Saturday, September 29, 2007

Murtha Must Testify, Supply Deposition

According to this article, a judge has ruled that Rep. John Murtha must testify in a defamation lawsuit. That isn't his only obligation:

A federal judge refused Friday to dismiss a defamation case against Rep. John P. Murtha and ordered the Pennsylvania Democrat to give a sworn deposition about his comments alleging "cold-blooded murder and war crimes" by unnamed soldiers in connection with Iraqi civilian deaths.

A Marine Corps sergeant is suing the 18-term congressman for making the charge, which the soldier claims is false. Murtha, who opposes the Iraq war, made the comment during a May, 2006 Capitol Hill news conference in which he predicted that a Pentagon war crimes investigation will show Marines killed dozens of innocent Iraqi civilians in Haditha in 2005.

If Murtha is forced to giving a deposition, he'll likely be forced to say who, if anyone, gave him this information. If one of his cronies in the Pentagon fed him this information, it'll expose that person's anti-war (or possibly anti-Bush) agenda. If Rep. Murtha made this up, then he's in deep trouble. Even if another court rules that his accusations were part of his official responsibilities, he'll be exposed to the entire world as pitching these Marines' constitutional guarantees aside.

At that point, it won't matter if he's made daily trips to Walter Reed. It won't matter if he's helped win billions of dollars of funding for the troops. His railroading these Marines will be his legacy. PERIOD.

That's why I'm betting that Murtha will do everything in his power to quash this judge's order to have him give a deposition. The judge in this lawsuit is Rosemary Collyer, a Bush appointee. Here's what she said:

U.S. District Judge Rosemary M. Collyer said the congressman might be right, but said she won't know for sure unless Murtha explains himself. She did not set a date for Murtha's testimony but said she would also require him to turn over documents related to his comments.

"You're writing a very wide road for members of Congress to go to their home districts and say anything they choose about private persons and be able to do so without any liability. Are you sure you want to do that?" Collyer said, adding later, "How far can a congressman go and still be protected?"

Collyer said she was troubled by the idea the lawmakers are immune from lawsuits regardless of what they say to advance their political careers.

A representative shouldn't be able to hide behind the Constitution to protect himself from a lawsuit after he's tossed the Constitution aside. That's like a lawyer hiding behind attorney/client privilege after he's joined his client in committing a crime.

When Rep. Murtha declared that the Haditha Marines had "killed innocent civilians in cold blood", (Remember that he hadn't been briefed and the investigation hadn't been finished) he essentially said that Frank Wuterich didn't have any constitutional protections.

Furthermore, it's worth questioning at what point Rep. Murtha isn't protected by the Constitution's Speech and Debate Clause. Should legislators be covered 24/7? Should they be covered when they're holding press availabilities? Should they be able to viciously slander someone, whether they're on the House floor or at a press galley, with full immunity? I'm certain that the Founding Fathers didn't intend on providing that type of protection when they wrote the Speech and Debate Clause into the Constitution.

I'd argue that the Founding Fathers wrote the speech and Debate Clause into the Constitution to protect them from lawsuits pertaining to their official duties. I'd be hard pressed to think that it was meant to protect congressmen when they defame a private citizen, especially without justification.

I'd further argue that this judge's ordering Murtha's testimony and deposition puts the House leadership on notice that they can't excuse Murtha's corruption and unethical behavior. Thus far, the House Democratic leadership has fallen far short of their promise to be the
most ethical congress in history. In fact, it isn't difficult to make the case that they're the most unethical congress since the 1994 bloodletting.

Let's further stipulate that letting Murtha slide without starting an ethics investigation into his malicious attacks on the Haditha Marines would tell the world that the Democrats' culture of corruption runs deeper than did the Republicans'. I say that because they didn't try protecting Randy Cunningham and Bob Ney from prosecution. Will Democrats try protecting their 'cash cow'? I'd argue that they already did when Ms. Pelosi endorsed Murtha in his quest to be House Majority Leader.

Here's what's posted on
CBS' website:

From the AP: 'You're writing a very wide road for members of Congress to go to their home districts and say anything they choose about private persons and be able to do so without any liability. Are you sure you want to do that?" Collyer said, adding later, "How far can a congressman go and still be protected?"

