“For all the billions in federal contracts the congressman has
steered to the region in the past ten years, now at a rate of $100
million a year, joblessness in his distressed district has not
Hunters Point Redevelopment,
Murtha's corrupt ties
NANCY PELOSI BLOCKS CONGRESSIONAL INVESTIGATION
April 10, 2009:
Speaker of the House Nancy
Pelosi continues to resist an investigation of her controversial
colleague despite a growing number of defections within the
Democratic Party and an advancing investigation from outside the halls
of Congress that she controls...
the San Francisco Chronicle, Pelosi called in Rep. John
Murtha to lean on U.S. Navy officials to sign a contract to transfer the
Hunters Point Shipyard to the City of San Francisco -- a company called Lennar Inc. had
right to the land, and Laurence Pelosi, nephew to House Minority
Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), was an executive with the firm at
nonprofit group started by
Murtha set up
'PAID' (Pennsylvania Association for
Individuals with Disabilities) -- a move reminiscent of Jack
Abramoff’s non-profit rip-off scheme. This has been a great way
for Murtha to skim money from taxpayers as the
Washington Post reported. Of course, Murtha did this
long in advance of Abramoff.
KSA lobbying firm run by Murtha's brother, Kit
Murtha's providing earmark legislation that resulted in Murtha’s brother,
Robert "Kit" Murtha, being hired by the lobbying group KSA
Consulting in 2002. Two years later, at least 10 KSA clients
profited from a $417 billion defense appropriations bill,
including seven companies that received $20.8 million in federal
Murtha's long association with Paul Magliocchetti and Murtha’s providing
defense contracts to Magliocchetti’s lobbying firm, PMA. In the
2006 election year 11 of Magliocchetti’s clients gave the
congressman $274,649 in contributions. In the 2004 and 2002
election cycles, PMA and its clients gave Murtha a total of more
"As ranking Democrat on the Defense
Appropriations Subcommittee, the big-spending Murtha represents the
of the armed forces about as much as a sausage salesman can
be called the conscience of pigs."
Business Daily, 10/3/2006
WRITE or CALL MURTHA:
Rep. John Murtha
2423 Rayburn HOB
Washington, DC 20515
(202) 225-5709 fax
Rep. John Murtha
P.O. Box 780
Johnstown, PA 15907
(814) 539-6229 fax
12th District Toll-free:
(HotAir)... writes Morrissey: "After the death of
John Murtha, media interest in the corruption probe of a lobbying shop run by
one of his former aides dissipated, but investigatory interest continued.
Yesterday, the Department of Justice arrested and charged Paul Magliocchetti
eleven counts of corruption and conspiracy, alleging a scheme
to get hundreds of thousands of dollars from political contributions and federal
Murtha died before prosecutors could get indictments for
Magliocchetti, but Visclosky and his peers are still very much alive. They had
better hope that Magliocchetti can keep his mouth shut, but a man facing 11
counts of serious federal crimes has a tendency to loosen his tongue...
(NavyTimes)... Despite the encomia from Nancy Pelosi
and Navy Secretary Ray Mabus, thousands of Web users remembered a different
Murtha - the one who opposed the Iraq war and accused Marines in 2005 of killing
Iraqis "in cold blood"...
Hughes, IPW-PAC Chairman
2010… John Murtha is dead at 77. He served 36 years in the U.S.
House of Representatives. He was a political patriarch to Speaker
Following his Abscam escape as an unindicted co-conspirator,
Murtha’s claim in the
1980 FBI Abscam video of wanting to be in Congressional
leadership was dashed. He then proceeded to push Rep. Nancy Pelosi
forward into a leadership position. Despite his past scandals, in
2006 he made a run for Majority Leader against Steny Hoyer and
received Pelosi’s endorsement. Murtha failed miserably in his
than part of the reason for this failure was Murtha’s well known
corrupt status. Murtha frequently tried to hide his corrupt
practices by saying, “If I’m corrupt, it’s because I take care of
Washington Post story showed that Murtha’s Pennsylvania
District 12 had continued to decline, probably because of Murtha’s
pork-barrel projects and corrupt practices.
support from Pelosi was tied to his helping to steer money into
her family’s pocket. As the powerful Chairman and at times Ranking
Member of the Armed Services Budget Committee, he made sure
military bases in San Francisco were profitably maneuvered to the
Pelosi’s development interest at a steal. This is especially true
Hunters Point Naval Yard, and Murtha in the last few years
also attended the Presidio celebration in which Pelosi and her
husband are direct investors.
for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) had Murtha on
most corrupt Congressmen list for five years in a row. At the
time of his death, Murtha was undoubtedly a person of interest in
an F.B.I. investigation for criminal acts.
a former Murtha senior aide, was the head of the lobbying firm PMA,
whose offices and Magliocchetti’s home were
raided by the F.B.I. Magliocchetti was one of the keys to
providing Murtha with quid pro quo contributions to Murtha’s
political campaigns. Murtha would provide millions of dollars in
earmarks for $100,000 in campaign contributions.
It has been reported that Magliocchetti used fake
contributions from his family to give contributions to Murtha and
Robert (Kit) Murtha, also
benefitted directly from Rep. John Murtha’s earmarks going to
his employer lobbying firm’s (KSA Consulting) clients.
In an irony that
only Murtha could think as funny, he set up a nonprofit
organization with the acronym of
P.A.I.D. (Pennsylvanian Association for Individuals with
Disabilities). There is no knowing how much money was funneled
into this nonprofit by those companies who benefited from Murtha’s
earmarks, and there is no knowing how much Murtha hid away.
Murtha was a
decorated Vietnam Marine Corps Veteran and the first veteran of
that war to be elected to Congress. He was much hated by many
veterans for his lying about Marines in Haditha and saying,
“They killed innocent civilians in cold blood.”
special honors from the freaky fringe group known as “Code Pink.”
The group is known for sending aide to Saddam Hussein before the
Iraq War II began.
Many a Marine said
that Murtha was a ‘former Marine,’ meaning Murtha was no longer a
Marine in their eyes. The Corps believes that once a Marine,
always a Marine. Even though the Hadidtha Marines he accused were
found to be innocent, Murtha never apologized for convicting them
on national television before they were charged or tried.
Speculation is now
that Murtha is dead, some people may begin to tell the story of
Murtha and Pelosi’s corrupt deals.
Malkin: "... We are not supposed
to speak ill of the dead. But those whom the deceased viciously
smeared and humiliated deserve to be defended. Entrenched Rep.
John Murtha passed away on Feb. 8 after a botched gallbladder
surgery. He has been hailed as a "military advocate" (Associated
Press) and "one of the greatest patriots ever to serve in
Congress" (former Rep. Harold Ford Jr.).
obsequious obituaries leave out inconvenient truths: John "Jack"
Murtha was an unrepentant smear merchant and corruptocrat to the
the so-called "military advocate," went to his deathbed refusing
to apologize or retract the attacks on the Haditha Marines
(several of whom unsuccessfully sued him for libel to restore
their honor). Decent people would call this intransigent
"... The big-mouth
lawmaker treated his own constituents with trademark contempt.
During his last congressional campaign, he mocked voters in his
district as bigots...
and forever, Jack Murtha took care of Jack Murtha... By the time
of his death, Murtha had been caught intervening on behalf of a
law-breaking Pennsylvania company convicted of selling military
equipment parts illegally overseas; had steered unprecedented
billions in federal earmarks to friends, family and donors; had
earned multiple "most corrupt in Congress" designations from both
the left-leaning Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in
Washington [CREW] and the right-leaning Judicial Watch; and had
remained intimately tied to PMA Group, a former lobbying firm
under federal investigation, and Kuchera Industries, a defense
contractor also under federal investigation.
