WASHINGTON, Aug. 13 (UPI) -- U.S. Rep. Randy "Duke" Cunningham, R-Calif., is asking contributors to let him use campaign donations for his legal defense, the Washington Post reported.
Cunningham announced last month he will not run for re-election. A federal grand jury is investigating his 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 newspaper said Cunningham is asking all of his campaign donors -- including Wade -- for permission to use their contributions to pay his legal bills. The request came in letters sent earlier this month, in which Cunningham said the investigation could go on well into 2006 and could cost him more than $1 million.
Cunningham's campaign fund had $672,115 at the end of June, the newspaper reported.
The eight-term congressman has denied doing anything wrong, but has admitted using poor judgment.