John Bresnahan of CBS had the audacity to write this:

Frankly, I don't understand this ruling at all, and I wouldn't be surprised if it is appealed by the Justice Dept. and House general counsel's office on behalf of Murtha. Murtha, who can say some inappropriate things once in a while, was clearly acting in his capacity as a lawmaker when he made the comments and is thus protected by the Speech or Debate Clause from any type of prosecution for official acts.

Mr. Bresnahan, Accusing these Marines of cold-blooded murder isn't saying "some inappropriate things"; it's malicious and slanderous. I'd further argue that the Speech and Debate Clause isn't absolute.

Finally, I'd challenge Mr. Bresnahan 's statement that Murtha was "clearly acting in his capacity as a lawmaker when he made the comments." When did it become part of a lawmaker's job to wrongly accuse genuine war heroes of cold-blooded murder before the NCIS had finished its investigation? I'm curious why Mr. Bresnahan thinks that that's "clearly part" of Murtha's job.

In fact, I'd challenge Mr. Bresnahan to publicly justify that particular statement. I wouldn't bet much that he could.

Let's stipulate that other constitutional privileges have exceptions, too. We hold the attorney/client privilege dear but that privilege isn't absolute. It can't protect a lawyer who willfully assists his client commit a crime.
Lynne Stewart was convicted for assisting the Blind Sheikh, Omar Abdel Rahman, in carrying out other crimes.

We hold the priest/penitent privilege dear, too, but that has exceptions, too. Even the First Amendment's protections aren't absolute. Should we then accept as absolute that the people's representatives protections be absolute? I think not.

For me, the bottom line is that Rep. Murtha shouldn't be allowed to make such statements with total immunity. This case screams out that either the courts or the House of Representatives deliver justice to Sgt. Wuterich, LCpl. Sharratt, Capt. Stone, Lt. Col. Chessani and all the Marines that Rep. Murtha defamed with his unsubstantiated and repeated statements.

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Cross-posted at LetFreedomRingBlog

Friday, September 28, 2007

Hey FatBoy--I do hear the Fat Lady Singing...

And it won't be a pretty tune for you...

You see, Jack Murtha will be forced to testify in a defamation suit filed by one of the Marines that he accused (without justification) of murdering civilians in cold blood.

William Teach over at Pirate's Cove has the details.

Payback's a bitch, ain't it Jack?

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Defiant Murtha Lashes Out

Based on John Murtha's op-ed in the Johnstown Tribune Democrat, it's obvious that, not only isn't he repentant; he's downright defiant:

Since 1974, I have had the privilege of serving the people of our area in the U.S. Congress. My title is representative, and I try to represent our area and people well.

Under the Constitution, Congress has the sole responsibility for appropriating funds to the executive branch, and, as such, it is my constitutional responsibility to direct those federal funds.

Earmarks are a tool Congress uses to change the budget in a way that provides a more positive and direct impact at the national and local levels.

That's spin of the highest order. It's also a pile of BS. Earmarks in the hands of men like John Murtha are re-election slush funds:

Every entity that got an earmark appropriation from Murtha this year gave him a campaign contribution, according to a survey by the newspaper Roll Call and Taxpayers for Common Sense.

The lucky 26 groups gave Murtha campaigns $413,000. He ensured that these friends got $114.5 million worth of projects from his appropriations committee.

You know that earmarks are a form of legalized corruption when a Soros-funded organization like CREW says that Murtha belongs on their list of most unethical legislators in Washington.

It's understatement to say that Murtha's op-ed isn't showing him in his best light. In fact, I think it's an indicator that he's feeling the heat we've been putting on him. Check out this BS from Murtha:

In Congress, I also have the privilege of serving our military as chairman of the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Defense. In August, the House passed a $459 billion Defense Appropriations Bill, and as chairman, my name is the only one that appears on this bill. I take this responsibility very seriously and I believe the bill we produced this year is one of the best we have ever passed.

Let Rep. Murtha talk about the defense budget increases if that's what he wants to do. It doesn't change the fact that Murtha trampled the Haditha Marines' constitutional rights when he accused them of "killing innocent civilians in cold blood", then covering it up. I've watched public officials do some utterly despicable things in my lifetime. I watched LBJ lie to the American people about winning in Vietnam. I watched Nixon lie about the coverup of Watergate. I've seen Dan Rostenkowski literally brag about the gifts and trips he got from lobbyists because he chaired the House Ways and Means Committee.