From his character
assassination of innocents to his insatiable appetite for pork and
power, Jack Murtha embodied everything that is wrong with
Washington. If only the culture of corruption he serviced could be
buried six feet under with him.
Rep. John Murtha was back in the hospital Tuesday after undergoing
gallbladder surgery last week... the congressman’s spokesman
refused comment on the seriousness of his condition or any
complication that required hospitalization...
Ryan Bucchianeri, 34, of
Monongahela is seeking the Democratic nomination in the 12th
Congressional District. It is his first bid for public office.
“Voters I talk with believe it is time to turn the page and elect
new leadership,” he said...
The Navy suspended Kuchera Defense Systems Inc., and its two
owners, brothers Bill and Ronald Kuchera, from entering into new
contracts with the federal government, a Navy spokesman confirmed.
The suspension took effect on Dec. 22, and it marks the second
time in less than a year that the firm was barred from new
business with the government. Kuchera, based in Windber, Pa, has
relied heavily on support from Murtha, who chairs the powerful
Defense Appropriations Subcommittee....
Suspension or debarment of firms from receiving government
contracts is a rare and dramatic step. Fewer than 300 individuals
and corporations in the world have been forbidden by the Navy from
entering into new deals with government agencies. This move by the
Navy once again puts a spotlight on Murtha's relationship with
companies in his district that have received earmarks.
Murtha has steered more than $50 million in earmarks to several
Kuchera-owned companies. Employees at those companies have donated
about $65,000 to Murtha’s campaigns, and the brothers hosted a
fundraiser for Murtha at their Pennsylvania ranch...
it now appears the Murtha/O’Toole favor factory has begun
production. ... Just as the year was closing and no one was paying
attention, O’Toole’s friends at PharmAthene were
awarded a sole-source contract, which has resulted in their
stock nearly doubling. ... This leads one to ask, who is
PharmAthene, what are O’Toole’s ties, and why would the government
single them out for a sole source giveaway at taxpayer expense?
PharmAthene is a company
founded and run by Murtha cronies who have extremely close ties to
O’Toole. In fact, O’Toole was head of the Center for Biosecurity,
which is connected to the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center
(UPMC), and both Murtha and O’Toole’s friends are working
position UPMC for a major biosecurity, vaccine-production contract
that would result in billions flowing to Murtha’s district, and
O’Toole’s private equity and lobbyist friends. According a recent
report, this facility would be run by a mysterious
unnamed biotechnology company. Anyone care to guess who that
unnamed company is rumored to be?
Rep. John Murtha (R-Pa.), the House’s top defense appropriator
[and Earmark King of Pork], will hold a celebratory fundraising
event in February to mark his becoming the longest-serving member
of Congress from Pennsylvania....
A Washington Post analysis of Murtha's earmarks
shows that his job promises often come up short. Of 16 local
companies the congressman has helped win federal earmarks, 10 have
generated far fewer jobs than forecast, and half of those already
have closed operations in his district...
... The Post analysis illustrates the fleeting
success of some of the companies backed by earmarks. Some of the
jobs generated by Murtha's earmarks cost about $2 million each,
and scores disappeared as soon as projects were completed.
... For all the billions in federal
contracts the congressman has steered to the region in the past 10
years, now at a rate of $100 million a year, joblessness in his
distressed district has not improved. In six of the nine counties
in his district, the unemployment rate rose or did not budge, from
1998 to 2008, according to state employment records...
... The Times' review of public
records found a pattern of donations from unlikely sources that
were directed to congressmen Mr. Magliocchetti wanted to support.
In some cases, the donors did not appear to have the personal
funds necessary to make such substantial donations. In others, the
donors had rarely voted or given donations before they started
supporting Mr. Magliocchetti's slate of candidates.
The unlikely donors include Mr.
Magliocchetti's first wife's parents, two business associates - a
golf pro and a wine sommelier who lived near his Florida condo -
his children, and his former sister-in-law and her husband, a
Virginia police officer...
...Melanie Sloan, the
executive director of Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in
Washington, said congressional investigators have not been
aggressive enough. “Yet again it appears that the congressional
ethics committees exist to clear people of wrong doing,” she
... Murtha said he remains unconvinced
the troop increase is a good idea but believes he and other
anti-war Democrats will not be able to stop it. "It's not likely
that there would be any circumstances where the president would
lose this battle this year," he said...
Government prosecutors charging Chessani with criminal wrongdoing
lost at every stage. The case was thrown out of military court,
and an appellate court affirmed the decision.
But in this final trial, Chessani
faces a board of inquiry in a military courtroom at the Marine
base at Camp Pendleton, Calif., that doesn't require the same
standards of evidence and conviction as a criminal court. If found
guilty of misconduct, Chessani could be compelled to retire from
service at a lesser rank...
... will the U.S. really have more
troops in Afghanistan than the Soviets did?
Technically, no. At the height of the
war, in 1986, there were about 118,000 Soviet troops in
Afghanistan, according to an American University study. Today,
with the 30,000 more American troops being sent to Afghanistan,
the U.S. commitment will top out at about 100,000...
... The president “made a pretty good
case if you believe the dangers to national security,” Murtha
said. Murtha has said for weeks that he does not see an
“achievable goal” for U.S. forces in Afghanistan...
The Murtha-backed effort surrounding
UPMC now has the support of another Pennsylvania Democrat, Arlen
Specter. Sources tell THE WEEKLY STANDARD that the Philadelphia
Democrat is looking for a way to
ingratiate himself with powerbrokers in western Pennsylvania
and believes he has found it by supporting the billion-dollar UPMC
Ways and Means Committee Chairman Rep. Charles B. Rangel, 20-term
New York Democrat, and Defense Appropriations subcommittee
Chairman Rep. John P. Murtha, 19-term Pennsylvania Democrat, are
the poster children for how failed ethics cops protect old-guard
lawmakers. While under investigation by the ethics committee, they
continue to hold onto power in the face of obvious signs of
... The investigations by two separate
ethics offices include an examination of the chairman of the
Appropriations subcommittee on defense,
John P. Murtha (D-Pa.), as well as others who
helped steer federal funds to clients of the PMA Group. The
lawmakers received campaign contributions from the firm and its
clients. A document obtained by The Washington Post shows that the
subcommittee members under scrutiny also include Peter J.
James P. Moran Jr. (D-Va.), Norm Dicks (D-Wash.),
Marcy Kaptur (D-Ohio) ,
C.W. Bill Young (R-Fla.) and
Todd Tiahrt (R-Kan.).
The document also indicates that the
House ethics committee's staff recently interviewed the staff of
Rep. Devin Nunes (R-Calif.) about his allegation
that a PMA lobbyist threatened him in 2007 when he resisted
steering federal funds to a PMA client. The lobbyist told a Nunes
staffer that if the lawmaker didn't help, the defense contractor
would move out of Nunes's district and take dozens of jobs with
... Together, the seven legislators
have personally steered more than $200 million in earmarks to
clients of the PMA Group in the past two years, and received more
than $6.2 million in campaign contributions from PMA and its
clients in the past decade...
... According to databases maintained
by the Defense Department and the Office of Management and Budget,
MobilVox had not received any Defense contracts before it began
working with Mr. Moran and Mr. Murtha.
But MobilVox has received or shared in
nine earmarks sponsored by the two lawmakers since 2003 totaling
$12.35 million, according to records and interviews.
