I have some personal knowledge of Congressmen like Charlie Wilson (D-2nd District, Texas, 1973-1996) because, for close to twenty years, my representative in the 50th Congressional District of California was Republican Randy “Duke” Cunningham, now serving an eight-and-a-half year prison sentence for soliciting and receiving bribes from defense contractors. Wilson and Cunningham held exactly the same plummy committee assignments in the House of Representatives — the Defense Appropriations Subcommittee plus the Intelligence Oversight Committee — from which they could dole out large sums of public money with little or no input from their colleagues or constituents.
Both men flagrantly abused their positions — but with radically different consequences. Cunningham went to jail because he was too stupid to know how to game the system — retire and become a lobbyist — whereas Wilson received the Central Intelligence Agency Clandestine Service’s first “honored colleague” award ever given to an outsider and went on to become a $360,000 per annum lobbyist for Pakistan. [complete article]