It’s not news. It’s re-confirmation. Roll Call has a lengthy story out today on just-released FBI records detailing the extent of the late corruptocrat John Murtha’s dirty dealings — and how he repeatedly got away with it. The FBI and DOJ watched. And watched. And failed to act. Murtha’s entrenched incumbency made him untouchable.
There’s crony capitalism. And there’s crony Murtha-ism. An excerpt:
Last week’s release of FBI documents finally put in writing what nobody had ever said on the record: The FBI suspected that former Rep. John Murtha (D-Pa.) and lobbyists close to him were running a scheme to funnel earmarks to sham companies and nonprofits to benefit the lawmaker’s friends and former staffers.
Bits and pieces of this story were kicked around for years before Murtha died in February 2010. The Los Angeles Times, Roll Call, the Washington Post and others had documented the odd appearance of earmarks for tiny defense contractors that just happened to open an office in western Pennsylvania and just happened to hire one of the lobbying firms close to Murtha and just happened to begin making campaign donations to Murtha and other Members of Congress close to him….
The watchdog group Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington filed a Freedom of Information Act request for Justice Department files on Murtha and other Members of Congress. Its requests have been denied for the living Members on the grounds that they have a right to privacy, CREW Executive Director Melanie Sloan said last week. Murtha’s death eliminated the privacy exemption, and the Justice Department handed over a heavily redacted bunch of files to CREW on Oct. 14.
The files spell out for the first time a theory of the case that explains what Murtha’s cronies may have been up to.
In a memo dated June 19, 2009, FBI field agents requested the bureau “open a full public corruption investigation” regarding KSA Consulting, the lobbying firm that employed at various times the Congressman’s longtime defense aide Carmen Scialabba and the Congressman’s brother, Robert Murtha, widely known as Kit.
The FBI field agents concluded that “the relationships between Congressman John Murtha … and employees and partners of KSA Consulting provide for a potential Honest Services Fraud … if Congressman Murtha influenced the awarding of contracts to KSA-controlled entities or clients, in exchange for some personal benefit to the Congressman. KSA principals may also have committed Honest Services Fraud by lobbying Murtha to direct earmarks to KSA clients who ‘passed-thru’ the funds to subcontractor firms that did little actual work and were owned by KSA principles.”
Murtha’s earmark washing machine illustrates perfectly my Culture of Corruption maxim: As government grows, corruption flows. Along with an ocean of boodle.
I hope all those who lobbied to name yet more edifices and vessels after this porker are hanging their heads in shame today.
Flashback February 12, 2010:
John Murtha: Requiem for a corruptocrat
by Michelle 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 Democrat Rep. John Murtha passed away on February 8 after a botched gall bladder surgery. He has been hailed as a “military advocate” (Associated Press) and “one of the greatest patriots ever to serve in Congress” (former Democratic congressman Harold Ford). These obsequious obituaries leave out inconvenient truths:
John “Jack” Murtha was an unrepentant smear merchant and corruptocrat to the bitter end.
In May 2006, during an MSNBC cable TV show appearance that Marines and their families will never forget or forgive, Murtha accused U.S. troops of wantonly killing some two dozen civilians, including children, in the terrorist stronghold of Haditha, Iraq. Bellowed Murtha: “Our troops overreacted because of the pressure on them, and they killed innocent civilians in cold blood.” Murtha publicly indicted the Marines before military investigations had been completed. His remarks opened the military-bashing floodgates around the world.
In the wake of Murtha’s reckless blabbing, MSNBC executioner Keith Olbermann accused the Haditha Marines of “willful targeted brutality.” The Nation magazine claimed that “members of the 3rd Battalion, 1st Marine Regiment perpetrated a massacre.” The New York Times dubbed Haditha the “defining atrocity” of the Iraq war. International papers piled on with Vietnam-era “My Lai” allusions. Murtha cold-bloodedly sat back and enjoyed the ride while the Marines were left twisting in the wind.
By 2008, seven of the Marines charged in the incident had been exonerated or had charged dropped against them. Lt. Andrew Grayson was acquitted. Lance Cpl. Stephen Tatum, Capt. Lucas McConnell, Lance Cpl. Justin Sharatt, Sgt. Sanick Dela Cruz, and Lt. Col. Jeffrey Chessani all had their cases dismissed. Sgt. Frank Wuterich, the last of the Marines facing charges, awaits a long, dragged-out trial this year.
Murtha, 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 treachery. Murtha’s friends apparently consider it great patriotism.
The ego-bloated, big-mouthed lawmaker treated his own constituents with trademark contempt. During his last congressional campaign, he mocked voters in his district as bigots. “There’s no question that western Pennsylvania is a racist area,” he told the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Responding to mounting criticism on both sides of the aisle about his log-rolling orgies on the Hill, he sniffed: “If I’m corrupt, it’s because I take care of my district.”
First, foremost, and forever, Jack Murtha took care of Jack Murtha. The glowing encomiums from his liberal colleagues have glossed over the 19-term Democrat’s defining moment of political self-service. In 1980, Murtha was an unindicted co-conspirator in a massive bribery probe — in which undercover FBI agents videotaped Murtha entertaining a $50,000 bribe from agents posing as emissaries for Arab sheiks trying to enter our country illegally. From transcripts of those conversations published by the late newspaper columnist Jack Anderson, Murtha’s true colors shined:
“I want to deal with you guys awhile before I make any transactions at all, period. . . . After we’ve done some business, well, then I might change my mind. . . . ”
. . .“I’m going to tell you this. If anybody can do it — I’m not B.S.-ing you fellows — I can get it done my way.” he boasted. “There’s no question about it.” . . .
Murtha worried not about his integrity or how his constituents might be harmed, but about getting ratted out:
“All at once,” he said, “some dumb [expletive deleted] would go start talking eight years from now about this whole thing and say [expletive deleted], this happened. Then in order to get immunity so he doesn’t go to jail, he starts talking and fingering people. So the [S.O.B.] falls apart.”…
“You give us the banks where you want the money deposited,” offered one of the bagmen.
“All right,” agreed Murtha. “How much money we talking about?”
“Well, you tell me.”
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; steered unprecedented billions in federal earmarks to friend, family, and donors; earned multiple “most corrupt in Congress” designations from both the left-leaning Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington and the right-leaning Judicial Watch; and 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.
A cut-and-run flashback: