WASHINGTON-Representative Randy "Duke" Cunningham (R-Calif.) has pleaded guilty to tax evasion and taking bribes from defense contractors. "I'm resigning from the House of Representatives because I've compromised the trust of my constituents," he said in announcing his plea, according to www.signonsandiego.com. "The truth is I broke the law, concealed my conduct and disgraced my office." "I know that I will forfeit my freedom, my reputation, my worldly possessions, (and) most importantly, the trust of my friends and family." Cunningham was a decorated Vietnam War Navy fighter pilot, who later was an instructor at the Navy's Top Gun school. U.S. Attorney Carol Lam said Cunningham took advantage of his position and trampled on his constituents' trust. "It is a crime of really the worst magnitude," she said, calling the evidence "fairly overwhelming." Cunningham was one of the first co-sponsors to the Credit Union Regulatory Improvements Act (H.R. 2317) this year, signing on May 12. With his resignation, CURIA co-sponsorship falls to 102. A special election will be held to fill his seat.

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