Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Smoke & Mirrors & Web Sites

By now, you’ve probably heard the sobbing mea culpas of a former Viet Nam Hero turned
Shill as Randy “Duke” Cunningham admitted to taking 2.4 million in bribes from military contractors. You’ve probably heard about all the antiques, rugs, houses and boats given to him. You probably even heard about the massive amounts of cash he just deposited right into his bank accounts.

What you may not have heard about is all the phony companies set up by one guy, Brent Wilkes, to appear to be legit military contractors who all got government contracts thanks to “Duke”, who all shared the same address and who all donated money to various Republicans including Cunningham. And, they shared something else. They all had bogus websites.

The blog Cannonfire does a masterful job researching it:

The invisible empire. I still have yet to discover any evidence that the other "defense-related" enterprises operating under the Wilkes umbrella were genuine businesses.

"Group W Media," the advertising agency with no discernable clients, was a front for something -- I don't yet know what. "Group W Transportation" amounted to a time-share arrangement involving a Lear jet. "Al Dust Properties" and "Group W Holdings" supposedly owned properties -- but I can't trace any holdings beyond the impressive building which the Wilkes Corporation called home. (It's now up for auction, by the way.) MailSafe Inc. supposedly offers "mail decontamination, digital capture, and electronic distribution to government and commercial entities." But the web site has disappeared, and the company seems to have left zero imprint on corporate America. Where is the evidence that it actually provided any services to clients?

"PerfectWave Technologies" has (or had) what seems, at first, to be an impressive web page advertising speech recognition devices for the military. (That page is really little more than a ghost, since the official Wilkes Corp. site no longer points to it.) Look closer: The site does not specify any PerfectWave products. Neither do we encounter any named personnel or development teams. No order information. If this company makes battlefield-ready high-tech equipment, why doesn't the the web site mention any departments, managers or employees? All we get is a single phone number and a fax number. Now conduct a Google search: Aside from channeling funds to politicians, PerfectWave hasn't done anything to warrant a mention.

Just for contrast, I checked out Boeing’s website. When you do that, it’s easy to see who’s legit and who’s just a sham.
What's more, I build web sites for a living. When you just do a front page as in Group W Media and some of the other sites listed here, you realize "there is no there, there."

"Pure Aqua Technologies" another Wilkes operation, seems to be pure snake oil. No address, no telephone number, no nothing -- except this stupid web page, which is a joke. Nevertheless, "Aqua" managed to pass some green around Washington.

Ghost locations. Supposedly, Wilkes has an office building in Honolulu, which is the home of yet another subsidiary: AkamaiInfoTech. They once had a nifty web page, which has disappeared. But what actually goes on there?

If you read the document from that last link, you'll see is involved.
What's great is they didn't do such a great job hiding all the affiliations. This should be a relatively easy case to prosecute. If Cannonblog can turn up this stuff just by using Google, this should be a cakewalk for our Justice Department.

The following is a list of all the companies URLs. Check them out.

We should really be angry this happened. That phony companies bribed a congressman to get our tax payer dollars. Some of which was supposed to be used in Iraq. That they then turned around and used that money donate money to more Republicans.

So which candidates got chunks of that taxpayer money earmarked for "defense"?

Henry Bonilla, Roy Brown, Rick Clayburgh, Duke Cunningham (of course!), John T. Doolittle, Maria Guadalupe Garcia, George W. Gekas, Lindsay Graham, Duncan Hunter, Darrell Issa, Samuel Johnson, Thaddeus G. McCotter, Constance Morella, Devin Nune, Steve Pearce, Bill Van de Weghe Jr., Jerry Weller.

All Republicans, of course. As the scandal unfolds, the pundits will try to convince us that "both sides do it." That simply is not true.

The donations amounted only to $5000 or so. But ADCS Pac was hardly the only mechanism by which Wilkes could distribute the Christmas candy. Remember, Perfect Wave Technologies, Pure Aqua Technologies, Group W. Advisors and other "subsidiaries" were also used as funding mechanisms.

By keeping the donations small, and by maintaining the illusion that the donors are numerous, the conspirators could line many a pocket with relative safety. Clever, eh?

Other recipients of Wilkes' largesse: President Bush, Katherine Harris, Tom Delay, Virgil Goode Jr. and Elizabeth Dole -- whose husband, as you may recall from yesterday's post, lent his name to Reverend Moon's "stamp out the cross" crusade. Talk about being on the Dole!

I thought DeLay was Bad. I thought Abramoff was shocking. But this, this is about as disgusting as it can get. Is this business as usual in our Republican


Blogger Balloon Pirate said...

Incredible. Moreso because it's so believable. I've forwarded the link to a couple of news organizations, and will write my Congressperson asking for an investigation.


8:10 PM, December 07, 2005  
Blogger boni said...

Just when you think it can't get any snarkier, some idiot-savant like Wilkes pops up and shows us how a real professional can play the system. And he's only one of the people who bribed Cunningham. The other guy was
was Mitchell Wade of MZM. He's the guy that bought Cunningham's house for way more than it was worth.
Now a lot of politicians are making a big deal about how they're giving money back that they got from Cunningham.
I hope they all get prosecuted and sent up the river.

9:04 PM, December 07, 2005  
Blogger Daniel Hoffmann-Gill said...

Not connected but you should read this speech by Harold Pinter:,6109,1661516,00.html

3:51 AM, December 08, 2005  

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