During that same period, MobilVox
officers and employees donated $39,000 to Mr. Murtha and his
various political committees and $21,000 to Mr. Moran, records
The conservative Family Research Council's political action
committee plans to target 16 congressional races in 2010 --
including Rep. John P. Murtha. The group's president, Tony
Perkins, said the PAC has a goal of raising $1 million to boost
grassroots activity in targeted races...
... By a vote of 43-53, the Senate
defeated a measure that would have stripped federal funding from a
barely-used airport named after Rep. John Murtha, D-Pa.
The provision was introduced by Senate
anti-earmark crusader Jim DeMint, R-S.C., whose office provided
"fun facts" about the alleged uselessness of the airport.
"More people fly out of an airport
near the north pole than do out of the John Murtha airport (last
year the Murtha airport handed 6,700 passengers, compared to
37,000 at the airport in Barrow, Alaska)."
According to Taxpayers for Common
Sense, the federal government has pumped $200 million into the
airport, located two hours east of Pittsburgh. Jim Ellis, Vice
President of TCS, called it "practically a museum piece."...
... John Murtha, chairman of the House
Defense Appropriations subcommittee, has been criticized by ethics
and taxpayer advocacy groups for channeling hundreds of millions
of Pentagon dollars to companies represented by lobbying firms
headed by close associates who are also major donors to his
Using a computer analysis of public
records, the Center for Public Integrity found that 12 of the
committee's 16 members have mimicked Murtha's pattern of
earmarking, providing targeted military funds to specific
contractors represented by former staffers and friends. Numerous
investigative stories have focused on projects Murtha and fellow
lawmakers Peter J. Visclosky (D-Ind.) ans James P. Moran (D-Va.)
have funded with military money, but other committee members'
earmark requests have not faced similar scrutiny.
According to the center's analysis,
which focused on the 2008 fiscal year, the pattern of steering
earmarks to clients of the lawmakers' former staffers who had
become lobbyists involved 50 earmarks and campaign donations of
more than $1 million. A significant chunk of the money was steered
to clients of PMA, but also to clients of another 10 lobbying
firms, including such prominent firms as Van Scoyoc Associates
Inc. and Innovative Strategies, formerly Copeland Lowery Jaquez
Denton & White.
Politicians send me stuff all the time. I don’t know why, but I do
not complain. Many a gem in the old e-mail. I got a kick out of
this one from Republican Tim Burns, a rookie politician who is
taking on Democratic Congressman and Unindicted Abscam
Co-Conspirator Jack Murtha.
MURTHA SAYS HE
DOESN’T SUPPORT HIS OWN BILL?
Johnstown, PA – U.S. Congressman
John Murtha told a group of constituents on a tele-town hall
yesterday, “I haven’t seen a [healthcare] bill I would vote
for.” ( Tribune Democrat article) Yet, Congressman Murtha
cosponsored his own healthcare bill, H.R. 676, which would
create a government run single payer healthcare system ( H.R.
“How can John Murtha, in good
conscience, tell his constituents he hasn’t seen a healthcare
bill he would vote for, when he is the cosponsor of a true,
single payer government run healthcare bill?” questioned
Congressional candidate Tim Burns. “Within the last month,
Murtha has said healthcare reform won’t pass this year. Then he
said it would get passed by the end of the year. Last night he
said he expects it to get passed early in 2010, and now he is
telling voters that he hasn’t seen a healthcare bill that he
would vote for, including his own plan to create a single payer
health system,” asserted Tim Burns...
... A former Air Force contractor
pleaded guilty Monday to a false statement and
conflict-of-interest charge in a widening case involving several
defense companies with ties to Rep. John Murtha.
Mark O’Hair faces up to 10 years in
prison and a $500,000 fine for omitting any reference to his
position as a director of a defense company on financial
disclosure forms required for his position as a civilian program
officer. The company received more than $200,000 in government
contracts while O’Hair was in charge of awarding contractors for
the Air Force Research Laboratory at Eglin Air Force Base in
O’Hair is the second defense
contractor is a week to plead guilty and agree to cooperate with a
federal probe of an earmarked contract Murtha directed to several
... The Murtha money trail is far from
fully explored but already features a second tangent of
Congressional appropriations staff members’ exiting through the
golden door to defense lobbying and scoring big contracts from
their old bosses. Taxpayers should press the question of what all
this has to do with Mr. Murtha (who has also used his gavel to
create a luxury supermart of defense contractors in his
Beyond the criminal investigation, a
full-scale ethics inquiry should be pressed by House Democrats and
Speaker Nancy Pelosi. If not, the Murtha money trail could lead
them back to the minority...
federal court documents you read, the less optimistic you become
about Rep. John Murtha's future in politics...
A prominent defense lobbying firm, PMA
Group, was founded by a former Murtha congressional staffer. In
the 2006 election cycle alone, PMA and 11 of its clients
contributed $274,649 to Murtha in campaign donations. In the 2006
defense appropriations bill, those firms received at least $95
million in military earmarks.
PMA, whose offices were raided by the
feds last year, is under investigation for allegedly making "straw
man" donations to lawmakers.
Despite all of this, the
Democrat-controlled House in March refused to proceed with a
sensible call by Republicans to investigate the lobbying firm. The
House also rejected an effort to cut any earmarks for PMA clients
in a $410 billion spending bill.
It's not clear where these probes will
lead. But it's crystal clear that Murtha is becoming more of a
headache, not less of one, for his Democratic colleagues...
has opposed stricter campaign finance rules, is no stranger to
money-in-politics scandals, having been named an unindicted
co-conspirator in the FBI’s Abscam sting operation in 1980, a role
for which he was not prosecuted.
In a March story about the controversies currently surrounding
Murtha, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette quoted him as saying: “If I’m
corrupt, it’s because I take care of my district.”...
contracting firm that hired the brother of Rep. John Murtha as its
lobbyist took the proceeds from a Murtha-provided, &8.2 million
Air Force earmark and distributed hundreds of thousands of dollars
to other companies represented by the Congressman's brother for
items that were not part of the project, the Justice Department
... Kickback charges against a defense
contractor are putting the Democratic Congressional Campaign
Committee under pressure to return $17,000 in campaign donations.
At press time, the DCCC had not said
whether it would return funds donated over the last three election
cycles by Richard Ianieri, former president and CEO of Coherent
Systems International Corp., who faces the kickback charges. He
also gave $13,500 to Rep. John Murtha (D-Pa.).
Other Coherent Systems employees gave
an additional $21,300 to Murtha...
... A former executive of a
Pennsylvania defense firm with close ties to Rep.
John P. Murtha (D-Pa.) has agreed to plead guilty to taking
bribes from a partner defense company and is cooperating in a
federal investigation of Pentagon contracting, records show.
Richard Ianieri, the former president
of Coherent Systems International, agreed in court filings to
admit that he took $200,000 in bribes from officials at a firm the
company hired as a subcontractor. The charges were filed in court
Monday and in more detail yesterday afternoon by federal
prosecutors in Pittsburgh. They also indicate that Ianieri has
consented to pleading guilty to the Pennsylvania charges in
federal court in northern Florida, where he had faced unspecified
but potentially related charges.
The company that allegedly paid
Ianieri the bribes, identified in court filings only as "K,"
closely resembles Kuchera Defense Systems, which is based in
Murtha's congressional district and was a subcontractor to
Coherent. Kuchera Defense Systems and its sister company, Kuchera
Industries, are under federal investigation for allegations of
fraud and overbilling on Defense Department contracts...
