The federal indictment of Rep. Joseph M. McDade (Pa.), ranking Republican on the House Appropriations Committee, alleges he took more than $100,000 in bribes and illegal gratuities in return for his efforts to steer federal contracts to five companies.
Some of the alleged bribes were disguised as campaign contributions. Others took the form of free plane trips, furniture, clothing, golf equipment, vacations and college tuition for his son, according to the indictment.
McDade, who has represented northeastern Pennsylvania in the House for nearly 30 years, denied any wrongdoing at a news conference Monday. He claimed federal prosecutors were attempting to cover up their lack of evidence by charging him with violating the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO), which is designed to reach a pattern of criminal conduct.
The five-count indictment charges McDade, ranking Republican on the Appropriations subcommittee on defense, with racketeering, conspiracy and accepting illegal gifts. The indictment alleges:
From United ChemCon Corp., a now-defunct defense contractor, McDade took $10,250 in payments disguised as campaign contributions, flew round-trip to Florida on the company's Lear jet, accepted an all expense-paid trip to Jamaica and solicited free use of the company's resort condominium in Delaware.
In return, McDade, used his position to intercede on the firm's behalf with the Navy, the Small Business Administration and the Postal Service, the indictment charges.
From the Sperry Corp., a Long Island-based defense contractor now called Unisys-Paramax Corp., McDade took a free vacation, free plane trips, $5,500 in "sham" campaign contributions and his expenses at the 1984 NCAA basketball tournament in Seattle. In exchange, McDade agreed to support Sperry's attempts to sell the Navy radar fire control systems, the indictment charges.
From a lobbyist for the Grumman Corp. and other defense contractors, McDade took $7,500 for his son's college tuition, and transportation, lodging and tickets to the Seattle tournament. In exchange for gratuities, he tried to help Grumman obtain defense contracts, the indictment charges.
From Westland Corp., a Texas-based oil company, McDade accepted free trips to New York City, California and Sun Valley, Idaho. McDade supported Westland's efforts to sell the federal government its underground facility, according to the indictment.
From GSGS & B, a Pennsylvania architectural firm that McDade supported for business from the federal government and defense contractors, the congressman accepted four free trips to New York City and a leather couch, the indictment charges.