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Randy ‘Duke’ Cunningham released to halfway house

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Randy "Duke" CunninghamSAN DIEGO – Former San Diego congressman Randy “Duke” Cunningham is living in a halfway house after being released from federal prison, officials confirmed Wednesday.

Cunningham, now 71, was sentenced to eight years and four months behind bars. In addition to pleading guilty to tax evasion and conspiracy, he admitted receiving at least $2.4 million in gifts, cash and trips from defense contractors in exchange for steering government work their way.

Prison officials said Cunningham was released to a halfway house in the New Orleans area on Dec. 5. He will remain there for the final months of his prison term, which ends in June, they said.

Since being incarcerated, Cunningham has denied accepting bribes and said he regretted his plea.

Prior to the bribery scandal, Cunningham lived in Rancho Santa Fe and represented California’s 50th Congressional District for 14 years. He resigned amid his legal woes. Prior to politics, he flew an F-4 Phantom fighter jet for the U.S Navy during the Vietnam War.

At the halfway house, the ex-congressman will have to seek work and go through programs designed to prepare inmates for their release, said Edmond Ross, a spokesman for the federal Bureau of Prisons. Inmates can go out into the community with permission, but must spend each night in the facility.

The inmates can also reconnect with their families at the halfway house, according to Ross.

Earlier this year, U.S. District Judge Larry Burns denied a request for Cunningham to possess a firearm so he could hunt and participate in sport shooting contests. In a letter to the judge, he said he plans to live out his days with his mother and brother in rural Arkansas, writing books.

Burns said in his response that the 1968 federal law banning felons from possessing weapons contains no exemptions for hunting and sport shooting and that Cunningham could only bypass the law by receiving a waiver from the Secretary of the Treasury.

Cunningham spent most of his sentence at a prison in Tucson. In a letter to San Diego CityBeat, he said he spent his mornings teaching fellow prisoners who were seeking their Graduate Equivalency Degree, known as a GED, and his afternoons instructing adults.



    • notadrone54

      He did more as a Veteran and more for this country then most people in the Congress, Senate, and the idiot in the White House ever did or could ever do. And without that the only difference between him and everyone else is he got caught and they haven't yet. As far as I'm concerned he's still got my vote.

      • Robert

        I met him while serving in our Navy, a fine and courageous man, he did the crime and served his time…he was out of his depth as a career politician and got caught up in their world….what happened to those who bribed him and…who are they bribing now..

        • duaneadc

          Each one received no more than 2 1/2 years, pretty screwed up huh? He is a true American hero who made a mistake, while people whos job is to take money from the government barely getting jail time while "Duke" gets the book thrown at him. I to met him when I was still in the navy and I really liked him!!

  • lencho

    he didn't get to keep any of the money les…he's flat broke now with just social security to keep in alive…..he's going to live in arkansas with his brother and 99 year old mother…i'm no fan of the guy but he did some nice things for the uneducated at tucson camp…helping many of them who didn't want to learn get GEDs

  • les

    no secret bank account? he did some good things,he did some bad things….truth is you can't believe he didn't sock some of that away..maybe his brother got a package 5 years ago? just saying

  • Frank P

    Randy Cunningham helped me tremendously. I was about to lose my house and he stepped in and got me through loop holes of the IRS. Thanks RANDY and GOD BLESS you. I also hope and pray that your family will come back to you.



  • Judy

    Well theres a few more in the Senate thats done far more than the Duke. He got home in time to see his Mom before she passed the following day.
    Ive known Randy since 1971, and hes still a close frind in my eyes.

  • lencho

    i'm happy to hear that he got to see his mom before she died as well…and i also wish him well….but there's no doubt he took $$$ for monetary favors…i feel duke was a classic example of hero worship gone bad….and hope he lives out the rest of his life without any more problems

  • Elaine

    Randy did get to see his mom before she passed. He is my cousin, not proud of that fact, but before he became corrupt, he was an inspiration to many as a war veteran. It is a shame that he had to take the path he did, but he still has his brother and Rob is a good man. Hopefully he can get Randy back on the right path.

  • danial obrian

    Perhaps he could redeem himself and his lost honor by trying to reform Washington and the totally corrupt system we have in place, if we don't do something I fear this country is doomed to a total economic collapse that will make the great depression look like a walk in the park :-(.

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