Nancy Cunningham talks to The New Republic about her husband’s unprecedented corruption.

It’s a must-read.

The night before Duke was sentenced, he dumped a duffel bag full of dirty laundry and $32,000 worth of cash in Nancy’s driveway. And what macho Top Gun pilot would lust after frilly antiques and Louis Philippe commodes? But, despite the ambiguities surrounding Nancy, she is one of the few people who can answer the most important question of all about Duke Cunningham: Why did he do it?

And more. Nancy Cunningham did the interview with Kitty Kelley.

She saw herself as an innocent spouse blindsided by a wayward husband, though she chose to equate her misfortune with an arguably more epic one. “I will not let Mr. Cunningham turn me into Pat Nixon,” she said. “After Richard Nixon’s scandal, she internalized his shame to such an extent that she suffered a stroke and died a miserable death. He got to live long enough to somewhat vindicate himself, but Pat Nixon got nothing. I will not let that happen to me.”

Finally, you’ll have to read the whole article but there’s this:

As “a person of interest,” Nancy tried to distance herself from her husband’s co-conspirators. “They were his friends, not mine,” she said. She begrudgingly acknowledges Mitchell Wade’s generosity to her daughters. One summer, the defense contractor paid 19-year-old Carrie Cunningham $4,000 for two weeks’ work and gave April Cunningham $2,500 as a wedding present. Nancy’s explanation of why these payments failed to raise a red flag revealed her careful study of the type of circles she saw her and her family traveling in. “I know that sounds like a lot of money,” she said, “but the Wades were wealthy. A $2,500 check for them was like a $75 check for anyone else.”

SCOTT LEWIS

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