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Expose Murtha Project

 

Help us investigate Murtha!   Donate online now:

There is a gigantic travesty happening everyday that
Rep. John Murtha is chairman of the Defense Appropriations Sub-Committee.

The evidence points to the fact that Murtha more likely should be in prison than in Congress.

However">

  IOWA PRESIDENTIAL WATCH PAC
 
Expose Murtha Project

 

Help us investigate Murtha!   Donate online now:

There is a gigantic travesty happening everyday that
Rep. John Murtha is chairman of the Defense Appropriations Sub-Committee.

The evidence points to the fact that Murtha more likely should be in prison than in Congress.

However, it is not easy to bring justice to powerful individuals. This is why we are asking that Americans help support our efforts to hire investigators so that more of the truth about Murtha’s nefarious activities can come to light.

WE NEED TO INVESTIGATE:

  • Murtha's providing earmark legislation that resulted in Murtha’s brother, Robert "Kit" Murtha, being hired by the lobbying group KSA Consulting in 2002. Two years later, at least 10 KSA clients profited from a $417 billion defense appropriations bill, including seven companies that received $20.8 million in federal earmarks. (LA Times article)

  • Murtha's long association with Paul Magliocchetti and Murtha’s providing defense contracts to Magliocchetti’s lobbying firm, PMA. In the 2006 election year 11 of Magliocchetti’s clients gave the congressman $274,649 in contributions. In the 2004 and 2002 election cycles, PMA and its clients gave Murtha a total of more than $515,000.

  • Murtha's leaning on U.S. Navy officials to sign a contract to transfer the Hunters Point Shipyard to the city of San Francisco, according to the San Francisco Chronicle. A company called Lennar Inc. had right to the land, and Laurence Pelosi, nephew to House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), was an executive with the firm at that time.

  • Murtha's inserting earmarks in defense bills that steered millions of dollars in federal research funds toward companies owned by children of fellow Pennsylvania Rep. Paul Kanjorski (D).

  • Murtha's setting up 'PAID'  (Pennsylvania Association for Individuals with Disabilities) -- a move reminiscent of Jack Abramoff’s non-profit rip-off scheme. This has been a great way for Murtha to skim money from taxpayers as the Washington Post reported. Of course Murtha did this long in advance of Abramoff.

Everyday we let someone like Murtha hold the reigns of power over 100’s of billions of dollars that control whether our nation security will be strong or subject to his corrupt practices is a dangerous situation. We must act now to bring about justice.

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John Murtha news archive:

Sept. 24, 2008 

2nd Haditha Marine prepares to sue Murtha,
Former Marine Lance Corporal Justin Sharrat files suit

A local Marine cleared in the deaths of civilians in Iraq says Congressman John Murtha made public comments that were unproven, untrue and unfair.

Now, Lance Corporal Justin Sharratt is planning to file suit in federal court against Murtha on Thursday morning.

The suit accuses the congressman of slander and violating the Marine's right to a fair trial and due process.

Sharratt was one of eight Marines charged after 24 Iraqi civilians were killed in Haditha. He was charged with three counts of unpremeditated murder.

It's alleged in the lawsuit that before the outcome of the case, Congressman Murtha made slanderous comments.

Three years after the deaths, seven of eight Marines have been cleared, including Sharratt. There's now a website, JustinSharratt.com, to let the world know that he has been cleared.

The eighth Marine is still waiting for his day in court.

KDKA contacted Murtha's office for comment on this suit but there's no word back from them yet.

 

 

June 19, 2008 

Haditha Marine prepares to sue Murtha, Time Magazine over smear

With most of the eight Marines charged in the Haditha, Iraq, incident now exonerated, the highest-ranking officer among the accused is considering a lawsuit against Democratic Rep. John Murtha, who fueled the case by declaring the men cold-blooded killers.

In an interview with nationally syndicated radio talk host Michael Savage, the lead attorney for Lt. Col. Jeffrey Chessani said he and his client will look into suing Murtha and the Time magazine reporter, Tim McGuirk, who first published the accusations by Iraqi insurgents...

