History again repeats itself (via Katie Favassa):
Actually, Murtha did one better. He got a political tit-for-tat from one of his buddies for a company that by all accounts didn't even exist. When one follows the money, however, one does get an explanation:
REP. FLAKE: This amendment would strike funding for the Center for Instrumented Critical Infrastructure. The center is to receive $1 million in taxpayer funding in this bill. When searching on the web my staff and I were unable to find the center's web site. I'm not sure whether the center currently exists or whether this earmark creates the center. I would appreciate that the sponsor of this earmark [Rep. John Murtha (D-PA)] would clear that up. All the bill says is it funds $1 million for the Center for Instrumented Critical Infrastructure in
. However, when you look at the certification letter that each member now, according to our earmark rules is required to submit, you see that the earmark is actually going to the Concurrent Technology Corporation based in Pennsylvania …. Jonestown, Pennsylvania
REP. FLAKE: I'm wondering in the report that accompanied the bill, it mentioned that the earmark was to go to the Center for Instrumented Critical Infrastructures. But the certification letter says that it's going to go to that but the earmark should actually go to Concurrent Technologies Corporation. Which is it, and if it is to Concurrent Technologies, why it isn't listed?
REP. VISCLOSKY (D-IN), ENERGY AND WATER SUBCOMMITTEE CHAIRMAN: It's my understanding it will go to the Center for Instrumented Critical Infrastructure.
REP. FLAKE: Does that center currently exist?
REP. VISCLOSKY: At this time I do not know. But if it does not exist the monies could not go to it.
REP. FLAKE: We were told in this process early on by the chairman of the Appropriation Committee that a different process was needed, that the earmarks should be added later in conference and not now because the Appropriation's Committee couldn't vet or scrub these earmarks well enough. I would submit this is a perfect example of that … I would submit that this one should be [stricken] as well when the chairman of the relevant subcommittee can't tell us if this center even exists. We don't know if it even exists…
REP. FLAKE: Yet, we have the report that comes with the bill that doesn't even mention Concurrent Technologies, just mentions this center as if it already existed, we don't know if it does. We can't find any information on it. Apparently we can't even get that information from the Appropriations Committee.”
UPDATE: I failed to report last night that a certificate filed with the requested funds says the money is actually earmarked to Concurrent Technologies Corporation, a nonprofit technological consulting firm. A brief search of campaign finance records shows CTC President and CEO Daniel R. DeVos, of alternately Central City and Johnstown, Pa. has contributed $7,000 to Murtha's reelection campaign since April 2002.And for those of you who actually thought you were voting for ethics reform when you elected a democrat-controlled congress:
Despite the money's uncertain destination, the House rejected Flake's measure to strike the funds, 326-98. And the Visclosky bill also sailed through, 312-112.Yeah. One more reason why congress needs more of our money like a junkie needs more crack. And yet one more reason why Murtha Must Go!!