With that said, I can state without hesitation that Murtha's tossing the Haditha Marines' constitutional protections under the proverbial bus for political gain is the most reprehensible thing I've ever seen. Murtha deserves a serious reprimand for that alone. That's before considering his threatening Mike Rogers on the House floor.
Rep. Rogers challenged the usefulness of the NDIC in Murtha's hometown of Johnstown. Rogers should know about that since he's a former FBI special agent.

It's time that Murtha was sent packing. It's time that We The People dumped a bunch of chlorine into the House's 'gene pool'.

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Cross-posted at
LetFreedomRingBlog

Monday, September 24, 2007

Hey Tribune-Democrat-- What Took You So Long?

From the Tribune Democrat:

Mud thrown at Murtha stains all of us

John Murtha represents the people of this region in all that he does.

We can’t accept the congressman’s earmark dollars with one hand and brush off his alleged transgressions with the other.

When he steps in mud, or when others throw mud at Murtha, we all get dirty.

That’s why, when questions are raised about possible improper activities at a Murtha-created organization, we get anxious.

And when a watchdog group rates our local congressman as being among “the most corrupt” lawmakers in Washington, we are embarrassed.

We don’t like being characterized as folks who support questionable activities, or who endorse troubling behavior by our elected officials.

In the past week, Murtha has taken shots from two sides over the way he does business in our nation’s capital.

The nonprofit Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, or CREW, released its third annual report on lawmakers. The group said 22 House and Senate members - 18 Republicans and four Democrats - were listed because of “their egregious, unethical and possibly illegal activities (as) the most tainted members.”

Specifically, Murtha was chosen – the group said – because of “abuse of his position on the (defense appropriations) subcommittee to benefit the lobbying firm of a former long-term staffer and for threatening to block earmarks of other members for political purposes.”

In 2006, CREW rated Murtha as a “dishonorable member” to be watched. CREW said he jumped into the “most corrupt” group in 2007 for “threatening a House member for criticizing earmarks ... a clear violation of House ethics.”

That incident was Murtha’s run-in with Rep. Mike Rogers, R-Mich., who unsuccessfully tried to kill a $23 million earmark for the National Drug Intelligence Center in Johnstown.

Meanwhile, Roll Call, a Capitol Hill news organization, reported that a Murtha-backed nonprofit group received government contracts and works with other companies Murtha has helped to fund.

The Pennsylvania Association for Individuals with Disabilities, or PAID, is run by former Murtha aide Carmen V. Scialabba.

Ex-U.S. Sen. Max Cleland, D-Ga., confirmed to The Tribune-Democrat that he had resigned from the PAID board of directors, saying: “Once I learned more about the organization, I just decided it was not for me.”

Cleland is Murtha’s friend. The triple amputee and Vietnam veteran came to Johnstown last fall to speak on Murtha’s behalf at a political rally in Central Park.

“I’m not associated with PAID,” Cleland said. “I am not interested in pursuing that relationship at all.”

In it’s report on PAID, Roll Call said the organization “can point to few successes that are unrelated to (Murtha).” Roll Call contacted various Pennsylvania disability organizations that said they never worked with the Johnstown-based charity.

In both cases – the PAID debate and the Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics report – Murtha would not comment.

That’s his prerogative.

But our prerogative is to say what we think.

We’re weary of hearing about – and writing about – accusations concerning Murtha’s character, and we wish he seemed more concerned about them.

And we’re angry that “corrupt” is how many people view our local congressman.

Why is it that after ABSCAM, after Murtha's reckless slander of the Haditha Marines, after his sweetheart deal with Nancy Pelosi's nephew, after all we've been reporting on this blog regarding Murtha since May, 2006, that the Johnstown Democrat is finally beginning to admit that they endorsed a slimeball to represent PA-12 in Congress. Don't get me wrong. Better late than never. But it's too bad that the editorial board at the Johnstown Democrat didn't take into account Murtha's shady character when they endorsed him in this last election

Or in the last 16 elections, for that matter.

Perhaps they will think twice before doing so in 2008.

***UPDATE***

The Johnstown-Democrat publishes yet another scathing article slamming their favorite son.

And it couldn't happen to a nicer fellow.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

We just knew you could do it!!

Jack Murtha, who was on CREW's "watch list" last year, has finally made it to the big list of America's most corrupt congressmen!

I know that PA-12 is proud of you!

Acceptable collateral damage?


