Mithcell Wade is the founder and former chairman of MZM, a San Diego defense contractor that started in 1993.
Wade was forced to resign after he was named in the Randy Cunningham bribery scandal. On February 24, he pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court to bribing former U.S. Representative Randy "Duke" Cunningham with cash, cars and antiques over four years and conspiring with him to evade millions of dollars in tax liability. MZM received more than $150 million in government contracts since 2002. In his indictment, Wade was accused of making "straw contributions" to Virginia Republican U.S. Representative Virgil Goode and Florida Republican U.S. Representative and Florida Senatorial candidate Katherine Harris. Harris received $50,000 from MZM and its employees, $32,000 in the form of star donations. An illegal device for avoiding campaign contribution limits, straw donations are made by employees or family members who are then reimbursed by the real contributor.
Mitchell Wade told prosecutors that he met with Katherine Harris in early 2005 for dinner, at which time they discussed Wade holding a fundraiser for Harris, who was then considering a run for U.S. Senate and U.S. Navy funding for an MZM facility in Harris' Florida congressional district. That sounds like a quid for the pro quo of more defense contracts for MZM.
Could the Fates be rendering justice for what Katherine Harris did in 2000?
Florida Tax Breaks
MZM, of Washington, was awareded $400,000 in tax credits: $320,000 from the state and $80,000 from Tampa and Hillsborough County, after promising in 2004 to create 80 high-paying jobs in the area.
Mitchell Wade was the Registered Agent of the "Iranian Democratization Foundation", which was founded in Washington DC on April 4, 2004, and has since been dissolved. (Hat tip to Talking Points Memo.)
- Mark Sherman. "Wade Pleads Guilty to Bribing Cunningham." Associated Press and Las Vegas Sun. February 24, 2006.
- William March and Keith Epstein. "Harris Got Illegal Donations." The Tampa Tribune. February 25, 2006. P. 1
- n.a. "Harris Received Substantial Contributions From Convicted Defense Contractor." The Frontrunner. February 27, 2006.
- Disgraced Executive Got Local Tax Deals] By MICHAEL FECHTER and WILLIAM MARCH The Tampa Tribune
- DC Registered Agent Search