Friday, March 3, 2006
Former Representative Randy "Duke" Cunningham, a Viet-Nam fighter ace and five-term Congressman before his 2005 resignation, received a sentence of eight years and four months after pleading guilty to corruption and tax evasion charges. The sentence, the longest ever given a former member of Congress for conduct related to office, fell between the ten-year maximum prosecutors sought and the six years recommended by defense counsel. As part of the plea agreement, Cunningham's sentence was capped at ten years, and if he were to cooperate in the pending prosecution of three others who paid him the approximately $2.4 million in bribes he received, he could be eligible for a sentence reduction under Federal Rule of Criminal Procedure 35. An auction of the items acquired with the bribes, and gifts given to secure government contracts, will be auctioned in the near future, and Cunningham has also been ordered to pay $1.8 million in back taxes and penalties. This is quite a fall from grace, but the misuse of authority for naked personal gain at the cost of awarding contracts that were unneeded by the military is among the most brazen seen in recent history. An AP story (here) discusses the sentencing. (ph)
Eight years four months for Cunningham for $2.4 million in bribes. Not a case of no intent, not a case of not understanding the law, and not a case of walking a fine line in the corporate world.
The sentencing guidelines were established to achieve uniformity. Is this sentence uniform with those of Bernie Ebbers (25 years), John Rigas (15 years), Timothy Rigas (20 years). And based on this sentence, what should Jamie Olis now receive as his sentence?