Friday, March 03, 2006

I Bought It On (R)Bay!

The U.S. Department of Justice has announced the opening of the largest internet auction site in history. The site is called (R)Bay, and it will feature auctions of the ill-gotten gains of convicted Republicans.

Randy "Duke" Cunningham's ill-gotten French antique commodes and other furnishings will be auctioned off in three weeks, authorities said yesterday.

The commodes -- a type of chest of drawers -- drew snickers from late-night comedians when the former congressman pleaded guilty to conspiracy and tax evasion last fall.

The furnishings were among the more than $2.4 million in bribes that the former congressman admitted taking from defense contractors.

Dozens of pieces of furniture and rugs that once stuffed his Arlington, Va., condominium and later were moved into Cunningham's Rancho Santa Fe mansion were turned over to the government as part of his guilty plea.

They are scheduled to be auctioned off March 23 at a warehouse in Rancho Dominguez, near Long Beach, with prospective buyers able to preview them two days earlier and on the Internet now.

"The only people who are restricted from bidding on this are Congressman Cunningham or anyone acting on his behalf or any of the other defendants," said Britney Sheehan, a spokeswoman for auctioneer EG&G Technical Services.

Although experts have estimated the value of the items, she said she couldn't reveal that because she didn't want it to affect bidding.

The proceeds will go to the agencies that investigated Cunningham. They are the FBI, the Internal Revenue Service Criminal Investigation branch and the Defense Criminal Investigative Service.

Bidding on the Ney and DeLay collections begins later this spring.

(And coming this fall to RNCAmerica: "Plea Bargain Hunt," "Graft In The Attic" and "The Hammer Under The Hammer.")

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