Yesterday, the Wall Street Journal reported that the FBI is “investigating whether two contractors implicated in the bribery of former Rep. Randall ‘Duke’ Cunningham supplied him with prostitutes and free use of a limousine and hotel suites.” The Journal also said the investigators are exploring “whether any other members of Congress” are involved.
Last night on MSNBC’s Scarborough Country, Dean Calbreath of the San Diego Union Tribune – which recently won a Pulitzer Prize for its coverage of the Cunningham case – said that “as many as a half a dozen” members of Congress could ultimately be implicated in the prostitution scandal. Watch it:
UPDATE: More on the scandal at DailyKos.
UPDATE II: Even more at TPMMuckraker.
SCARBOROUGH: Dean Calbreath, he’s from the San Diego Union Tribune. The Tribune was just awarded a Pulitzer Prize for its investigation into the Cunningham Scandal. Also let me bring in Melanie Sloan from the government watchdog group Citizens For Responsibility and Ethics in Washington. Dean, let me go to you first. You have obviously and your papers been all over this Cunningham scandal from the very beginning — What are your sources telling you about this latest information that the Wall Street Journal reported on today about possible trading of prostitutes for votes?
CALBREATH: We and a number of other papers have been on this for about six months or so. We have all been looking for the break in this and the Wall Street Journal found it, which is the confirmation that the feds were actually looking at this. For the past six months there we have been hearing a lot of rumors that not only the Congressman Cunningham but as many as a half dozen other Congressmen may have been involved in this. And we’ve also been hearing about the limousine service that Brent Wilkes used to bring prostitutes to the Watergate hotel and the Grand Westin in Washington.
SCARBOROUGH: Your sources are telling you that he used these limousines to bring prostitutes to the hotel. Also, apparently, he is cooperating with investigators. Is there a possibility that this black book with information may be turned over to the FBI and other high ranking Republican congressmen could be in big trouble?
CALBREATH: Well now, Mitchell Wade is cooperating with the investigators, but the guy who supposedly has the black book, Brent Wilkes he is hanging tough. He is so far not cooperating. I think that he is going to hang tough until he is indicted. So, I think it will be a while before other names come out. Like I say, the rumor mill is alive with names. The rumor mill is alive with at least half dozen names. Congressman Cunningham in today’s story in the Wall Street Journal that is really the first solid confirmation we have gotten of an eyewitness report.