Quid Pro Quo
"Instead of government of the people, by the people, for the people, too often it seems we have government of the lobbyist, by the earmarks, for the campaign cash. That's not what Mr. Lincoln and our founding fathers had in mind; it's a real cheapening and a real subversion it seems to me, of what we hold up as our ideal."
--Jerry Kammer, reporter for Copley News Service
On November 28, 2005, California Representative Randy "Duke" Cunningham resigned from office after pleading guilty to taking more than $2.4 million in bribes from defense contractors seeking government contracts. The story of Cunningham's downfall -- from legendary Vietnam War ace pilot to federal inmate -- was publicly credited by the U.S. District Attorney's Office to the Pulitzer Prize-winning team of reporters from Copley News Service and The San Diego Union-Tribune. Starting with the story of Cunningham's suspicious house sale to defense contractor Mitchell Wade and using court records, Congressional travel databases, confidential sources, and even scans of a high school yearbook, the reporting team uncovered the murky side of Washington politics that continues to make headlines today. Exposé follows the reporters' trail and talks to their sources about the way the contract game is played in Washington and how willing lawmakers are to play it.