Cunningham and Abramoff: “Anything They Want To Know”

By Brian Ross And Richard Esposito

May 25, 2006 12:03pm

abramoff cunn 060525 nr 1 Cunningham and Abramoff: Anything They Want To Know

The widening FBI investigation of congressional corruption is being fueled by two convicted Washington insiders, who federal officials and defense lawyers say are telling the FBI "anything they want to know."

Convicted Congressman Randall "Duke" Cunningham has begun serving his seven-year sentence and is now known as inmate #94405-198.

Convicted lobbyist Jack Abramoff, who has yet to be sentenced, is known as inmate #27593-112. The Federal Bureau of Prisons lists his current location as "in transit."

Both men pleaded guilty to corruption charges earlier this year and agreed to cooperate in the government’s ongoing investigation of congressional bribery and influence peddling.

Cunningham, currently being evaluated at the federal medical facility in Butner, NC,
"is cooperating fully," according to his lawyer, K. Lee Blalack, of O’Melveny & Myers. Cunningham is suffering from prostate and skin cancer, according to Blalack.

Blalack says Cunningham has also provided extensive documents to the House Intelligence Committee, which is conducting its own investigation of Cunningham’s activities when he was on the committee.

Cunningham’s bribes were described by prosecutors as the largest in the history of the United States Congress. 

His information deals primarily with the defense contractors from whom he has admitted accepting bribes, according to people familiar with the investigation.

As for Abramoff, federal law enforcement officials say he has spent "hours and hours" with FBI agents detailing his relationships with dozens of members of Congress.

"What we’re going to do now is figure out if what Jack told us is the case," said one official.

Federal law enforcement sources told ABC News Wednesday that Abramoff has been questioned about his relationship with Speaker of the House Dennis Hastert.

"He is very much in the mix," a federal law enforcement official told ABC News about Hastert. The official said Hastert is not considered a formal "subject" or "target" at this time.

Since our report, the Justice Department has twice denied that Hastert is under investigation or "in the mix."

Speaker Hastert called the ABC News report "totally untrue."

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