Someone pinch me. CBS is pulling the rug out from under one of the sleaziest of all current politicians, John Murtha (D-PA). And that's no easy feat given his prodigious weight (rimshot, please). You may remember Murtha from some of his greatest hits like Abscam, the sting operation that videotaped government officials accepting bribes from undercover FBI employees posing as Arab businessmen.
[Murtha] was one of the Congressmen videotaped in an encounter with undercover FBI operatives. Although never indicted or prosecuted, he was named an "unindicted co-conspirator" in the scandal... A short clip from the videotape shows Murtha stating "I'm not interested, I'm sorry. At this point..." in direct response to an offer of $50,000 in cash...
...he did not report the attempted bribe following the meeting, a violation of House Ethics Rules. Murtha was also taped saying, "You know, we do business for a while, maybe I'll be interested...
CBS's new investigation reveals some of Murtha's more recent outrages including pork spending totaling "$600 million in earmarks to his Pennsylvania district in the past four years and $2 billion since 1992" (not inflation-adjusted, mind you - the real value is higher). Among the accusations:
Quid pro quo
“Every private entity that received an earmark from Rep. Murtha gave him a contribution. A campaign contribution,” Ryan Alexander for Taxpayers for Common Sense told CBS News correspondent Sharyl Attkisson.
Murtha helped set up the non-profit Concurrent Technologies in his hometown of Johnstown, Pa. Among the things they do is help others get federal money. They should know, they get $200 million in federal grants each year.
Murtha alone doled out nearly $12 million in earmarks to Concurrent this year. Concurrent pays big bucks to PMA, a lobby firm started by a former Murtha committee staffer. Both and Concurrent employees give generously to Murtha's campaigns.
CBS also calls attention to:
The case of the missing million dollars
More mysterious is Murtha's million-dollar earmark to the "The Center for Instrumented Critical Infrastructure."
“We don’t even know if it even exists,” says anti-earmark Congressman Jeff Flake (R-AZ).
Mary Katherine Ham went searching for the CICI and came up dry.
The National Drug Intelligence Center
His most notorious project is the government agency that the government doesn't want: the National Drug Intelligence Center. Every year the White House tries to close it because they already have a drug intelligence center. But Murtha keeps the duplicate open using -- you guessed it -- earmarks... a half billion dollars so far.
The strange tale of Charles D. Riechers
In September, 2007, the Washington Post broke the story that Murtha's pet company CTC appeared to be handing out "no-show" jobs for certain connected friends. If you're thinking that sounds like CTC is "mobbed up" -- kinda like Bada Bing -- your head's where mine is.
While waiting to be confirmed by the White House for a top civilian post at the Air Force last year, Charles D. Riechers was out of work and wanted a paycheck. So the Air Force helped arrange a job through an intelligence contractor that required him to do no work for the company, according to documents and interviews...
Riechers's job highlights the Pentagon's ties with Commonwealth Research and its corporate parent, which has in recent years received hundreds of millions of dollars worth of grants and contracts from the military, and more than $100 million in earmarks from lawmakers...
Two weeks later, the New York Times reported that Riecher was dead.
The second-highest ranking member of the Air Force’s procurement office was found dead of an apparent suicide at his Virginia home Sunday, Air Force and police officials said today... The official, Charles D. Riechers, 47, came under scrutiny by the Senate Armed Services Committee earlier this month after the Air Force arranged for him to be paid $13,400 a month by a private contractor, Commonwealth Research Institute, while he awaited review from the White House of his appointment as principal deputy assistant secretary for acquisition.
CREW's Most Corrupt Members of Congress Report
In September of 2006 the left-leaning Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) listed Murtha in its Five Members to Watch list described in the Second Annual Most Corrupt Members of Congress Report. The report noted that Murtha had steered defense appropriations to clients of KSA Consulting and PMA Group, which employed his brother Robert and Paul Magliocchetti, a former staffer, respectively.
The "War caused recession" Meme
Gateway Pundit has called attention to a concerted public relations campaign linking the cost of the Iraq war to the economy ("It's the Economy-- Caused By an Illegal War For Oil -- Stupid!").
I've got a news flash: if we could stop sleazebags like Murtha from blowing through billions of dollars in pork, perhaps the economy would be better. But don't look for the rocket scientists at MorOn.org to point that out. That would require telling the truth.
John Murtha's House website has a navigation bar on the lefthand side of the page.
One of the choices is Truth Corner. When I clicked it, an audio clip of laughter played.
More: Washington Times: Murtha's defense of earmarks questioned and Murtha's appetite for Pork; Wall Street Journal: Murtha, Inc.; Gateway Pundit; Glenn Reynolds; Mudville Gazette; Mary Katherine Ham (a fruitless search for the truth); Americans for Prosperity; My Man Mitt has CTC salaries; The Corner notes a missing letter from the CBS Report (*sigh*, yes it's "D").
Update: jpm100 notes that Murtha endorsed Hillary on March 18th. Shortly thereafter, CBS' investigation broke. Hmmm.