... The PMA
Group, the lobbying titan that closed its doors in March after an
FBI raid, has filed more than a dozen lawsuits against former
clients for failure to pay outstanding debts. Now, one company has
responded with a $3 million countersuit that alleges PMA cheated
it out of an earmark it was expecting to receive...
a Michigan-based defense engineering company with its sights set
on developing an alternative to the military’s Humvee, received a
$3 million earmark in last year’s budget for the advancement of
CLAIMS THAT Washington lawmakers
exchange earmarks for campaign contributions are nothing new. But
the swirl of allegations surrounding the PMA Group, a defense
lobbying firm that doled out millions of dollars to lawmakers
before closing its doors after an alleged raid by federal agents
last November, and Rep. John P. Murtha (D-Pa.) in particular, is
unusually far-reaching. The cozy relationship between certain
members of Congress and PMA is worrying, and we're glad that the
House ethics committee is taking a closer look.
The PMA Group, a lobbying firm started
by former Murtha aide Paul Magliochetti, handed out more than $40
million to members of Congress from 1998 to 2009, according to the
New York Times. The Times reported that members of Congress set
aside $300 million in earmarks for PMA's clients last year; Mr.
Murtha alone earmarked $38.1 million...
... Rep. John Murtha steered millions
of dollars in defense work to a campaign donor and the Pentagon
went along with it, even though two convicted drug dealers had
been deeply involved with the company.
Records filed in U.S. District Court
in Pittsburgh starting in 2005 raise questions about whether the
government ever checked into the background of William Kuchera of
Windber, Pa., a constituent who has been doing government work for
over 20 years...
... According to the court records,
William Kuchera was convicted of marijuana distribution in 1982 in
In addition, a man who describes
himself as an early partner in Kuchera's business in the 1980s is
a convicted cocaine dealer who has served two terms in prison,
according to records.
The man, Peter Whorley, sued the
Kuchera companies and William Kuchera for a share of the money the
companies have collected in federal contracts...
... In April, the Navy suspended
Kuchera Defense Systems, William Kuchera and his brother for
"alleged fraud," including "multiple incidents" of incorrect
charges, along with allegations of defective pricing and ethical
... While investigators look into
Reps. John Murtha’s (D-Pa.) and Peter Visclosky’s (D-Ind.) ties to
the firm, voters in their respective districts will ultimately get
the chance to weigh in on whether they want to send their
Representatives back to Washington for another term.
Republicans are optimistic that the
ongoing investigation and negative publicity will help make both
Members targets for defeat in 2010. Still, short of either man
facing federal indictment, the GOP faces many hurdles in its
attempts to defeat the veteran lawmakers.
“The bottom line is obviously
Republicans have a much better shot if these guys are taken away
in handcuffs,” a national Republican operative said....
Among the booths at Murtha's Showcase for
Commerce was one from Kuchera Industries, a company with
longstanding ties to Murtha. FBI agents raided the company's
Johnstown offices in January, reportedly on suspicion that it had
misused government money for some events it held.
The company also has suspended from doing
business with the Navy for alleged fraud, including what a Navy
spokesman described as "defective pricing."
Asked to comment at the trade show, a top
company official wouldn't speak with CNN...
The U.S. House approved
by a wide margin an effort to force the ethics committee to report
within 45 days on what actions, if any, it has taken to examine an
escalating federal investigation involving at least one senior
House Democrat and a defunct defense lobbying firm.
Majority Leader Steny Hoyer of
Maryland offered the resolution Wednesday on behalf of Democratic
leadership. It passed 270-134, but it was largely a symbolic move.
The vote referred the resolution to the ethics committee, which
must independently approve it before it takes effect...
... The resolution could provide
political cover for House Democrats, led by Speaker Nancy
early 2005, Rep. John Murtha (D-Pa.) apparently added language to
a tsunami relief bill shifting $8.2 million from a former client
of his brother’s lobbying firm to a new client of the same firm.
That earmark is now tangled up in a federal
indictment alleging that some of the money was skimmed by
contractors and a Defense Department employee for their personal
Murtha’s spokesman said that no one in his
office has any recollection of the transaction...
... But sources familiar with the
appropriations process agreed it was impossible that a provision
removing earmarks from one company in Murtha’s district and
transferring the money to another company in his district could
have been added to the bill without Murtha’s involvement, since he
was at the time the ranking member on the subcommittee with
jurisdiction over the language...
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-Pa.,
pet projects, in his hometown, Johnstown, Pa.
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...
... Documents show when Commonwealth was formed, company officials
touted their connections to "the local Congressman" Murtha...
... Commonwealth Research gets all of its funding from government
contracts. As for what taxpayers get in return, that’s hard to
say. Commonwealth doesn’t have a website and wouldn’t tell CBS
News how many employees work there or how they have spent millions
of tax dollars....
Tax records show that Commonwealth’s top five most highly paid
employees make six figure salaries and live all over the country.
None were made available to speak with us when we visited
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.
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...
Democrats close both of them say, the cascade of headlines about
Murtha’s network and the federal probes of contractors, lobbyists
and at least one lawmaker in his orbit have had no effect on their
... But for Democrats, the problem
appears to be getting worse. On Friday, Rep. Peter Visclosky (D-Ind.),
a close Murtha ally, announced his Congressional and campaign
offices and some staffers had been subpoenaed by a federal grand
jury as part of a probe of the PMA Group, a now-defunct lobbying
shop with strong ties to Murtha. The development for the first
time tied the investigation of the firm to a Member of Congress.
Last month, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reported that Kuchera
Defense Systems, a Windber, Pa., outfit that Murtha showered with
earmarks and that has contributed heavily to his campaigns, had
been barred from future Navy contracts amid fraud allegations...
... “There are very few people who
have assisted her advance more than Murtha,” said Marc Sandalow, a
former San Francisco Chronicle reporter who penned the Pelosi
biography “Madam Speaker.” ...
the anti-earmark fires are scandals involving Rep. John
Murtha, D-Pa. The chairman of the House Appropriations
Defense Subcommittee, Murtha is now associated with so many
pay-to-play allegations that it's getting hard to keep up...
...Four watchdog groups have asked the
House ethics committee to investigate whether any lawmakers were
improperly influenced by campaign contributions from the PMA
Group. Those calling for the probe -- Democracy 21, Common Cause,
Public Citizen and U.S. PIRG -- questioned the firm's dealings
with not just Murtha but with Reps. Peter Visclosky,
D-Ind., and Jim Moran, D-Va. Visclosky
acknowledged last week that he and members of his staff have
received federal grand jury subpoenas in the PMA probe.
Rep. Jeff Flake, R-Ariz.,
the House's leading earmarks foe, has introduced eight privileged
resolutions this year calling for the ethics committee to
investigate earmarks abuses by PMA and in general. Flake's first
such resolution, in February, drew only 17 Democrats, but his most
recent one -- introduced on May 12 -- won 29 Democratic votes...
Don’t Know Jack is an interactive graphic illustrating the
intricate web of special interests Rep. Jack Murtha (D-PA) has
spun around him.
For many years, Rep. Murtha has been
treating our tax dollars like his own personal piggy bank, doling
out funds to donors, friends, and family members who ingratiate
themselves, currying his favor. In exchange, Rep. Murtha greedily
demands and receives tribute in the form of generous campaign
donations, employment for relatives, and charitable contributions.
Move your cursor over the text on the
graphic to learn how these individuals and businesses are
connected to the congressman and how much that connection costs
them — and us.
...Over the past five years, a local defense
contractor with close ties to Rep. John Murtha ...has selected
several small police departments in the region to receive $10
million in Justice Department grants.
The company, Mountaintop Technologies, was
selected by the lawmaker in a series of earmarks to hand out and
monitor the grants. As it distributed the money to the
departments, the firm would explain each time that it was arriving
through the largess of Murtha -- often just before fall elections.