The Time magazine story, according to Rooney, was planted by an insurgent propaganda agent. Publishing of the story was soon followed by a May 17, 2006, news conference by Murtha. The congressman announced he had been told by the highest levels of the Marine Corps there was no firefight and Marines "killed innocent civilians in cold blood."

"All the information I get, it comes from the commanders, it comes from people who know what they're talking about," Murtha told reporters at the time.

Murtha's assertions, however, conflicted with results from the military's own investigations. An initial probe by Army Col. G.A. Watt found no indications coalition forces "intentionally targeted, engaged and killed noncombatants." Later, Army Maj. Gen. Aldon Bargewell found no cover-up.

Nevertheless, the Marine Corps eventually brought charges against Chessani and seven other Marines.

But now the cases against Lance Cpls. Stephen Tatum and Justin Sharratt, Capts. Randy Stone and Lucas McConnell and Sgt. Sanick P. Dela Cruz have been dropped. First Lt. Andrew Grayson has been acquitted, leaving only the case of Staff Sgt. Frank Wuterich untested in court and Chessani prosecutors facing the hurdles of the appeal process.

WND previously reported a military jury of seven officers acquitted Grayson of all charges.

The ruling by Col. Folsom yesterday followed a previous decision in which he confirmed evidence of unlawful command influence.

The evidence indicated two generals who controlled Chessani's case were influenced by Marine lawyer Col. John Ewers, who was allowed to attend at least 25 closed-session meetings in which the case was discussed...

Rooney was asked by Savage why he thought Murtha, a former Marine himself, accused the officers and enlisted men.

"In my opinion, it's clear it was done during the election cycle, it was done to bolster himself in the party," the attorney said. "He was vying for a leadership position, and if he had to throw some Marines under the bus to do so, that was the cost of power for him."

 

June 17, 2008 

Haditha charges dropped against top Marine officer

Military Judge Col. Steven Folsom dropped all charges against Lt. Col. Jeffrey Chessani, who was accused of violating a lawful order and dereliction of duty, at a hearing at the Camp Pendleton Marine base in Southern California.

Folsom's decision means that, out of eight Marines originally charged in December 2006, six have won dismissals of their charges and one has been cleared at court martial.

The accused ringleader, Staff Sgt. Frank Wuterich, still faces court martial. The proceedings against him, however, have been put on hold pending the appeal of a pretrial ruling.

Folsom threw out the charges against Chessani, a 44-year-old Colorado native, after finding that a four-star general who oversaw the case could have been influenced by an investigator who later became his adviser.

 

June 5, 2008 

Marine acquitted of all charges in Haditha killings

A court martial on Wednesday acquitted a US Marine for his role in the deaths of 24 civilians in Haditha in Iraq in 2005, the sixth man to be exonerated in the affair, a military official said...

Lieutenant Andrew Grayson, 27, was declared "not guilty on all charges" by a jury, said a spokesman for the Camp Pendleton military base in southern California where the hearing started on May 28.

Grayson had been charged with making false statements and attempting to fraudulently separate from the Marine Corps. He was also charged with obstruction of justice, but the military judge dismissed this charge Tuesday...

... Six have now had charges against them dropped, while charges of murder against squad leader Frank Wuterich were changed to the lesser offense of manslaughter.

Wuterich faces trial later this year, along with Colonel Jeffrey Chessani, the highest ranking officer accused over the incident who has been charged with dereliction of duty and violation of a lawful order.

April 16, 2008 

Rep. Murtha, 75, calls McCain, 71, 'too old'

"I've served with seven presidents," Murtha told a union audience. "When they come in, they all make mistakes. They all get older."

"This one guy running is about as old as me," he said, drawing laughter and applause. "Let me tell you something, it's no old man's job."

 

 

 

Feb. 26, 2008  TheHill.com

Watchdogs plan to protest Murtha's fundraiser today

Three watchdog groups are planning to protest Rep. John Murtha’s (D-Pa.) fundraising event Wednesday at the Ritz-Carlton hotel in Arlington, Va.
 

