...A Sunday New York Times piece stated Johnstown Congressman Jack Murtha, D-12, has run a political trading post in the House of Representatives for over a decade.Does this sound like a Congressman from Pennsylvania's 12th CD, or does it sound more like Don Corleone? (Queue "theme from the Godfather").
The story added that one of those doing business has been 11th District Congressman Paul Kanjorski.
The article, written by Times reporter David Kirkpatrick, paints Murtha as a behind-the-scenes operator who lines up and trades votes for project earmarks.
An earmark is an amount of money set aside for a specific project in a specific Congressional district. Critics refer to them as pork or pork barrel projects.
Such projects often carry a political benefit for the districts Congressman, but are often judged to be of dubious value nationally.
The Times piece quotes Murtha as saying, Deal-making is what Congress is all about. It also quotes him telling lawmakers in his caucus who oppose a project he supports, Let me tell you the facts of life. If you vote against this bill, you wont have any impact at all the next time.
Voters of PA-12, is this what you had in mind when you voted for John Murtha to represent your interests?
And as the Standard Speaker reminds us:
Murtha had been largely unknown outside of Pennsylvania until earlier this year. His star began to rise nationally when he began calling for what amounted to an unconditional pullout of Iraq. He has also announced a run for House majority leader even though the Democrats are the minority party.To put it in politically correct terms, the words "honor challenged" seem to come to mind with regard to the dealings of Jack Murtha.
Murtha was also criticized by some for accusing Marines of murder in cold blood in Iraq.
In 2004, Roll Call, a newspaper that covers Capitol Hill, stated Murtha leaned on U.S. Navy officials to sign a contract to transfer the Hunters Point Shipyard to the city of San Francisco. At the time, Laurence Pelosi, nephew of House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, was an executive of the firm that owned the involved land rights.
And last June, the Los Angeles Times reported that Murthas brother, Robert, owns a lobbying firm, KSA Consulting, which represents 10 companies that got $20-plus million in earmarks from last years defense spending bill.
The New York Times article has become a political issue in the 12th.
The Johnstown Tribune Democrat on Tuesday reported his Republican challenger, Washington County Commissioner Diana Irey, accused him of abusing taxpayer dollars for his own personal political benefit by trading votes.
Serving in Congress is not about making deals, Irey said. It is about representing your district with honor.