...The tale of how a defense company
ended up getting paid hundreds of thousands of dollars to
distribute federal police grants is a chapter in a larger story of
Mountaintop Technologies, its far-flung operations and its
dependence on Murtha. The Johnstown firm has received at least $36
million in the past eight years in earmarks and military
contracts, without competition and with the backing of Murtha, the
powerful chairman of the House Appropriations defense
subcommittee. It also hired the lobbying firm where Murtha's
The nephew insists “good work,” not
Uncle John, is the key to his success. But e-mails obtained by The
Washington Post show the nephew touting family clout. One message
advises a partner that a condition for “keeping funds flowing”
mandates that part of the contract money, approved through
Representative Murtha’s powerful defense appropriations
subcommittee, be channeled to companies in Johnstown, Pa., his
uncle’s home district. “This has been a requirement for what I do
to get dollars through,” Robert Murtha declared.
Such alarming candor should spark an
immediate ethics inquiry into possible violations of House
quid-pro-quo strictures. Speaker Nancy Pelosi is resistant...
. John Murtha of Johnstown is the canary
in the mine shaft. In politics, the canaries don't die. They adapt
and learn to live with the toxic fumes of public spending on
scales beyond morality or understanding. We are just about
Congressman John Murtha & friends have been supporting a
controversial biodefense facility that would develop and
manufacture “vaccines and other medical countermeasures.”
... The spokesman there also said the
program was only in its earliest stages, and said no decision had
been made about where the facility would be built. I had been told
by sources that it would be located in Murtha’s district.
... it turns out the facility is further
along than any of these people cared to admit. And now another
key player has been identified, new Democratic Senator Arlen
UPMC wants to build a $830 million vaccine
manufacturing facility, of which about $580 million would come
from the Department of Health and Human Services and Department of
Defense, which Specter said April 16 that he would help try to
Not only is there a budget for the project, which
was also denied by the people I spoke with, but there’s a proposed
location as well. The story says the facility would be built in
western Pennsylvania, a stretch of territory that includes
As the House prepared to vote this week on Republican Rep. Jeff
Flake’s push for an ethics investigation involving Rep. John
Murtha and other senior appropriators, Democratic leaders sent an
unmistakable message to their members:
“Don’t be a Flake.”
That was the subject line
of an e-mail that staffers for first- and second-term
received Tuesday from Rep. Chris Van Hollen, assistant to Speaker
Nancy Pelosi. The message said that Democrats would once again be
“voting to table another Flake resolution” — and it made clear
that leadership would have its eyes on any Democrats even thinking
When the House took up Flake’s resolution Tuesday
night, Democrats once again voted overwhelmingly to table it. But
votes the measure got
this week was the highest tally yet — and further evidence of a
generational divide that’s pitting newer House members who want to
“drain the swamp” against veteran members who don’t want to see
their colleagues investigated.
So far, the younger members are getting trounced — but the
momentum is in their favor.
Despite the directives from Van Hollen
and Clyburn, two more Democrats voted for Flake’s resolution
Tuesday, and they are the two newest Democrats in the House: Rep.
Scott Murphy of New York and Rep. Mike Quigley of Illinois...
Republican who challenged Rep. John Murtha in 2008 says a top aide
to the embattled Pennsylvania Democrat threatened to have him
recalled to active duty in the U.S. Army so he could be
court-martialed for engaging in politics while serving in the
Bill Russell — who challenged Murtha
in 2008 and intends to do so again in 2010 — said Murtha chief of
staff John Hugya made the threat during a National Rifle
Association event in mid-March.
Ret. Col. Gregory Ritch, a former Army
Reserve officer who served as Russell’s commanding officer, said
he heard Hugya make a similar threat in January.
“[Hugya] said, ‘When the [new]
secretary of the Army comes in, we’re going to call his ass back
to active duty and we’re going to prosecute him under the [Uniform
Code of Military Justice],’” Ritch said Hugya told him during
their January conversation...
... John Hugya, Pennsylvania
Representative Jack Murtha’s chief of staff, used Murtha campaign
funds to buy a rifle and some knives and other gun-nut baubles at
an auction held by the Friends of the National Rifle Association.
And then Hugya counted the $2151 he spent as a gift from the
Murtha campaign, even though the Murtha folks said the money was a
payment to Friends of the NRA for “advertising.” Talk about a
... Rep. Mark Kirk (R-Ill.), a member
of the Appropriations Committee, plans to offer an amendment that
would freeze millions of dollars directed to PMA clients as
earmarks in the 2009 omnibus spending bill. The money would be on
hold until the FBI investigation into the lobbying firm is
concluded and Congress and the public can determine whether any
wrongdoing occurred, the lawmaker confirmed late last week...
...The Federal Aviation Administration, after reviewing concerns
about a project at a regional airport named after, Rep. John P.
Murtha (D-Pa), has decided to go forward with plans to use
$800,000 in stimulus funds to repave the airport's alternate
Late this afternoon, a spokesperson for the Department of
Transportation confirmed that the department had completed its
review and would be releasing the funds for the Johnstown, Pa.,
DOT spokesperson Jill Zuckman said the review was undertaken after
a "senior policy" official at DOT decided he wanted to reconsider
Washington Post reported last month on more than $150 million
in federal funds that Murtha directed to the airport, which has
six arriving and departing flights per day. Among the
improvements, Murtha directed the Pentagon to give the airport a
new, $8 million, state-of-the-art radar tower that has not been
used since it was built in 2004, and $30 million for a new runway
and tarmac so the airport could handle large military planes and
become an emergency military base in case of crisis...
e-mails obtained by The Post, Robert Murtha told a business partner in
2001 that there were conditions for "keeping funds flowing." Part of
the federal work, he said, must be channeled to Johnstown, Pa., his
uncle's [John P. Murtha] home town.
been a requirement for what I do to get dollars through," Robert
Murtha wrote in an e-mail to a senior official with NMS Imaging of
Silver Spring, the lead contractor on a project to produce biological
Murtha, 49, recently told The Post that it is "unfortunate" that some
will assume his family ties led to government contracts...
received $4 million in Pentagon work, all of it without
competition, for a variety of warehousing and engineering
services. With its long corridor of sparsely occupied offices and
an unmanned reception area, Murtech's most striking feature is its
owner -- Robert C. Murtha Jr., 49. He is the nephew of
Rep. John P. Murtha, the Pennsylvania Democrat who
has significant sway over the Defense Department's spending as
chairman of the House Appropriations defense subcommittee.
... Murtha's power has had beneficial effects within his family.
His brother, Robert C. "Kit" Murtha, built a longtime lobbying
practice around clients seeking defense funds through the
Appropriations Committee and became one of the top members of KSA,
a lobbying firm whose contractor clients often received
multimillion-dollar earmarks directed through the committee
Robert C. Murtha Jr. of Murtech is Kit Murtha's son...
...the Pentagon has spent about $30 million equipping the little-used
airport named for him so it can handle behemoth military aircraft and
store combat equipment for rapid deployment to foreign battlefields.
Most of the improvements, funded through appropriations approved by
Murtha's panel, have not been used for their intended purpose...
... Some locals call the Johnstown airport "Fort Murtha" because of
the stream of wartime projects at the facility. Although its runway is
capable of servicing the largest airplanes in North America, the
airport now is used only by small commuter planes that make six trips
a day back and forth to Washington Dulles International Airport.
Many of the commercial flights, which are subsidized by federal
transportation dollars, carry only a handful of passengers. On a
recent visit, all of the departing flights were less than half full,
and one had only four passengers -- screened by seven federal airport
..."Murtha wanted an airport, and he knew he could get one. It's like
he's a billionaire, except it's not his money."