From here:

CNSNews.com) - If pulling U.S. troops out of Iraq results in "a bloodbath," the guilt will rest with the Iraqi people and not with the U.S. Congress, according to Rep. John Murtha (D-Pa.), a leading proponent of withdrawing troops.

"Many have threatened that there will be chaos, a bloodbath, when the United States redeploys from Iraq, and this in fact may be the case," Murtha said in a speech at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C., Monday. "If they continue to choose to spill blood, it will not be on the conscience of the United States."

And it certainly won't be Al Qaeda's fault either, will it?

Yeah, what's a few hundred thousand lives if you can win in your campaign for defeat of the U.S. and keeping democrats in power, eh Jack?

Yeah, I know... all in a day's work.

Truth is, their blood will be on YOUR hands Jack. After all, it was you, who got the ball rolling. You gave the rest of the "Fifth Column" faction democrats political cover to undermine our mission, our troops, and our national security; not to mention the security of the Iraqi people. It was your rhetoric that gave the message to the Jihadists that if they can just kill enough troops and innocents, then America would run away.

All as a means to endear yourself to the leftist George Soros bunch and brighten your chances to get Stenny Hoyer's job.

Hear this, Jack. You have failed on so many levels.

Not only did you not get Hoyers job, our soldiers in Iraq are getting the mission accccomplished, despite your best attempts to undemine their efforts, and despite your attempts to label them cold blooded killers.

Face it Jack--you're a loser.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

And yet some more crow for "fat boy" to eat.


Another Haditha Marine, this one higher up in the chain of command, has been acquitted!
A US Marine Corps officer accused of failing to properly investigate the alleged massacre of 24 Iraqi civilians in the town of Haditha has been cleared of wrongdoing, the military said today.

The military said from its the Marines Camp Pendleton base in southern California that all charges against Captain Lucas McConnell stemming from the Haditha investigation had been dropped.

The charges against Capt McConnell had been dropped following a ruling by Lieutenant-General James Mattis, commander of the US Marine Corps Forces.

Lt-Gen Mattis "determined that administrative measures are the appropriate response for any errors or omissions allegedly committed by McConnell", the military said.

Capt McConnell was one of eight Marines facing charges in connection with the Haditha killings in November 2005, the most serious allegations of war crimes against US troops serving in Iraq.

Four Marines were initially charged with murder, while Capt McConnell and three other officers were charged with failing to properly investigate or report the circumstances surrounding the killings.


video
Where is the apology, Jack Murtha?!?


Certainly not here:


More On Next Year's *ahem* Democrat Victory

This morning's PGNow has an expanded version of the article that I referenced in yesterday's post. This time around, we get to hear the Republican response -- including a proposal by an unexpected Republican. Let's call it The Bad, The Good, And The Ugly.

First, The Bad:
He admitted that Democrats likely will be unable to win more support from wavering Republicans this fall for a change in the president's war policy. Some Republicans, he said, have come to him privately to express support for a withdrawal timeline. But he argued that many GOP lawmakers would hold firm in public at least until the presidential election is in full swing next year.
Anonymous Republicans. I do not doubt their existence, but I hope their constituents know who they are, and act accordingly in next year's primaries. On the other hand, those are the kind of Republicans who can drive a fickle voter into the hands of the Democrats and make Murtha's prediction come true. That's bad.

Next, The Good:

Ken Spain, a spokesman for the National Republican Congressional Committee, the campaign arm for House Republicans, countered that Democrats had also fallen short in other areas, including a pledge to make significant changes in how Congress distributes money for the lawmaker-sponsored pet projects known as earmarks.

Democrats have significantly cut back on the projects, which expanded in popularity and cost under Republicans, but Mr. Murtha himself has been the target of criticism for directing millions in federal money to his Johnstown district.

"The American public has quickly grown tired of this Democrat-led Congress, and John Murtha's unethical behavior certainly isn't changing any minds," Mr. Spain said. "Democrats should be worried about picking up their record low approval rating instead of making wild, grandiose predictions about how many seats they hope to pick up."

The Democrat-controlled Congress is unpopular. Republicans know it, Democrats know it, the American people know it. They keep re-electing the same corrupt fatcats like Murtha, then take control by running on a platform of ethical reform, and disappoint their constituency by failing to act on their promises. That's no way to keep a Contract With America. It's just the sort of thing that can drive fickle voters into the hands of the Republicans and put the lie to Murtha's predictions based on supposed voter sentiment. That's good.

