see... A California congressman’s documents under
federal grand jury subpoena. A defense contractor
with several operations in Virginia. Virgil
Goode’s largest contributor during his last
campaign. The Virginia Tobacco Commission. One
of George Allen’s former cabinet secretaries, with
past ties to Pat Robertson’s Regent University.
The Warner Administration’s Governor’s
Opportunity Fund. President Bush’s war on
terror. And Katherine Harris, Florida’s former
secretary of state, maven of Bush-Gore fame.
there possibly be a single, common thread that runs
through this? There is: MZM, Inc., the
Washington-based security firm that has enjoyed
exponential growth in revenues since the attacks on
the World Trade Center on Sept. 11, 2001.
the Washington Post last month, in a piece by
Renae Merle and Jeffrey H. Birnbaum: “A federal
grand jury in Southern California has subpoenaed
documents from Rep. Randy 'Duke' Cunningham, his
lawyer said yesterday in a written statement.
Prosecutors have been examining the congressman’s
relationship with Mitchell J. Wade, the owner of
District-based defense contractor MZM, Inc.
2003, Wade bought the California Republican’s home
near San Diego for $1.675 million. He later resold
it for a $700,000 loss. For the past year,
Cunningham has been living rent-free while in
Washington on a 42-foot yacht owned by Wade.”
a member of the House Appropriations Committee’s
defense subcommittee, told the Post that he
had done nothing wrong.
I’d say that settles that.
stepped down, though, because of the investigation,
according to the Post, and his duties were split
between Frank Bragg, Jr., who served as the
company’s chief operating officer and Kay Cole
James, who took up the duties of chief operating
officer. Now they have stepped down, too.
was George Allen’s Secretary of Health and Human
services during his term as Virginia’s governor.
She is a former member of the Fairfax County School
Board and Virginia’s State Board of Education, and
has served on the boards of the Coalition of
Christian Colleges and Universities, the Fellowship
of Christian Athletes, Focus on the Family and the
Center for Jewish and Christian Values. She is a
former dean at Robertson’s Regent University.
Hardin, writing for Media General News Service,
fleshed out the MGM-Virginia link in the Daily
Progress, in Charlottesville. Said he: “In
Virginia, an array of elected officials, including
Rep. Virgil H. Goode, Jr. of the 5th District, has
welcomed MZM. It has field offices in Albemarle
County, Ruckersville and Martinsville, all in
MZM selected Martinsville for a database and
information technology operation in 2003, Goode was
credited as ‘instrumental in securing this project
for Virginia,’ according to a Nov. 3 news release
from Gov. Mark R. Warner’s office.’”
Virginia Tobacco Commission, on which I now sit,
ponied up $250,000 for the Martinsville project, as
did the Governor’s Opportunity Fund.
to the Daily Progress, during the 2003-2004 period,
MZM was the largest single contributor of campaign
funds--$48,551—to Goode’s re-election effort,
and MZM-related donations during the 2005-2006
election cycle top the list again, totaling $38,625
paper reported that the company was also the leading
contributor to Katherine Harris’ 2004 re-election
to Congress, giving the Floridian $50,000.
to an Associated Press story carried by the San
Diego Union-Tribune, the Defense Department halted
orders this month on at least one contract that paid
MZM $163 million after the department’s inspector
general found that the contract “did not satisfy
rules on competitiveness.”
the company’s recent difficulties will negatively
affect its Virginia operations is unclear at this
writing. According to the Post, company
management is “exploring strategic
alternatives,” one of which could be an outright
for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, a
self-styled "watchdog" group has asked the
Federal Election Commission to investigate MZM, Wade
and the company’s political contributions
activity, according to the Daily Progress.
tuned. This one might get a little weirder. I doubt
it. But it might.
July 11, 2005