George Condon, Jr., discussed the Randy "Duke" Cunningham case and Washington corruption. Part of the team of four who won the Pulitzer Prize for exposing Congressman Cunningham's acceptance of bribes in exchange for favors to defense contractors, Condon explained to Club members during an October 24 lunch at the National Press Club how Cunningham became embroiled in corruption. According to Condon, no Congressman in the nation's history has taken so much ($2.4 million) in bribery, not even excluding the horrendous Credit Mobilier scandal of the 1870s and figuring in inflation. The Cunningham misdeeds reached even into the CIA -- Dustin Foggo, the recently resigned executive director, is under indictment stemming from the Cunningham-related crimes.
Condon lay some of the blame of the scandal on the growth of earmarks, short entries into legislation that are generally not scrutinized or even read by Congressional committees, that favor companies or projects. Secrecy owing to defense- or war-related spending further obscures the earmarks and keeps them from public examination. Earmarks have grown from 10 when Ronald Reagan was first elected to more than 6,000 in 2006. Billions of dollars are at stake, and the potential for bribery is prevalent, Condon said.
Condon’s book on the scandal is called The Wrong Stuff: The Extraordinary Tale of Randy “Duke” Cunningham, the Most Corrupt Congressman Ever Caught (Public Affairs, 2007).