Finally, the ugly:

Last year on the campaign trail, Democrats hammered Republicans on extensive spending, questionable ethics and the Iraq war to win control of both chambers of Congress for the first time since 1994.

But the Democratic victory produced only a one-seat majority in the Senate, where at least 60 votes are needed to end debate and pass major legislation, allowing GOP lawmakers to block attempts to set a firm withdrawal deadline. (The Democratic majority in the House is currently 232-201.)

[...skipping a few paragraphs...]

Sen. Jim Webb, R-Va., has proposed a bill that would require all troops to receive equal time in Iraq and at home. Current tours of duty are 15 months long.

When did Webb go back to being a Republican? He didn't; this is just an error on the part of PGNow that will probably be corrected by Noon today. But it's a nice thought. If Webb were a Republican, there would not be a Democrat majority in the Senate. Things might not necessarily be better, but at least we'd have Dick Cheney as the tie-breaking vote to give us the edge. As it stands, Webb is a Democrat and his party is still in charge. We've been teased by a typographical error. That's Ugly.

With regard to Senator Webb's proposal, let's see what the Administration has to say:

Mr. Murtha said the bill could win support in the House, but Defense Secretary Robert Gates said on Sunday that he would ask the president to veto it.

"It would be extremely difficult for us to manage that," Mr. Gates told ABC's George Stephanopoulos. "It really is a backdoor way to try and force the president to accelerate the drawdowns. Again, the drawdowns have to be based on the conditions on the ground. We have to leave Iraq in a much more stable place than it has been over the last two or three years."

It's all about the mission, Jack. Or have you forgotten?

Monday, September 17, 2007

Murtha The Prognosticator

He's been yakking it up at the National Press Club:
WASHINGTON - Pennsylvania's Rep. John Murtha today predicted that Democrats would pick up as many as 40 to 50 House seats in the 2008 election because of the public's frustration with the Iraq war, despite anger among party loyalists with Congress' inability to set a firm withdrawal timeline.
Didn't this just happen last year? Wasn't there enough anger, frustration, and just plain old negative sentiment to drive Congress into the waiting arms of the Democrats in 2006? Unless George Bush goes to Iraq and personally starts killing American troops, I can't imagine the level of frustration is going to get high enough to deliver 50 seas to the Democrats.
"You're going to see a big Democratic win," Mr. Murtha, D-Johnstown, told reporters after a speech at the National Press Club.
...while wearing a ridiculously oversized turban.
He acknowledged that there was deep dissatisfaction among anti-war activists and independents who helped Democrats win control of Congress last year, but he said their anger with the Bush administration was greater.
Originally, Bush administration policies were "chilling". They were afraid then; now they're angry. What did Yoda say, about hate, fear, and anger leading to the Dark Side? These jihadi sympathizers were already on the Dark Side.
Mr. Murtha, chairman of the powerful House Defense Appropriations Subcommittee, made an appearance at the press club to give a negative assessment of Gen. David Petraeus' report last week on the troop "surge" and President Bush's decision to gradually pull back the size of the American force in Iraq to its pre-surge level of 130,000 troops by next summer.
Is there any reason to pretend that Murtha didn't know what he was going to say about Petraeus' report before now? He's been holding out until he could have a forum all to himself. He told us last week that he wouldn't comment until today. It's not about the war, or the troops, or the Democrats, or the Republicans. It's all about Murtha being in the spotlight and cruising to an easy electoral victory. Again.
Mr. Murtha dismissed reports of progress in Iraq, arguing that U.S. troops were still refereeing a bloody civil war between Shiite and Sunni Muslims and cited a string of negative statistics: only two to six hours of electricity in Baghdad each day, a national unemployment rate of 50 percent, and two million Iraqi refugees.
Quoting a body of statistics is well and good, but there's no meat on those bones; or, as an old German teacher of mine would say, it needs "mehr Blut". Who's out of work? Why are those people leaving Iraq? I'd like to hear details to back up those stats, Jack.
He also said the strains of four years of fighting would require the U.S. to begin a limited pullout in the coming months, with or without the approval of the president.
Whoa. Is Murtha going to lead a military revolt against the Commander-In-Chief? Short of a major offensive on the part of the enemy, the military can not pull out "without the approval of the president". Either Murtha is hoping for a major Jihadi advance, or he is exhorting the U.S. forces in Iraq to stage an uprising.
"They can't sustain the troops in Iraq," he said. "It's just a fact."
In the mind of Jack Murtha, "fact" is just another word for wishful thinking. It's a fact that we can't sustain him in Washington. Can we have Diana Irey run again? Please?