Every year, the powerful chairman of the House Appropriations Defense panel holds two fundraisers for his campaign: a dinner in February and a breakfast in the fall. Both events garner a wide range of participation from defense industry officials. 

This year, however, Americans for Prosperity, Citizens Against Government Waste (CAGW) and the National Taxpayers Union are holding a rally in front of the hotel where the fundraiser is being held to “display their displeasure with Rep. Murtha ‘Puttin’ on the Ritz,’ ” according to a press release.  

The groups called Wednesday’s event “a swanky fundraising dinner with pork-barrel-seeking defense lobbyists.”

 

Feb. 21, 2008  NewsMax.com

Murtha named Top Porker for 2007

Rep. John Murtha (D-Pa.) was named "Porker of the Year" for 2007 on Wednesday by the taxpayer watchdog group Citizens Against Government Waste (CAGW).

The organization, which promotes fiscal responsibility and federal earmarks reform, conducted an online poll of 3,400 people about members of Congress. The often controversial Murtha, chairman of the House subcommittee on defense appropriations, won with 63.4 percent of the votes cast, according to CAGW.

In FY 2008, which began last October, Murtha secured 72 earmarks worth $149.2 million for his district, according to CAGW.

"For flouting the rules and playing games with reform, while filing spending bills with pork and arrogantly threatening anyone that challenges his authority, Rep. Jack Murtha is the 2007 Porker of the Year," the CAGW announcement said.

A spokesman from Murtha's press office could not be reached for comment Wednesday.

No other lawmaker came close to Murtha's vote tally.

 

Feb. 18, 2008  PBS Frontline

PBS 'Frontline' airs in-depth Haditha program

PBS's "Frontline" will air an in-depth program tonight at 9 about the 2005 killings in Haditha, Iraq.

The piece, titled "Rules of Engagement," hopes to provide an evenhanded look at the incident, which involved a squad of Marines under Staff Sgt. Frank Wuterich, a former Meriden resident.

The Marines allegedly killed 24 Iraqis, some of whom may have been insurgents, during the Nov. 19, 2005 incident. Wuterich has said he and his men followed standard combat procedure.

The idea that the Haditha killings were a straightforward massacre of innocents is incorrect, according to Arun Rath, the producer, writer and director of "Rules of Engagement."

The initial media coverage - following an announcement by U.S. Rep. John Murtha of Pennsylvania that the Marines had killed "innocent civilians in cold blood" - focused on the evidence against the men, Rath told the Record-Journal Monday.

As evidence in the Marines' favor came out, however, there was little additional coverage, he added. Wuterich is suing Murtha for defamation.

The Frontline piece was originally going to focus on civilian casualties in Iraq and only use Haditha as an example, Rath said, but his investigation led him to believe there was more to the killings than met the eye.

"The biggest dramatic detail compared to the initial version was just how intense a day of fighting it was in Haditha," Rath said. "We do have a number of witnesses saying that (the Marines) were coming under fire, including Iraqi witnesses. It appears that this was an all-out insurgent push to retake the town."

The program includes footage from an aerial drone that circled the area during the incident and an interview with an intelligence officer who explains the fight going on in Haditha at the same time.

 

Feb. 16, 2008  CQ Politics

Clinton and Obama advised to court Murtha personally...

Some of the loyalists who orbit John P. Murtha , D-Pa., in the back corner of the Democratic side of the House chamber are holding off until their political godfather taps Obama or Clinton...

... Murtha said he and fellow Pennsylvanians Mike Doyle and Robert Brady will vote as a bloc.

“That’s what we’re going to do,” he said.

Brady backed him up and suggested there could be more in that camp.

“Mr. Murtha speaks for a lot of us, including myself,” he said. “If that’s what Mr. Murtha says, then I’m with him.”

Kaptur, who serves on the Defense Appropriations subcommittee with Murtha, said Clinton and Obama should court Murtha personally.

“If I were the candidates, I would be asking him,” she said. “I wouldn’t send emissaries.”

