Thursday, September 20, 2007

Jack Murtha called up to the major leagues

The Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) released their third annual list [pdf] of the most corrupt politicians in Washington. The list identifies the best of the best, the cream of the crop, the All Star players in the major league of political corruption. Last year CREW scouted the minor leagues and identified Jack "My Way" Murtha as a player to watch. This year they called him up to the "bigs" naming him as one of the most corrupt players in Congress. This is no small accomplishment for a Democrat. Of the the 22 most corrupt players named by CREW, only four Democrats made the starting line-up. After six years dominating the political game in Washington, the Republicans had a virtual stranglehold leading every major corruption statistic. With a team looking like a dynasty, managed by Karl "permanent majority" Rove and fielding a powerhouse lineup of corruption and greed All Stars like Delay, Abramoff, Hastert, Cunningham, and Ney there was no room in the lineup for a minor league player like Murtha. And with players like that, there just really wasn't much more than crumbs left on the table for any one else. But this year, Murtha got his big break. The Democrats won Congress, and like all the great ones - Murtha grabbed the opportunity with both hands, swinging for the fences at every opportunity. Let's run the Murtha highlight reel from CREW:
"PMA Group
Paul Magliocchetti worked with Rep. Murtha as a senior staffer on the Appropriations Committee Subcommittee on Defense for 10 years. After leaving the committee, Mr. Magliocchetti founded the PMA Group, which has become one of the most prominent Washington, D.C. defense lobbying firms. In the 2006 campaign cycle, the PMA Group and eleven of the firm’s clients ranked in the top 20 contributors to Rep. Murtha, having made campaign contributions totaling $274,649. In the 2004 and 2002 cycles, PMA and nine of the firm’s clients ranked in the top twenty contributors having given $236,799 in contributions $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, totaling $95.1 million. In the 2008 election cycle, the PMA group and its clients have contributed $106,000 to Rep. Murtha’s campaign committee and PAC.

Concurrent Technologies Corporation
In 2007, Rep. Murtha inserted into the Energy and Water Appropriations bill a $1 million earmark to establish the Center for Instrumented Critical Infrastructure - a subsidiary of Concurrent Technologies Corporation, (CTC) a non-profit technology innovation center in Rep. Murtha’s district that has received hundreds of millions of dollars in earmarks in recent years. Contrary to Rep. Murtha claims, the Department of Energy has denied supporting the request for the earmark. CTC is a large non-profit that in 2005 received over $212 million in government grants. Since 2002, CTC’s employees and employees’ family members have donated over $115,000 to Rep. Murtha’s political committees and leadership PAC. By earmarking funds for companies represented by the PMA group and CTC in return for campaign contributions, Rep. Murtha may have accepted bribes or illegal gratuities, committed honest services fraud and violated House rules prohibiting members from dispensing special favors.

Threat to Deny Spending Projects
After Rep. Mike Rogers offered a motion in May of 2007 that would have stripped a $23 million earmark inserted by Rep. Murtha, Rep. Murtha approached Rep. Rogers on the House floor and stated, “I hope you don’t have any earmarks in the defense appropriations bills because they are gone, and you will not get any earmarks now and forever.” Rep. Rogers replied, “This is not the way we do things here,” and, “is that supposed to make me afraid of you?” Rep. Murtha retorted, “That’s the way I do it.” Rep. Rogers declined to file a former ethics complaint and a resolution aimed at reprimanding Rep. Murtha was permanently tabled. Earlier in May, Rep. Murtha had threatened Rep. Todd Tiahrt for voting in committee in favor of Rep. Rogers’ motion to strip the earmark. Rep. Murtha approached Rep. Tiahrt on the House floor and unleashed a tirade, during which he [Rep. Murtha] threatened to withdraw his support from a defense project in Rep. Tiahrt’s district. Asked about the issue later, Rep. Tiahrt claimed, “It was a little misunderstanding,” and refused to discuss the matter. After his conversation with Rep. Murtha, Rep. Tiahrt apparently changed his position regarding the earmark and despite having voted for Rep. Rogers’ amendment in committee, he voted against it on the House floor."
The Democrats still have a long way to go to match the record of corruption set by six years of single party Republican control. But with Democrats like Jack Murtha showing the way, and a likely single party Democratic control in 2008, the Democrats are well positioned to challenge the Republican's lofty record of corruption.

It won't be easy. Like the Sports Illustrated "jinx", the CREW Most Corrupt List has derailed promising corrupt politicians in the past. Last year Denny Hastert (like Jack Murtha) was named to the CREW watch list, a recognition we featured here at DWSUWF. Since then, he helped his party lose the majority, was consequently removed from the Speaker role, declined to serve as minority party leadership, announced his intention to retire, and is not expected to complete his term.

Still, with Democrats like Murtha making up for lost time, the recently passed ethics bill falling far short of Democratic promises in January, and a probable single party Democratic government in 2008 fueling the unique hubris that infects politicians in power, the stage is set for a Republican resurgence in 2010.

Divided and Balanced.™ Now that is fair.

7 comments:

Queen of Dysfunction said...

Thanks mw. If you want to find me, I'll be in the bathroom... slitting my wrists.

mw said...

QoDys - you are going to have to wait until they clean up after me.

qofd said...

Maybe we could do a mutual-assist thing. You know, since misery loves company suicides should just freaking adore it. ;)

serket said...

18 out of 22 are Republicans and you are focusing on Jack Murtha! I would like to see a profile on Craig to see what went wrong with him.

mw said...

Serket,
Thanks for your comment.

The Democrats are now running Congress, chairing all the committees, and controlling the budgets. That makes corrupt Democrats far, far more dangerous now.

Corrupt Republicans are either already being put in jail for their malfeasance over the last six years or soon will be (Ted Stevens). The corrupt Democrats will not start getting put in jail for another 3 or 4 years. There is a lot of damage they can do between now and then. Focusing on corrupt Democrats is exactly the right thing to do now.

I infer from your question that you are among that group that I affectionately like to refer to as Partisan Dead Weight, and of the opinion that Democrats are godly and Republicans are the spawn of the devil. That's fine. There are plenty like you on both sides of the spectrum. You do tend to cancel each other out.

But , I try to accommodate - if you only want to read my posts about Republican corruption, You might like this one about Denny Hastert, that I wrote last year when it was Republican corruption that mattered (also updated here).

But for right now, Murtha, like Hastert, is a corrupt pig and has to go.

serket said...

First of all, thank you for posting my comment and responding to it.

I infer from your question that you are among that group that I affectionately like to refer to as Partisan Dead Weight, and of the opinion that Democrats are godly and Republicans are the spawn of the devil.

Actually I am a conservative. My blog is about movies, but I include links to other conservatives and sometimes talk about the messages that are portrayed in movies. I just thought since so many were Republicans, it was unfair to focus on a Democrat. But you make some good points about why it matters because of the power they currently hold. All 22 of them deserve to be punished for doing various illegal or unethical activities. Thanks for the links to the Hastert posts. I think I might have misunderstood your divided point. I was thinking you like it when the Presidency and the Congress are split, but perhaps you meant it is good for liberals and conservatives to express their differences.

mw (DWSUWF) said...

Serket,
Actually, I think both. Thanks again for the comment.