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.
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."
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.