CBS News has learned the FBI is investigating a little-known not-for-profit organization called Commonwealth Research Institute. It's located, like a lot of Rep. John Murtha's, D-Penn., pet projects, in his hometown, Johnstown, Penn.Okay--here comes the juicy part:
Commonwealth gets the same benefits as the Salvation Army or any other charity: It doesn't have to pay taxes. But its line of work may be surprising. It's a defense contractor.
"It certainly raises a question," says Dean Zerbe, a former top Senate investigator. He questions Commonwealth's tax exempt status, saying it seems to do business just like any for-profit defense contractor.
"There’s a lot of tests to being a charity, and just saying, ‘Well I’m doing research paid for by the government," said Zerbe, " - if that were the case, I would have 10,000 companies that would tomorrow be a charity."
If Commonwealth were not a charity, it could owe roughly one-third of its profits in taxes. That could add up to millions, on more than $45 million dollars in government contracts. But it pays nothing.
Documents show when Commonwealth was formed, company officials touted their connections to "the local Congressman" Murtha.And, in grand "Murtha fashion,"
For the biggest hint as to what Commonwealth is all about, it may help to know something about its parent company, Concurrent Technologies. Concurrent is another defense contractor in Johnstown, also registered as a charity at the same address. And, with the help of Murtha and The PMA Group, a lobby firm that's also under FBI investigation, Concurrent has gotten a billion dollars-plus in defense contracts and earmarks.You remember Concurrent Technologies. We reported onMurtha's connections with Concurrent here, here, here, here, here, here, and here.
Concurrent employees have also given Murtha’s campaign over $95,000 in donations since 2002.
This isn't the first time Commonwealth has been involved in controversy. Back in 2007, the charity mysteriously paid $26,000 to a Pentagon official who was in between positions at the Pentagon and waiting to be confirmed for a top Air Force procurement position. The official admitted to a Washington Post reporter that he hadn’t done any work to earn the Commonwealth payment. Less than three weeks after The Post published an article on the controversy, the official committed suicide.
The incident kicked off an investigation at the Pentagon's Inspector General’s office. CBS News has learned that review has been put on hold in light of other active federal investigations into entities connected to John Murtha. Last spring Commonwealth was subpoenaed in a federal investigation into a government defense contract it received that is worth up to $45 million.
As a matter of fact, we first reported on Murtha's associations with Commonwealth
With Murtha having outlived his usefulness to the leftist media in giving them cover to try to destroy the Iraq war effort, The MSM finally seems to be getting around to be getting up to speed with the corruption that emanates from the office of Jihad Jack Murtha.
But then again, all folks had to do in the first place was to check with us.