Harris got $32,000 from employees who were reimbursed by Wade. Harris said she recently donated the money to charity, and didn't know the donations would be reimbursed. Recently donated? Nice.

Wade has been cooperating with federal prosecutors in Washington and San Diego since last summer and is required to continue to do so as part of his plea agreement with the government. He faces up to 20 years in prison. Prosecutors said they are continuing to investigate and won't say if Harris is a subject.

"I think these revelations should matter to voters because I think ethics should count for something in a public servant," said Dan McLaughlin, spokesman for U.S. Senator Bill Nelson, D-Florida.

Randy Cunningham in prison and Katherine Harris headed that way -- it's good to be alive.

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