Tuesday, April 07, 2009

Murtha Padding His Buddys' Pockets...AGAIN..

In what looks like a Blagojevich-style pay-to-play scheme--to the tune of over 1 BILLION dollars! Harper's has the details:

A few weeks ago, I reported here on a plan by Congressman John Murtha’s friends and campaign donors to obtain up to $1 billion for a controversial project to build a biodefense manufacturing facility. The players included:

Lobby shop Ervin Technical Associates (ETA), founded by Jim Ervin, a retired Air Force lieutenant colonel, who the Wall Street Journal describes as a “longtime friend” of Murtha.

Private equity firm Four Seasons Ventures, which Ervin also helped found and which “primarily invests in technologies… that will garner United States government support.” Four Seasons invests in at least two firms that have received federal earmarks with Murtha’s help, including PharmaThene, a biodefense firm–which also retains ETA as its lobbyist.

The University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, which also retains ETA and which is a major donor to Murtha.

These three outfits have been seeking funding for a manufacturing plant that would produce biodefense products, even though the grounds for such a facility (as explained in the original story) are highly dubious. The players have been putting the project together since at least 2005, and UPMC conducted a $3 million “conceptual study” funded by the Defense Applied Research Projects Agency (DARPA).

Read the whole thing. Ken Silverstein concludes:
In other words, Murtha has been supporting a highly questionable project that has benefited an interlocking network of his political funders and friends in private industry.
The Q & A is quite elusive, and Murtha has been a master of dipping his toes into the quicksand of corruption that has been the hallmark of his career without getting his entire body wet. Remember Abscam?
"I want to deal with you guys awhile before I make any transactions at all, period.... After we've done some business, well, then I might change my mind...."

..."I'm going to tell you this. If anybody can do it -- I'm not B.S.-ing you fellows -- I can get it done my way." he boasted. "There's no question about it."...

But the reluctant Murtha wouldn't touch the $50,000. Here on secret videotape was this all-American hero, tall and dignified in a disheveled way, explaining why he wasn't quite ready to accept the cash.

"All at once," he said, "some dumb [expletive deleted] would go start talking eight years from now about this whole thing and say [expletive deleted], this happened. Then in order to get immunity so he doesn't go to jail, he starts talking and fingering people. So the [S.O.B.] falls apart."...

"You give us the banks where you want the money deposited," offered one of the bagmen.

"All right," agreed Murtha. "How much money we talking about?"

"Well, you tell me."

"Well, let me find out what is a reasonable figure that will get their attention," said Murtha, "because there are a couple of banks that have really done me some favors in the past, and I'd like to put some money in....["]

The dialogue continued as follows:

Amoroso: Let me ask you now that we're together. I was under the impression, OK, and I told Howard [middleman Howard Criden] what we were willing to pay, and [This is where the available videotape begins]I went out, I got the $50,000. OK? So what you're telling me, OK, you're telling me that that's not what you know....

Murtha: I'm not interested...

Amoroso: OK.

Murtha: ...At this point, [This is where the available videotape ends] you know, we do business together for a while. Maybe I'll be interested and maybe I won't.... Right now, I'm not interested in those other things. Now, I won't say that some day, you know, I, if you made an offer, it may be I would change my mind some day.
Yep.. Jihad Jack was more than ready to wheel and deal, if the price was right. Without a question, in my opinion, John P. Murtha is the biggest con-man alive in Congress today.


Glenn Reynolds has even more on Murtha's abject, in-your-face corruption:
Congress: The PMA Noose. “Rep. John Murtha (D-Pa.), chairman of the Appropriations Subcommittee on Defense, released dozens of earmark requests late Thursday, including millions of dollars for projects sponsored by former PMA clients. Rep. Peter Visclosky (D-Ind.), who in previous years had sought earmarks for PMA clients, released his earmark list without a single request for a former PMA client.”
Even with the PMA scandal fresh in the minds of the public, even in the midst of an intensive FBI investigation, the brazenly, genetically corrupt Jack Murtha is still doling out the taxpayer-funded goodies to his buddies.

To call it chutzpah would be the understatement of the century.