Monday, May 04, 2009

All in the Family?

Not only can Murtha be called the earmark king of the Capitol, but it would seem that he's in charge of his own family syndicate:
WASHINGTON — Representative John P. Murtha, chairman of the House military spending subcommittee and a decorated former Marine, has long acted as a protective Uncle Jack to the Marine Corps. [TELL THAT TO THE SHARRATTS--ED]

Now the corps has named one of his nephews, Col. Brian Murtha, to the office charged with advocating for its interests on Capitol Hill, where Representative Murtha, Democrat of Pennsylvania, helps write the military budget. In relocating to be near the Pentagon, Colonel Murtha has even moved into a unit in the same condominium building where his influential uncle lives in Arlington, Va.


Nor is Colonel Murtha the first member of the Murtha family to be in a position to profit from his uncle’s influence. The congressman earmarked millions of federal dollars to an institution in his district, St. Vincent College, while the Rev. John F. Murtha, his cousin, was its president. He has directed millions more in earmarks to clients of a firm, KSA Consulting, where until about three years ago his younger brother, Robert Murtha, known as Kit, worked as a lobbyist.

Colonel Murtha is one of Kit Murtha’s sons. Another son, also named Robert Murtha, is a former Marine with a master’s degree in engineering. He previously worked for two military contractors who, seeking earmarks, hired a lobbyist with close ties to Representative Murtha.

Over the last three years, the younger Robert Murtha has operated Murtech Inc., a small contractor in Glen Burnie, Md., that runs a warehouse and offers engineering services. It has received more than $3.5 million in military contracts over the last three years, not including subcontracts through other companies.

He is also a founder of another company, Ocean Energy Systems Inc., which is seeking federal financing to support its research into the generation of power from the motion of waves.

There is no evidence, however, that this nephew has received any earmarks or otherwise benefited from Representative Murtha’s position.

Asked if the family name helped Ocean Energy, the company’s chief executive, Brian Cunningham, said, “It does and it doesn’t.”

Representative Murtha is under so much scrutiny, Mr. Cunningham said, that Robert Murtha “can’t raise his head at all on this, for fear that it will be connected with his uncle.