October 12, 2009

Pork pays: For Murtha's subcommittee, the earmarks pile up

If we ever want a chance to have a Republic again this is the kind of thing that needs to be fixed. Not that this is anything new, but as government gets bigger so does the corruption and therefore the greater the disenfranchisement of the citizens.

From Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

In the Washington department of Things That Never Change are the dealings of members of a key House subcommittee with staff-members-turned-lobbyists, campaign donations and federal earmarks.

The close relationships are outlined in a follow-up report by the Center for Public Integrity, a self-styled watchdog of government conduct. In September the center showed that last year 12 of 16 members of the House Appropriations Defense Subcommittee, which is chaired by Johnstown Democrat John Murtha, earmarked $100 million in government work for firms linked to friendly lobbyists, contractors and contributors.

Last week the organization released a new review that found similar interactions by 10 of the 16 members now on the committee. In next year's defense spending bill, the House version contains 30 earmarks obtained by subcommittee members that direct $103 million to contractors who either employ or recently employed former personal staff members or subcommittee aides who are now lobbyists.

The tight circle of activity is completed by these House members accepting campaign contributions from the earmark recipients or related lobbyists. And wouldn't you know -- none of these earmarks are for projects requested by the Obama administration for the Defense Department, the center said.

To no one's surprise, Mr. Murtha sits atop this particularly cozy earmarks heap, with a total of $40.5 million in the bill passed by the House in July.

You'd think with three criminal investigations of the practice under way -- including one involving a closed lobbying firm with links to Mr. Murtha -- that behavior in Washington would change. But some traditions, apparently, die hard.

Read more: http://post-gazette.com/pg/09285/1004775-192.stm#ixzz0TiyuTtPG

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