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Charity Begins at Home

It isn't surprising to find out that John Murtha has found some creative ways of avoiding FEC regulations. It isn't even surprising that he's tried establishing a slush fund for his campaigns using his defense contractor cronies. While these things aren't surprising, they are disgusting. Thanks to the bloggers at Redstate, we now know about the slush fund known as PAID (Pennsylvania Association for Individuals with Disabilities). Here's what's happening:
GuideStar, an organization that tracks charitable organizations, reported the group’s accomplishments were "construct(ing) a new Website to accommodate diverse client needs in conducting a search for employment," and "recruit(ing) new employer partners committed to interviewing and hiring individuals with disabilities."

But neither PAID, GuideStar, nor any other organization tracking charitable organizations has reported on what appears to be major part of PAID’s mission: voter registration.

As a tax-exempt charitable organization, PAID is required to file an Internal Revenue Service (IRS) Form 990, "which provides the public with financial information about a given organization, and is often the only source of such information. It is also used by government agencies to prevent organizations from abusing their tax-exempt status."

PAID’s tax documents report the organization spent a total of $600,138 between 2003 and 2005 for "training and securing employment for disabled individuals," as well as "assisting disabled individuals with voter registration."
It isn't surprising to find out that that's just the tip of a very big iceberg:
According to a report in Roll Call earlier this week, PAID has had questionable success as a job training and placement organization. Disability advocates in Pennsylvania told the paper they had never heard of PAID.

"Since its creation, PAID claims to have helped 237 people with disabilities obtain permanent jobs," they reported. "But the organization has never been mentioned in a local newspaper and it does not appear to have ever been awarded any of the myriad citations given by agencies that employ people with disabilities."
In other words, it's useless in doing what it reportedly is supposed to do. It isn't a stretch to think that this is essentially a shell company used to funnel defense contractors' money into voter registration drives in John Murtha's district. This is at least as sleazy as Murtha's Abscam folly. Here's how it works:
An invitation obtained by majorityap.com reports that the Pennsylvania Association for Individuals with Disabilities (PAID) will sponsor a charity golf tournament priced at upwards of $10,000 on September 24, 2007, at the Argyle Country Club in Silver Springs, MD.

The group first came under fire in December, 2006, after the Washington Post reported "PAID has become a gathering point for defense contractors and lobbyists with business before Murtha's defense appropriations subcommittee, and for Pennsylvania businesses and universities that have thrived on federal money obtained by Murtha."
In other words, a 'charity' funded by John Murtha's defense contractor cronies pays for regularly scheduled voter registration drives in John Murtha's district. What's worse is that, because the money is going into a 'charity', that 'charity' doesn't have to report who's giving how much to the charity. Here's some more PAID funny business:
As late as June 25, 2007, PAID’s website named Murtha as its Honorary Chairman. His name has since been removed from the group’s Internet homepage.

PAID’s stated claim of representing "60 million persons with disabilities" was questioned by Roll Call’s Paul Singer, who reported that well-established organizations aiding Pennsylvania’s disabled "had never heard of or worked with PAID."

A study by the U.S. Census Bureau found that roughly 50 million Americans reported some level of disability; meaning that if PAID’s claims were accurate, they represented more than the entire nationwide population of the disabled.
It's time to shut PAID down. It's time the people of PA-12 dumped this serial ethics violator. There's a reason why even Soros-funded CREW (Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington) put him on their list. It's because it's difficult to find proof that there's even a single ethical bone in Rep. Murtha's body.

Frankly, this reeks of the type of cronyism that Dan Rostenkowski built up during the time he chaired the House Ways and Means Committee. Rostenkowski didn't even bother hiding it. In fact, he bragged about his golf trips with lobbyists, possibly because he thought of those trips as a status symbol. The only difference I see between Murtha's 'charity' golf tournament and Rostenkowski's lobbyist-paid golf trips is that Murtha is attempting to hide his involvement in this unethical game.

I strongly recommend you read both of MajorityAP's reports on Murtha's latest scandal.