Common Cause asks for investigation of Congresswoman Katherine Harris by Mitch E. Perry

05/01/06

Common Cause asks feds to investigate Harris The government watch dog group Common Cause asked the Justice Department today to investigate Congresswoman Katherine Harris' dealings with a now disgraced defense contractor accused of bribery.

The group wants to know whether Harris broke the law when she and Mitchell Wade met at an exclusive Washington DC restaurant last year. At that dinner -- which cost Wade up to $2,800 -- Wade offered to hold a fundraiser for Harris and sought her help obtaining $10 million in federal money.

A few weeks later, Harris sent that request to a House appropriations subcommittee. But it was not approved.

Common Cause's director of ethics campaigns Mike Surresco says there is sufficient evidence to suggest that submitted the appropriations request in exchange for Wade's fundraising support. (roll tape#1 o.q.�ask for the ear mark�)

Revelations about the expensive dinner with Mitchell Wade came AFTER Wade admitted that in February that Harris received $32,000 in illegal campaign contributions from Wade and employees at his company, MZM. Wade also gave illegal contributions to Virginia Congressman Virgil Goode. That was revealed when Wade’s pleaded guilty earlier this year to bribing former California Congressman Randy “Duke “ Cunningham.

The latest revelation in the Cunningham case came last week, when the Wall Street Journal reported that Wade’s partner – Brent Wilkes, provided prostitutes to Cunningham.

The Justice Department is also investigating several other members of Congress in the Jack Ambramoff lobbying scandal. But in that case, like the one Common Cause is referering to Justice, the question is whether it can be proven that a “Quid Pro Quo� happened – that is, in this case, that Mitchell Wade tried to buy off . Again, Mike Surresco from Common Cause (roll tape#2 o.q.�from MZM�)

Katherine Harris recently admitted that she had NOT paid her share of the bill at the Citronelle, the Washington DC restaurant where she shared the $2800 bill with Mitchell Wade. She told the Orlando Sentinel that she thought her campaign had "reimbursed" for her meal but later learned that had not happened.

House ethics rules prohibit members from accepting gifts or meals worth $50 or more.

Common Cause is forwarding their complaint to the Justice Department – not the House Ethics Committee….WMNF asked Mike Surresco from Common Cause – why? (roll tape#3 o.q.�in this case�)

WMNF contacted Congresswoman Harris’ office this afternoon. We did not receive a call back by airtime.

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