Immigration Fraud, on Top of Everything Else

By Jerry Kammer on February 25, 2009

The CIA's former No. 3 official awaits sentencing tomorrow in Virginia on federal charges that he conspired with a life-long friend to bilk the government out of millions of dollars and forced the CIA to hire his mistress. In their pre-sentencing memo, prosecutors also allege that Kyle "Dusty" Foggo helped facilitate an act of immigration fraud.

Prosecutors claim that Foggo, who in 2006 was forced to resign as the CIA's Executive Director, enlisted a private contractor who worked with the CIA "to write a letter falsely purporting to offer a job" to a foreign national so that the foreign national could obtain a visa. Before that bit of deceit, Foggo wrote an e-mail to the contractor's boss, suggesting that they seek some political influence to get the visa. He suggested that "maybe we can get Duke (Congressman Duke Cunningham, R, Calif) to write a joint letter with Cong. (Mary) Bono (D, Calif) . . . .Do you think Duke would join? It would be worth a little campaign help, I'm sure."

The e-mail recipient was Brent Wilkes, the California defense contractor convicted in 2007 of bribing Cunningham for earmarks in defense appropriations bills. Cunningham resigned in disgrace in 2005, after press disclosures of his corrupt ties to another, now-convicted defense contractor. Cunningham is serving an eight-year sentence in a federal prison in Arizona.

Prosecutors say Foggo received "lavish vacations, extravagant meals, and expensive gifts" in return for rigging inflated, multi-million dollar contracts for Wilkes despite Wilkes' lack of qualifications. Their memo details Wilkes' squandering of $88,000 on a vacation trip they took to Scotland: "That trip cost Wilkes $12,000 in private jet flights, over $4,000 in tickets to the Lion King musical, and over $44,000 for a stay at the Pitcastle estate, which offered trout fishing on hill lochs, salmon fishing on the River Tay, clay pigeon shooting, archery and a seven-person staff."

In an attempt to get U.S. District Court Judge James C. Cacheris to reject Foggo's request for leniency, the prosecutors counter that "before the Court stands a man who spent years defrauding his country, facilitating immigration fraud, and recommending a man with no experience to provide potentially life-saving equipment and services to his countrymen…."

Prosecutors cite sworn statements by two former Foggo associates that Foggo planned to seek Cunningham's Congressional seat after Cunningham retired.

Had that plan come to fruition, Foggo would have completed a dubious congressional trifecta for that San Diego seat. Cunningham had won the district in 1982, after forcing Republican incumbent Bill Lowery out of the Republican primary by highlighting Lowery's dubious ethics, including ties to corrupt savings and loan operators and his involvement in a scandal at the House Bank. Lowery then became a lobbyist in Washington, counting Wilkes among clients for whom he received hundreds of earmarks.

Most of those earmarks were stuffed into appropriations bills supervised by Rep. Jerry Lewis, a California Republican and longtime appropriator. Lewis became chairman of the Defense Appropriations Subcommittee in 1999, before rising to the chairmanship of the full Appropriations Committee in 2005. Lowery, meanwhile, raised hundreds of thousands of dollars in campaign contributions for Lewis, mostly from his clients.

Lewis lost his chairmanship after the 2006 elections restored the Democrats to the majority in the House. But Lewis and Lowery became the objects of a federal investigation into their financial relationship. Neither man has been charged; nor have the former Lewis staffers who subsequently earned millions of dollars by lobbying for earmarks as Lowery associates.