...the $8.6 million radar tower has not been used since it was
completed in 2004...
...The Guard has been paying roughly $1,500 a month to keep the
unmanned radar spinning...
...a string of federal criminal
investigations of contractors or lobbyists close to Mr. Murtha, the
top Democrat on the defense appropriations subcommittee, are
threatening to undermine his backroom clout.
...This week, Fred Wertheimer, a
veteran advocate for stricter ethics rules, and others are expected to
formally ask the ethics committee to investigate Mr. Murtha, a handful
of other lawmakers close to him, and the possibility that they traded
earmarks for contributions and other benefits from the PMA Group...
leaders have told their members they should let the ethics panel do
its work and stop supporting
a measure sponsored by Rep. Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.) that would force the
ethics panel to investigate PMA's earmarks and report back to Congress
within two months...
contractor was set to receive $1 million tax dollars. He said the
military told him the money would come through a company called
Commonwealth Research Institute, whose parent company, Concurrent
Technologies, ranked among the largest earmark recipients. Both were
set up with Murtha's help in his own hometown. The defense contractor
said Commonwealth officials told him to get the money, he should
"consider opening an office" in Johnstown, Murtha's hometown, and
chided his company for not giving "enough campaign contributions to
Murtha," and not making "a showing at Murtha's annual defense
contractor told CBS News: "I
wouldn't do it. We're just not going to play." He didn't get the
State-of-the-art Pennsylvania facility sees few
travelers but lots of funding...
... Rep. John P. Murtha (D-Pa.) is
credited with securing at least $150 million for the airport. It
was among the first in the country to win funding from this year's
stimulus package: $800,000 to repave a backup runway....
... The facility, newly renamed the
John Murtha Johnstown-Cambria County Airport, is a testament to
Murtha's ability to tap streams of federal money for pricey,
state-of-the-art projects that are rare among regional airports of
Murtha, dubbed the King of Pork by
critics, consistently directs more federal money to his district
than any other congressman -- $192 million in the 2008 budget.
His pattern of steering millions in
earmarks to defense contractors who give to his campaign and hire
his allies as lobbyists is being scrutinized by the FBI as part of
an investigation of a lobbying firm led by one of Murtha's closest
The lawmaker, who uses the airport
frequently during his campaigns, has steadily steered millions of
taxpayer dollars to it to build a new terminal with a restaurant;
a long, concrete runway sturdy enough to handle large jets; and a
high-tech radar system usually reserved for international
The airport's passenger count has
fallen by more than half in the past 10 years...
...Rep. John Murtha (D-Pa.) is immune
from a defamation suit filed against him by a U.S. Marine, a
federal appeals court
ruled on Tuesday.
Staff Sgt. Frank Wuterich filed suit
against Murtha, claiming that the veteran lawmaker damaged his
reputation when he told the press that Wuterich's squad in 2005
killed civilians in cold blood in Haditha, Iraq.
... Murtha, a former Marine, used his
congressional immunity as his defense, arguing that he made those
statements to the press in his official capacity as a member of
... Despite the ruling, Murtha has
infuriated Marines across the country with his accusations.
Thousands of people have signed a petition to strip Murtha of a
recent Navy award for distinguished public service that the
lawmaker received in early March. Those who signed the online
petition are calling on Murtha to apologize for his comments or
for the Navy to take away the award.
...According to a report by Merv Benson in
prairiepundit.com, Rep. Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.) got 17 Democratic
votes after introducing a resolution in February that called for
an ethics investigation into “the relationship between earmark
requests already made by members and the source and timing of past
campaign contributions.” Since then, a steady “trickle “of
Democrats have crossed the aisle putting increasing pressure on
Pelosi to act.
Murtha has been the subject of ethics
investigations since at least 1980 when he was snared in a sting
operation by undercover
FBI agents posing as Middle Eastern Sheiks. Five other
senators were indicted but Murtha was named as an unindicted
co-conspirator because he refused to reach in a drawer to remove
$50,000, insisting instead that he would feel more comfortable if
a middleman could take possession of the money. The FBI agent
refused and Murtha set up a second meeting. Ultimately Murphy
testified against his congressional colleagues and all charges
against him were dropped.
Pelosi continues to resist an investigation of
her controversial colleague despite a growing number of defections
within the Democratic Party and an advancing investigation from
outside the halls of Congress that she controls...
...A flurry of federal investigations and news articles about
Congressman John Murtha’s funding requests and campaign
contributions has not stopped him from asking for $134 million in
earmarks for his district this year, including $75 million for
... Four of the earmark requests from Murtha’s office are for
current or former clients of a lobbying firm, the PMA Group, that
is currently under federal investigation for connection to
possible "straw" donations to Murtha and other Democratic members
of the House...
on Capitol Hill, recalling the scandal that mushroomed around the
Abramoff, are wondering who else will be
ensnared in the investigation as prosecutors pore over the
financial records and computer files of one of K Street’s most
influential lobbyists, known both for the billions of dollars in
earmarks he obtained for his clients and for his open hand toward
those he sought to influence.
... Mr. Magliocchetti helped pioneer the lucrative specialty of
helping contractors lobby for military earmarks, the several
billion dollars in pet spending items that members of the panel
insert in annual spending bills, often with little oversight.
... when [Magliocchetti] left to start his lobbying firm in 1989,
he helped Mr. Murtha recruit major military contractors to attend
a new annual trade fair in Johnstown that became the cornerstone
of the lawmaker’s effort to steer business to the area.
Since 1998, for example, employees of the firm and its clients
have contributed more than $40 million to lawmakers, including
more than $7.8 million to members on the House defense spending
panel and $2.4 million to Mr. Murtha, its chairman. The same
lawmakers, meanwhile, have helped finance hundreds of pet projects
sought by PMA clients, including earmarks for more than $300
million in the military spending bill passed last year alone. And
PMA, still owned by Mr. Magliocchetti until its collapse, grew
into a K Street powerhouse with more than $15 million a year in
...A Pennsylvania defense research center
regularly consulted with two "handlers" close to Rep.
John P. Murtha (D-Pa) as it collected nearly $250
million in federal funding through the lawmaker, according to
documents obtained by The Washington Post and sources familiar
with the funding requests. The center then channeled a significant
portion of the funding to companies that were among Murtha's
The two advisers included a lobbyist for PMA Group, a firm with
close ties to Murtha that is the subject of a federal
investigation into whether it made illegal contributions by
reimbursing donors to the Pennsylvania lawmaker and other members
of Congress. The Electro-Optics Center also relied on advice from
a longtime Murtha friend who now works on the congressman's
one of his last moves before leaving office March 13, then-Navy
Secretary Donald Winter quietly awarded 19-term Democratic congressman
John Murtha (Pa.) with the service's highest civilian honor.
award generated little publicity when it was given to Murtha in early
March, but as news of the honor trickled out, some veterans groups
ignited a firestorm of protest. [see "Don't
Honor John Murtha - Petition"]
reason for their ire stems from the congressman's statements in May,
2006, that a squad of Marines who responded to an IED ambush and short
firefight in Haditha, Iraq, rampaged through the village, murdering
civilians "in cold blood."
those comments in the heat of the 2006 congressional mid-term election
campaign, in a move some political analysts saw as an attempt to stoke
the anti-war vote for a Democratic takeover of the House. The former
Marine and distinguished Vietnam veteran continued his accusations in
follow-up media appearances before an official Pentagon and Naval
Criminal Investigative Service investigation had been completed.
dust settled more than two years later, six of the eight Marines and
Sailors accused of crimes in the Haditha incident had their cases
dismissed, one was found not guilty and the last has been continued
did not respond to a request for comment on the award or the backlash
from veterans groups by post time.
refused to recant his accusations or apologize to the Marines he
accused of war crimes. When asked by Military.com in late 2007 whether
he regretted his initial statements and owed the exonerated Marines
and Sailor an apology, Murtha refused to comment, saying the cases
were still being adjudicated...
