Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Getting the most from donating to Representative Murtha

When defense companies donate to John Murtha, as CBS reports, they certainly get their money's worth.
Spring in Washington is "earmark season" - a busy time for Congressman John Murtha.

"That's my business," Murtha said. "I've been in it for 35 years."

As head of a powerful Defense committee, Murtha controls hundreds of millions of taxpayer dollars, reports CBS News investigative correspondent Sharyl Attkisson. And he's not shy about directing money to those who give generously to his election campaigns.

CBS News has learned that this month, Murtha is steering new earmarks toward 10 companies that recently donated to his campaign.

Murtha wants $8 million for Argon ST, a defense contractor whose CEO gave Murtha the maximum allowed by law - $2,400 by an individual. He's directing a $5 million earmark toward Advanced Acoustic Concepts, which also gave the max - $5,000 for a political action committee - to his campaign. In all, 10 recent Murtha donors are slated to receive $31 million in Murtha earmarks for 2010.
That is quite a generous return for a few thousand dollars in donations.

Of course, none of this is illegal if those involved are smart enough not to be explicit about the quid pro quo that is going on here. Murtha has probably been around long enough, and maybe learned how to avoid crossing the line of legality from his narrow escape in the ABSCAM scandal where he was caught on tape saying the following to the FBI agents posing as Arab investors.
REP. JOHN MURTHA, D-PA.: Now, as I told Howard, I want to deal with you guys a while before I made any transactions at all, period. In other words, I want to say, "Look put some money in these guys." And I, just let me know, so I can say, you know, these guys are going to — they want to do business in our district. Then there's a couple businesses that I'm not personally involved in but would be very helpful for the district, that I could make a big play of, be very helpful to me.

After we've done some business, then I might change my mind. But right now, that's all I'm interested in. Period. And I'm going to tell you this. If anybody can do it, and I'm not bull (expletive deleted) you fellows, I can get it done my way.
When offered a $50,000 bribe, he turned it down for then but indicated he might accept it later. For that weaselly remark, he got off when the indictments came down in the scandal. And he's been in the House funneling money to his donors ever since.

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