Tuesday, October 31, 2006



I bet you didn't know I do a travel blog too, did you? I haven't been working on it lately because of all this election stuff. But I can't wait to start writing about Tierra del Fuego, which is where I'm going right after we take back Congress from rubber stampers and crooks like Curt Weldon.

One of the trips I took in the last few years was to southern Italy and Sicily. I spent a month driving south from Rome; really loved it. I used to live in Austria-- boring-- and I would drive into northern Italy at every opportunity. Later, in the music biz, I had to visit Milano all the time for... hehe... work. And vacations... well not much beats Tuscany. So southern Italy was a really new and different experience. I haven't written about it at the travel blog yet. So why bring it up at DWT? Glad you asked. On the way down to Sicily we stopped in Portofino. In the summer it's crawling with Europe's elite and they all stay at the astronomically over-priced Hotel Splendido. Even in the dead of winter, with service much-curtailed, it's hideously over-priced. I can't believe I wasted my money staying there.

Pennsylvania's most crooked congressman, Curt Weldon, didn't waste his money staying there. American taxpayers and Italian businessmen, eager for his patronage, picked up his expenses. According to today's New York Times "In November at the five-star Hotel Splendido overlooking the harbor in Portofino, a playground of the Italian rich, Representative Curt Weldon was the center of attention. The second-ranking Republican on the House Armed Services Committee, Mr. Weldon was a main speaker at a conference sponsored in part by the Italian military giant Finmeccanica. At the gathering of Italian, British and American political leaders, Mr. Weldon, of Pennsylvania, spoke on behalf of Italian arms makers who were seeking a bigger share of Pentagon contracts. Taxpayers paid for Mr. Weldon's stay. He received a $1,153 daily expense allowance from the federal government and flew over on a military jet."

Although the Justice Department won't confirm they are now looking into Weldon's sleazy dealings with the Italian arms maker, they do acknowledge they are "looking into whether he used his position to steer almost $1 million in consulting contracts from a Russian energy company and other Eastern European interests to a lobbying firm headed by his daughter Karen, 31. Her home and her office were searched two weeks ago by federal officials. Law enforcement officials said they were examining a wide variety of Mr. Weldon's connections with foreign companies..."

It was Weldon, who is one of Congress' most skilled crooks at extracting bribes from foreign businesses, who helped Finmeccanica to land the $1.7 contract to build the next presidential helicopter (Marine One). And his bag-woman daughter was, of course, the conduit of Weldon's pay-offs, just like with all his other recent criminal bribery dealings. "Mr. Weldon's relationship with the Italians has been mutually beneficial. His daughter Kim, 29, a former social worker, was hired by AgustaWestland, the Finmeccanica subsidiary that won the Marine One contract, shortly after her father's speech in Portofino. Kim Weldon's work is to set up booths at trade shows and perform public relations. AgustaWestland said the timing was coincidental. Ms. Weldon, through a company spokesman, declined to comment." Nice.

And it didn't stop there. Employees of the Italian conglomerate were asked to help funnel at least $20,400 into Weldon's campaign coffers. (Those are the "legalish" bribes; make sure you distinguish between the ones congressmen allow themselves and the ones that land people like Randy "Duke" Cunningham and, soon, Weldon, in federal prisons.)

Aside from hiring his no-talent daughter, the Italians also hired other friends and contributors of Weldon's in gratitude for his work on their behalf. (Note: Weldon is supposed to be working on behalf of his congressional district, not on behalf of Italian arms manufacturers. He has never registered as a lobbyist for foreign governments, although that is what his main preoccupation has been for over a decade.) "Finmeccanica says that it has not been contacted by the Justice Department but that it is worried. In a letter last week to Il Sole 24 Ore, the company said about Mr. Weldon. 'The connection between the investigations related to the person and Finmeccanica is harmful to the image of the Finmeccanica Group.'"

Just an FYI, Admiral Joe Sestak, has been embraced by PA-07 and will be elected to Congress by a wide margin a week from today. Curt Weldon will spend the next several years in prison with his pals Duke Cunningham, Jack Abramoff, Bob Ney, Tom DeLay and at least a dozen other Republicrooks who have been caught with their fat fingers in the cookie jar.


At 4:44 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well, Weldon represents my district. I've been voting against him for many years. What a dud. I can hardly wait to see him in prison, but I'll bet it will be some sort of a resort prison, such as Allenwood.

At 10:50 PM, Blogger Seventh Watch said...

Thanks for picking this one up too and spreading the world. We're having a bit of fun piling on at PA-7 Watch. Keep "crashing the gate"!

At 2:27 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

While his policies send other people's chidren to fight and even die in Iraq to keep the bad quys out, CW pulls strings to get passports for any bad guys willing to line his own kids' pockets.... I voted for the admiral earlier today and hope to enjoy watching the election results tonight but TV could be even better tomorrow if there is an arrest to watch.


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