Pennsylvania defense research center regularly consulted with two
"handlers" close to
Rep. John P.
Murtha (D-Pa.) as it collected nearly $250
million in federal funding through the lawmaker, according to
documents obtained by The Washington Post and sources familiar with
the funding requests. The center then channeled a significant portion
of the funding to companies that were among Murtha's campaign
the FBI caught
him on videotape in the Abscam corruption probe nearly
three decades ago
has Murtha faced so many questions about his ethics.
1980 sting operation, agents captured Murtha on videotape turning down
a $50,000 bribe offer, while holding out the possibility that he might
take money in the future. "We do business for awhile, maybe I'll be
interested and maybe I won't," Murtha said on the tape.
congressmen and one senator were convicted in the case. Murtha wasn't
charged, but the government named him an unindicted co-conspirator,
and he testified against two other congressmen....
fire for his earmarking practices, Murtha wouldn't grant
CBS News an interview today. But
he did turn and address our camera while passing by in a hallway.
Constitution of the United States," he said, holding up a pocket-sized
copy. "What it says is the Congress of the United States appropriates
the money. Got that?"
means is Congress gets to decide how tax dollars are spent.
Specifically, Murtha himself often gets to decide. As head of the
Defense Spending Committee he has the power to steer hundreds of
millions of tax dollars in earmarks to companies of his choice.
But now the
FBI is asking whether people who have benefited from Murtha's earmarks
have made improper donations to his political campaigns...
...A defense lobbyist [Paul Magliocchetti] and his family made $1.5 million in
political contributions from 2000 through 2008 as the lobbyist’s now-embattled
firm helped clients win billions of dollars in federal
contracts. A sizable chunk of those campaign dollars went to the House members
who control Pentagon spending.
... The top
beneficiaries were a select group of Democratic members of the Defense
Appropriations Subcommittee, other allies of the top Pentagon appropriator in
the House, Rep.
John P. Murtha, D-Pa., and the company’s own political action committee, which in turn
made contributions to many of the same lawmakers...
familiar with the EOC’s operations say Murtha has used the center
as a “front” for PMA and other lobbyists and contractors with ties
to the Pennsylvania Democrat.
At least 10 PMA lobbying clients have received funding via the EOC,
officials at the center acknowledged. Sources familiar with the
EOC’s operations said the total that went to PMA clients ran into
the “tens of millions of dollars.”
... Sources inside and outside EOC say that Murtha used the center
as a conduit for earmarks directed at Kuchera Industries, a
Pennsylvania-based company that was raided by federal authorities
earlier this year. In an April 28, 2006, e-mail to an EOC
employee, Harris said he had “been told to help Bill Kuchera for
nearly two years,” and that this direction “came directly from Mr.
than 100 House members secured earmarks in a major spending bill for clients
of a single lobbying firm — The PMA Group — known for its close ties to
John P. Murtha
, the congressman in charge of Pentagon appropriations.
House members, plus a handful of senators, combined to route nearly $300
million in public money to clients of PMA through that one law (PL 110-116).
the lawmakers were in need — as they all are to finance their campaigns —
PMA came through for them.
the same House members who took responsibility for PMA’s earmarks in that
spending bill have, since 2001, accepted a cumulative $1,815,138 in campaign
contributions from PMA’s political action committee and employees of the
lawmakers said Tuesday that they were returning campaign contributions from
donors listed as employees of the PMA Group, a Washington lobbying firm
whose founder is under investigation for purportedly funneling money through
decision by the three lawmakers — Senator Bill Nelson of Florida, and
Representatives Zoe Lofgren of California and Peter J. Visclosky of Indiana,
all Democrats — puts new pressure on others who received cash from the PMA
Group and its founder, Paul Magliocchetti.
beneficiaries include Representative
John P. Murtha,
the Pennsylvania Democrat who is chairman of the House defense
appropriations subcommittee; Representative James P. Moran, a Virginia
Democrat on the panel; and Representative Alan B. Mollohan, the West
Virginia Democrat who is chairman of the appropriations subcommittee that
Aeronautics and Space Administration, among other things.
who received the most donations from PMA’s employees and clients, was a
mentor to Mr. Magliocchetti, who was once on the staff of the defense
appropriations subcommittee. Mr. Murtha, Mr. Visclosky, Mr. Moran and Mr.
Mollohan have all earmarked millions of dollars in federal money for the PMA
...A man who
gave campaign donations as the employee of a defense-lobbying firm under
federal investigation also gave contributions as a partner for another
company, even though the second firm’s president has no idea who he is.
is listed as a partner for EVAS Worldwide, a New Jersey-based aircraft
safety company, and gave $19,000 to lawmakers as an EVAS employee, according
to Federal Election Commission (FEC) records. That is more than 40 percent
of the political contributions from the company’s employees overall.
has never worked at the small company, and EVAS’s senior executive does not
“I have no
idea who Mr. Walker is,” said George Reenstra, president of EVAS Worldwide,
after reviewing the campaign finance records faxed to him by The Hill...
...The PMA Group, the top defense-focused lobbying
firm in Washington, is preparing to end its lobbying operations March 31
following reports of an FBI investigation into its campaign contributions, a
source familiar with the company’s operations said...
investigators are focused on allegations that PMA founder Paul Magliocchetti,
a former appropriations staffer close toRep.
John P. Murtha(D-Pa.),
may have reimbursed some of his staff to cover contributions made in their
names to Murtha and other lawmakers...
... The Washington Post examined
contributions that were reported as being made by PMA employees and
consultants, and found several people who were not registered lobbyists and
did not work at the lobbying firm...
FBI raided the offices of a defense lobbying firm with close ties to
Democratic Rep. John Murtha (Penn.), sources tell ABC News.
FBI searched the Virginia headquarters of the PMA Group in November,
according to the sources, who spoke on the condition of anonymity. PMA
was founded by former Murtha aide Paul Magliochetti and specializes in
winning earmarked taxpayer funds for its clients...
PMA is the second company with close ties to Murtha to be raided by
federal agents recently. In January, agents from the FBI, the IRS and
the Defense Criminal Investigative Service searched the office of
Kuchera Industries and Kuchera Defense Systems, as well as the homes
of the firms' founders. The companies reportedly have received over
$100 million in earmarks, thanks to Murtha's efforts...
spokesperson for PMA Group, Patrick Dorton, confirmed the raid in a
statement Monday afternoon. "Government representatives did come to
the PMA offices. They requested a number of different kinds of
information," Dorton said. "The firm is cooperating with their
John Murtha got in trouble in the 2008 election, he needed cash —
badly. And that’s precisely how he got it, according to a Roll Call
report today. Pork recipients flocked to their meal ticket when it
looked as though accusing his constituents of being racist rednecks
might actually lose Murtha an election, and a lobbying company run by
a former Murtha staffer apparently coordinated the effort:
Facing a surprisingly tough re-election
challenge in the closing days of his 2008 campaign, Rep. John Murtha
(D-Pa.) called on a well-established network of his earmarking
beneficiaries to bail him out. And the defense industry contractors,
several of whom had pulled down millions of dollars in Murtha earmarks
in the 2009 defense spending bill, responded by flooding his coffers
with what amounted to rescue cash.
