Why So "Hard" on Altmire & Murtha?
It's absolutely essential that America stop being deceived into electing figures like Tom Foley, Duke Cunningham, Howard Jefferson (with the $90,000 in his freezer), Alcee Hastings (impeached by the House and convicted by the Senate), and John Murtha. One reason that I've criticized Jason Altmire is that he's working hard to become a member of this appalling group.
Among elected figures in Western Pennsylvania, unethical behavior is extremely common. We've seen a steady stream of officials either indicted or designed as unindicted co-conspirators.
Frankly, dishonesty has become the norm in this area of Pennsylvania, particularly among Democrats. We've seen one major figure after another, including a city councilman, a state senator and a judge, convicted of extortion and bribery.
There's a saying that the local newspaper, the Post-Gazette, goes on endorsing Democratic candidates until the moment before they're led off in leg irons.
One unindicted co-conspirator the Post-Gazette especially admires in John Murtha, congressman from the 12th District and a memorable participant in the Abscam situation. In most elections, Murtha runs either unopposed or with token opposition.
He's been in Congress for 32 years. He's a career politician, whose job is being a deal-making member of the House of Representatives.
During the last campaign, Republican Diana Irey asked the US Attorney for Western Pennsylvania to start an investigation to “determine whether or not Congressman Jack Murtha violated the Ethics Reform Act of 1989 by accepting campaign contributions in exchange for placing earmarked appropriations into legislation he is largely responsible for drafting and pushing to passage.”
An independent group, Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW), charged Murtha with regularly trading federal contracts, loans, and grants for campaign contributions.
How exactly does this work? Let's look at the words of Diana Irey, citing a detailed report on Murtha's behavior: “‘Paul Magliocchetti worked with Rep. Murtha as a senior staffer on the Defense Appropriations Subcommittee for ten years.’
‘After leaving the committee, Mr. Magliocchetti founded the PMA Group, which has become one of the prominent Washington, DC defense lobbying firms. In the current campaign cycle , the PMA Group and 11 of the firm’s clients rank in the top 20 contributors to Rep. Murtha, having made contributions totaling $274,649.
"In the 2002 and 2004 cycles, PMA and nine of the firm’s clients ranked in the top 20 contributors, having made $236,799 in contributions and $279,074, respectively. ‘In turn, many of PMA’s clients have benefited significantly from Rep. Murtha’s earmarks. In the 2006 Defense Appropriations bill, PMA clients received at least 60 earmarks at a total of $95.01 million.’
Mrs. Irey continues: “Stop and think about that for a moment. Over the last six years, officials and clients of the PMA Group have contributed roughly $800,000 to Congressman Murtha’s campaign fund."
"In return, they have received at least $95 million in federal contracts, loans, and grants. That’s a better than 100-to-1 return on investment.”
Will the US Attorney respond to Diana Irey's request? Let's hope so.
One thing she might investigate is where the $2.5 million (approximately) Murtha spent on his large invisible campaign actually went.