Murtha: Pork And Ethics Issues Surface
It appears that along with being one of the House’s larger providers of pork for his district, now-outspoken anti-war Democrat, Rep. John Murtha could be playing a game designed to shield himself from a Congressional investigation for funneling significant amounts of money to companies associated with his brother, Lobbyist Kit Murtha.
From The Hill:
For the past three years, Rep. John Murtha (D-Pa.), the ranking member of the Defense Appropriations Subcommittee, has been the No. 1 beneficiary of defense campaign donations in the House and has not fallen below No. 3 for Congress as a whole.
"If you want anything done on the committee, you go to Murtha."
He’s delivered so much pork to his congressional district, an airport and a major highway are named after Murtha.
Ashdown and his nonpartisan watchdog group criticized Murtha for using the $417 billion fiscal 2005 Pentagon spending bill to give business to his lobbyist brother. The Los Angeles Times in June reported that Murtha funneled nearly $21 million to 10 or more corporate clients of KSA Consulting, where Robert "Kit" Murtha is a senior partner. Carmen Scialabba, a Murtha congressional aide for 27 years, is also a high-ranking official at KSA.
In one case, a small Arkansas manufacturer of military vehicles who was a KSA client was awarded $1.7 million — triple its total sales for 2004. One defense contractor based in Murtha’s home state of Pennsylvania even told the Times he hired KSA on the recommendation of a top Murtha aide.
Also, several significant references to Murtha here.
Most of KSA’s defense contractor clients hired the firm in hopes of securing funding from Rep. Murtha’s subcommittee, according to lobbying records and interviews. And most retained the firm after Kit Murtha became a senior partner in 2002.
Kit Murtha said he saw the congressman infrequently but acknowledged that his brother knew he worked for KSA.
"I don’t think that influences him," he said. "I certainly would hope not."
He said he spoke to his brother only once about a client, soon after joining KSA, but said the congressman quickly broke off the conversation.
"He said, ‘Hey, that’s your client. You can’t come to me on that,’ " the lobbyist recalled.