Cunningham will leave Congress

SAN DIEGO, July 14 (UPI) -- U.S. Rep. Randy "Duke" Cunningham, R-Calif., said Thursday he will not run for re-election.

A federal grand jury is investigating Cunningham's dealings with defense contractor Mitchell Wade, who bought Cunningham's San Diego-area home for $1.675 million in 2003 and then sold it at a $700,000 loss. Cunningham also lived rent-free on a yacht Wade owned at a Washington, D.C., yacht club.


Wade's company, MZM, received millions of dollars in federal contracts after the real estate deal, and Cunningham bought a home in the exclusive Rancho Santa Fe area of San Diego.

The eight-term congressman said he could not do his job and defend himself during a political campaign, the (San Diego) North County Times reported.

"Regardless of what my critics may say, I did nothing wrong," Cunningham told an audience at Cal State San Marcos.

The FBI, the Internal Revenue Service, the Defense Criminal Investigation Service and the U.S. Attorney's office recently searched Cunningham's home, MZM's Washington offices and a yacht owned by Wade that Cunningham had been living on at a Washington yacht club.

Cunningham has admitted using poor judgment, but denies steering defense contracts to MZM. He said Thursday he would sell his Rancho Santa Fe home and donate part of the proceeds to charity.

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