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 Congressman’s track record of illicit backroom deals. EXPOSÉ follows the reporters’ trail to reveal how the contract game is played in Washington and how willing lawmakers are to play it.
>> Watch “Quid Pro Quo” online now. The episode also airs on PBS tonight. Check local listings.
>> What exactly is “earmarking”? The reporters who broke the Duke Cunningham story explain how Congress has become a “pay-to-play” system in a web-exclusive video interview.
>> A web-exclusive audio interview with reporter Jerry Kammer of Copley News Service: “I think I learned a long time ago that one of the best things that journalism can do is inform the people about how power is used, especially when it’s abused.”