Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Jack "Daddy Warbucks" Murtha?

As Gary Gross so aptly pointed out, lo these past 32 years, Representative Murtha seems to have built himself quite a well-oiled political machine. He gets contributions from defense contractors, and then rewards those contractors with lots of taxpayer-produced money. Nice work, if you can get it.

Take for example, this:
WASHINGTON, D.C. -- As the 2007 Defense Appropriation Bill makes its way through Congress, several local companies and universities are included among those which will receive continued funding, U.S. Rep. John Murtha, D-Johnstown, said Monday.

"These programs are vital to our national security and to our troops in the field," Murtha said. "The companies and universities in our area, as well as their employees, are rightfully proud of the work they do to support our troops with quality products at competitive prices."

Included in the bill are various research and development programs managed by the Electro Optics Center at Northpointe, Slate Lick, including optical sensors, imaging and electro-optic components for the Navy, Marine Corps and Special Operations Command, Murtha said.

Now, take a look at this:
Marion, Fred Mr. (DRS Technologies/President EOSG), (Zip code: 15068) $2000 to MURTHA FOR CONGRESS COMMITTEE on 03/02/04
This is just a drop in Murtha's campaign cash bucket. It looks like Boeing also got a sweetheart deal from Jack "Daddy Warbucks" Murtha:
Boeing, also at Northpointe, is slated to receive funds to continue its research and development on weapons enhancements for the Army and Marine Corps, while the Armstrong County facility of DRS will receive funds to continue advancement of a two-color missile warning detection sensor which significantly enhances survivability of aircraft in high threat areas of operation.
And wouldn't you know it:

Of course, these are merely two examples of "Daddy Warbucks'" generosity with taxpayer monies. In fact, there seems to have been so much "greasing of palms" on Murtha's part that if he tried washing his hands, a drop of water wouldn't be able to penetrate. According to The Hill: (all emphases mine)

For the past three years, Rep. John Murtha (D-Pa.), the ranking member of the Defense Appropriations Subcommittee, has been the No. 1 beneficiary of defense campaign donations in the House and has not fallen below No. 3 for Congress as a whole.

In fact, for just the 2006 cycle, Murtha ranks No. 1 overall, with $188,350 in donations from the defense industry. House Armed Services Committee Chairman Duncan Hunter (R-Calif.) follows with $118,350.

In 2004, Murtha ranked behind only President Bush and his Democratic opponent, Sen. John Kerry, in overall defense-industry contributions, with $284,750.

During the 2002 election cycle, when Murtha was forced to campaign for his seat because of state redistricting that pitted him against a fellow congressman in the primary, he again scored No. 1 in all Congress, pulling in $309,299 in political donations from defense companies.

In 2000, Murtha slipped behind Hunter, who at that point was running for Armed Services chairman.


But Murtha also has raised some watchdogs’ concerns because his brother Robert “Kit” Murtha runs KSA Consulting, a lobbying group that represents some 10 smaller defense companies. In 2004, Murtha’s brother was able to secure $20 million in the defense-spending bill for his clients. Kit Murtha repeatedly has denied working directly with his brother’s office.

Conflicts of interest? You bet. Culture of corruption? You be the judge. But just in case you should think that "everybody does it,"

In comparison to Rep. Murtha, Rep. Bill Young (R-Fla.), who chairs the Defense Appropriations Subcommittee, receives far fewer political contributions from the defense industry, as does Appropriations Chairman Jerry Lewis (R-Calif.), who previously chaired the Defense Appropriations Subcommittee.

“The other reason you see Murtha get so much is because Young does not ask for very much,” Ashdown said.

In the 2006 cycle, Young does not rank among the top 20 beneficiaries of defense industry political donations, while Lewis has collected just $69,000 from defense companies.

I guess you can say that Jack "Daddy Warbucks" Murtha has, in effect, become the "Don Corleone" of Defense spending:
"Murtha walks on water. If you want anything done on the committee, you go to Murtha. Murtha is the reason why the [defense appropriations] bill gets done each year,” said Ashdown about the veteran Congressman known to be a dealmaker who frequently reaches across the aisle.
I wonder if they kiss his ring, too.

Like I have stated before, political machines are useless without the votes that put them in power. A well-placed vote can make all the difference in the world. You, citizens of PA 12, have the power within yourselves to break this noxious cycle of Murtha's flagrant abuse of power, and to send "Daddy Warbucks" packing.

The choice is yours.