Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Irey Asks US Attorney to Investigate Murtha

Diana Irey has asked the US Attorney for Western Pennsylvania to start an investigation to "determine whether or not Congressman Jack Murtha violated the Ethics Reform Act of 1989 by accepting campaign contributions in exchange for placing earmarked appropriations into legislation he is largely responsible for drafting and pushing to passage."

Unfortunately, John Murtha isn't the first congressman to get a campaign contribution after voting for a special interest group's favorite earmark. That isn't what this investigation appears to be about, though:
"Specifically, CREW cited a pattern of abuse regarding Congressman Murtha's fundraising practices; essentially, they argue that he trades federal contracts, loans, and grants for campaign contributions, in violation of federal law. CREW cites two former Murtha staffers as key players in Jack Murtha's triangle of influence, men who, after working for the Congressman for years on the Appropriations Committee, now engage in lucrative lobbying businesses, representing clients who seek federal contracts, loans, and grants.
If this information is accurate, then this is as corrupt as anything that Duke Cunningham ever did. That's as corrupt as it gets. Unlike John Murtha's convicting the Haditha Marines before the investigation is complete, I'll wait to find out what the investigation determines before pronouncing judgment.

It's one thing to vote for earmarks. It's another to trade vote on those earmarks for campaign contributions. If that isn't illegal, then that's proof that incumbents like John Murtha have a slush fund mechanism constantly at their avail. I know there's a saying that incumbency has its privileges but I'd hope that a legalized slush fund isn't what they're talking about.

Here's something else that Diana Irey cited:
"'Paul Magliocchetti worked with Rep. Murtha as a senior staffer on the Defense Appropriations Subcommittee for ten years,' says the report. 'After leaving the committee, Mr. Magliocchetti founded the PMA Group, which has become one of the prominent Washington, DC defense lobbying firms. In the current campaign cycle, the PMA Group and 11 of the firm's clients rank in the top 20 contributors to Rep. Murtha, having made contributions totaling $274,649. In the 2002 and 2004 cycles, PMA and nine of the firm's clients ranked in the top 20 contributors, having made $236,799 in contributions and $279,074, respectively. 'In turn, many of PMA's clients have benefited significantly from Rep. Murtha's earmarks. In the 2006 Defense Appropriations bill, PMA clients received at least 60 earmarks at a total of $95.01 million.'
"Stop and think about that for a moment. Over the last six years, officials and clients of the PMA Group have contributed roughly $800,000 to Congressman Murtha's campaign fund. In return, they have received at least $95 million in federal contracts, loans, and grants. That's a better than 100-to-1 return on investment."
The more you learn about John Murtha, the more you realize about Washington's corrupting powers. That's just another reason why Murtha Must Go.

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Cross-posted at LetFreedomRingBlog