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May 29, 2007

Jack Murtha's Friends And The Infrastructure Of Corruption

Topics: Political News and commentaries

Murtha%20on%20Iraq.jpgClearly, corruption in Washington is bipartisan. Just as clear is that the Democrats pre-election promises to end it have proven to be, as Robert Novak suggests - hallow, and that's almost sugar-coating it. Take for example Rep. John "our troops raped and murdered innocent civilians" Murtha, who quietly slipped two earmarks costing taxpayers $5.5 million into the Intelligence authorization bill . The beneficiary was a contractor headquartered in Murtha's hometown of Johnstown, Pa., whose executives have been generous political contributors to Murtha:

This scandalous conduct would be unknown except for reforms by the new Democratic majority. But the remodeled system is not sufficiently transparent to expose in a timely manner machinations of Murtha and fellow earmarkers to his colleagues, much less to the public. It took Republican Rep. Jeff Flake of Arizona, the leading House earmark-buster, to discover the truth.

Jack Murtha, the maestro of imposing personal preferences on the appropriations process, looks increasingly like an embarrassment to Congress and the Democratic Party. But there is no Democratic will to curb Murtha, one of Speaker Nancy Pelosi's closest associates. Nor are Republicans eager for a crackdown endangering their own earmarkers.

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The Democrats' promises to end corruption has proven to be as empty as the Republican promises before them. There seems to be an attitude that "everybody does it" so "why not me too?"; it's as though the corruption issue has developed beyond being a culture to being part of the very fabric of Washington politics. Paul Waldman, who referred to this as an "infrastructure of corruption" wrote back in 2005 during the the Republican's corruption scandals:

Contrary to what many people may think, you can't buy a congressman's vote on abortion or gun control. But you might be able to get him to slip in a narrowly tailored provision into a tax bill that will benefit your company. It will be buried with a few hundred other such provisions, and no reporter will ever write a story about it. Your investment of a few thousand dollars--or a few hundred thousand--can return to you a hundred or a thousand fold.
It appears that as the Republicans before them, Jack Murtha and his Democratic friends are not only continuing to "make good use" of this infrastructure, but build on it. And while we're on the topic of corruption in the current Congress, lets not forget about Alan Mollohan, the West Virginia Democrat that was until recently, the top Democrat on the House Ethics Committee and who has been under investigation for steering millions of dollars into his district, much of which found its way into the hands of his friends and supporters while his own net worth sky-rocketed.

In the meantime, one can only guess why the mainstream media doesn't have stories about Murtha and his friends, and friends of Murtha's fellow Democrats, on their front pages and leads on cable: It's just a simple case of it being the wrong party giving out the public's money to suit their own purposes.

Posted by Richard at May 29, 2007 9:23 AM

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