The Defense appropriations cardinal’s more than $1 million haul in the
last two weeks of the campaign included about $40,000 from employees
of nine contractors that together received $60.6 million in targeted
projects from Murtha last year, according to an analysis of Federal
Election Commission records and House Appropriations Committee
Four of those companies are clients of the PMA Group Inc., a
lobbying firm founded by a former top Murtha aide that has emerged
in recent years as a leading source of the lawmaker’s campaign funds.
Altogether, PMA employees and their clients contributed more than
$110,000 in the final two weeks of the campaign. And while many of
those outfits have operations in Murtha’s western Pennsylvania
district, nine out of every 10 of their checks dropped in from outside
The nonpartisan group Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in
Washington alleges that Murtha helped funnel $100.5 million to PMA
clients in the fiscal 2008 defense appropriations bill. CREW also
noted that since the second quarter of 2007 PMA and 10 of its
clients kicked in almost $191,000 to Murtha's campaign coffers,
making them among the top 20 donors to the congressman...
Defense contractor Kuchera's office raided by FBI, IRS on Jan. 22, 2009...
...Employees said Kuchera's chief financial officer, Ron Kuchera, was
present alongside authorities during the raid.
Kuchera does both industrial and defense-related work and employs
nearly 300 local people. Ron Kuchera and his brother Bill run the
Witnesses said Bill Kuchera's private home and game preserve was also
raided by federal agents.
Records indicate he bought the 161-acre property in May 2006 for
$800,000. LBK Game Ranch is listed as a farm, dealing primarily with
livestock and animal specialties. It has two employees and brings in
Posted signs on the property call it a "U.S. government test
Department of Defense Inspector General's criminal division is heading
the investigation. The agency primarily investigates fraud crimes in
which the government was either a part to or a victim of...
...Since 2006, the Kucheras nearly doubled the money they spent on a
Washington-based lobbyist with close connections to Rep. John Murtha.
During the same period of time, they won $27 million in military
contracts and $8 million in federal earmarked from Murtha.
"(Murtha) should be very alarmed they've taken over their book," said
Melanie Sloan, of Citizens For Ethics & Responsibility in Washington.
"They are looking at the campaign contributions. They are looking at
the relationship between that defense contractor and Mr. Murtha, and
if there is anything questionable to be found, the federal
investigators will find it. So I would imagine that Mr. Murtha is
talking to his defense attorney about now."
Mark Critz, a longtime Murtha aide, edged Republican candidate Tim Burns in a
special election to take his boss's old seat. Many political handicappers viewed
the race as a bellwether for the mood of the electorate and a preview of how the
midterm election could go this fall...
(PittsTribReview)... Bill Clinton swung through Johnstown, PA, in
an attempt to buoy the chances of Dem Mark Critz [former Murtha aide]... Clinton
said that Murtha "... would want us all to be here to make sure the work he did
poll before tomorrow's special election: Tim Burns 48, Mark Critz 47...
writes Cillizza: "a trio of big-name surrogates [Scott Brown, Bill Clinton, Bob
Casey Jr.] are passing through southwestern PA this weekend to stump for former
[Murtha] congressional staffer Mark Critz (D) and businessman Tim Burns (R)
ahead of Tuesday's special election race for the seat of the late Rep. John
Indiana Rep. Mike Pence will join GOP special election candidate Tim Burns for a
rally in Johnstown, PA. Pence's involvement is one more signal of the GOP's high
hopes for this election... his visit can only serve to nationalize the race
Former Bill Clinton advisor James Carville is at it again: "Ever since all those
fire-breathing tea party nut jobs scored their upset win in the Massachusetts
Senate election, they've been looking for a new race to target..."
has vowed to continue to re-offer the resolution in the weeks and
months ahead until the committee produces the information about
its investigation of lawmakers with ties to PMA Group, a lobbying
firm known for showering members with campaign cash in return for
receiving multimillion-dollar earmarks for its clients...
John Murtha's public statement about the Haditha Marines ("They
killed innocent civilians in cold blood") proves false, yet again.
LATimes article: "Lt. Col. David Jones, the military judge, ruled
that attorneys for Staff Sgt. Frank Wuterich had successfully
shown that there was the possibility of what the military calls
undue command influence in the decision by a general to send
Wuterich to a court martial...
[the judge] rules against the prosecution, he could dismiss the
charges against Wuterich...
eight Marines charged in late 2006 in connection with the
killings, six had their cases dismissed and one was found not
guilty. Wuterich was the squad leader...
Consulting was at the center of a project that led to the first
criminal convictions tied to a Murtha earmark. The firm at one
point employed Murtha’s brother Kit as a lobbyist, as well as
Carmen Scialabba, Murtha’s longtime Appropriations Subcommittee on
Republicans in Pennsylvania's 12th district on Thursday evening
picked businessman Tim Burns to be their nominee in the May 18
special election to replace the late Rep. John P. Murtha (D).
Burns defeated 2008 GOP nominee, Bill Russell, by a vote of 86 to
46 among Republican activists in the district..."
Critz — the aide to the late Rep. John P. Murtha of Pennsylvania
picked as the Democratic candidate to replace his boss —
attended a 2005 meeting of defense contractors and lobbyists and
offered the congressman’s support for an earmark project that
resulted in criminal convictions for three men
meeting went forward, and with Murtha’s support, the group
launched an Air Force program that was funded entirely through
has decided to endorse Mr. Burns, for a variety of reasons. The
first is that Russell so drastically underperformed in the 2008
election. The second is that Bill Russell appears to have had no
campaign plan whatsoever other than to run against Murtha..."
meeting will be held in Latrobe, Pa., with the
winner needing to get a majority of votes from
party conferees from nine counties. The GOP field
remains stagnant for now, with 2008 nominee
William Russell and businessman Tim Burns running.
reports that Murtha’s district director Mark
Critz will soon enter the race, adding a candidate
intimately familiar with the district into the
mix. Former Cambria County Controller Albert
Penska also might run.
And The Tribune-Democrat
reports that Cambria County Controller Ed
Cernic Jr., who had been considering a run, is
good to go, having announced his candidacy Monday
only a couple Republicans definitely running, the
Democratic side of the ballot is shaping up to be
to be a much more crowded affair—at least five
Democrats have said they’re in the race..."
“Since the Governor
has announced that the Special Election will be
held on Primary day, May 18th,” said Russell,
“it makes perfect sense to also be a candidate in
the special election. It’s a move that makes sense
for the voters and will simplify the process for
the thousands of my supporters....”
conservative, a true American patriot, and he
(Bill Russell) deserves your support. If there
were ever a time for the grass-roots to come
together and help an underdog Republican candidate
make a difference, this is it.”
Russell discusses the U.S. military in American
culture and how, in the GWOT, the enemy is using
our own cultural institutions as weapons in an
attempt to defeat us, with the Haditha fraud as a
Russell has nearly 29 years of Regular Army,
National Guard, and Army Reserve service, and he
served six tours in hostile fire zones, including
Operation Desert Storm, the Balkans, and Operation
Iraqi Freedom. He and his wife Kasia were both in
the Pentagon on September 11, 2001....
was promoted to Lieutenant Colonel in December
2004 while serving in Iraq and retired from the
Army in 2008. His military awards include the
Legion of Merit and the Bronze Star.
Democratic field of candidates looking to succeed
the late Rep. John Murtha (D-Pa.) became clearer
today, after the congressman’s widow, Joyce,
announced she wasn’t running and his district
director, Mark Critz, jumped into the fray..."
seniority and power over the massive Pentagon budget gave him
outsized sway in an era in which party leaders have grown in
strength and few individual lawmakers have the clout to influence
others. His post at the edge of the floor was a hub of