 

Feb. 15, 2008  TPM Muckraker

The year in earmarks

Rep. John Murtha (D-PA) has received campaign contributions from each (sub. req.) of the 26 groups for whom he requested earmarks in the recent defense spending bill. An analysis by Roll Call shows that since the beginning of 2005, PACs and employees of those groups have given Murtha $413,250, of which $100,750 came "in the two weeks leading up to March 16, the original deadline for lawmakers to file their earmark requests." (Roll Call)

 

Feb. 15, 2008  Pittsburgh's WTAE, Channel 4 News

Critics believe Murtha-backed defense center a waste

A Team 4 investigation found millions of your tax dollars going to a local government agency that many in Washington, including President George W. Bush, believe is a waste. But a powerful local congressman has kept the money flowing.

In July 1977, a flood devastated Johnstown, killing 80 people and destroying the downtown. Many businesses never recovered, including the Penn Traffic department store.

But in the early 1990s, U.S. Rep. John Murtha, D-Johnstown, persuaded Washington to move a new federal agency, the National Drug Intelligence Center, into the old department store.

Now, more than 300 people work there, and it's one of Johnstown's biggest employers.

"Our payroll represents several million dollars a year to the Johnstown economy," said Michael Walther of the NDIC.

That's good for Johnstown, but critics said the NDIC has not been good for taxpayers...

 

Feb. 14, 2008  New York Times

Lawmakers put out new call for ear marks

Representative John P. Murtha, Democrat of Pennsylvania, obtained $176 million in earmarks — more than any other House member except Roger Wicker, Republican of Mississippi, who is now a senator.

... More than 80 percent of Mr. Murtha’s earmarks were in the 2008 Defense Department spending bill. He is chairman of the appropriations subcommittee where the bill originated.

Matt Mazonkey, a spokesman for Mr. Murtha, said he believed that the $176 million figure was “too high,” but he refused to provide his own tally.

Mr. Murtha’s re-election campaign is holding a fund-raiser for him on Feb. 27 at a hotel in Arlington, Va., near the Pentagon. About 300 people, including many military industry lobbyists, plan to attend. The invitation stipulates a contribution of $1,500 for an individual and $5,000 for a political action committee.

Lobbyists often say they feel obliged to make campaign contributions as a way of gaining access to lawmakers to present their arguments on earmarks and other issues. Asked if there was any connection between giving money to Mr. Murtha and receiving earmarks, Mr. Mazonkey said: “Absolutely not. None at all.”

 

Jan. 14, 2008  New York Times

Pork King Murtha keeps his crown

The new earmark disclosure rules put into effect by Congress confirm the pre-eminence of Representative John Murtha at procuring eye-popping chunks of pork for contractors he helped put in business in Johnstown, Pa.

The Pennsylvania Democrat, a power player on defense appropriations, exudes pride, not embarrassment, for delivering hundreds of millions of dollars in largesse to district beneficiaries. They, in turn, requite with hundreds of thousands of dollars in campaign donations.

Mr. Murtha led all House members this year, securing $162 million in district favors, according to the watchdog group Taxpayers for Common Sense.

 

 

Nov. 30 ,2007  Politico.com

Murtha's comments on 'surge' a problem for Democrats

Rep. John Murtha (D-Pa.), one of the leading anti-war voices in the House Democratic Caucus, is back from a trip to Iraq and he now says the "surge is working." This could be a huge problem for Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and other Democratic leaders, who are blocking approval of the full $200 billion being sought by President Bush for combat operations in Iraq in 2008.

Murtha's latest comments are also a stark reversal from what he said earlier in the year. The Pennsylvania Democrat, who chairs the powerful Defense subcommittee on the House Appropriations Committee,  has previously stated that the surge "is not working" and the United States faced a military disaster in Iraq.

Murtha told CNN on July 12, following a Bush speech, that the president's views on the success of  surge in Iraq were "delusional."

 

 

Nov. 30 ,2007  Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

Murtha says surge is working in Iraq

"I think the 'surge' is working," the Democrat said in a videoconference from his Johnstown office, describing the president's decision to commit more than 20,000 additional combat troops this year. But the Iraqis "have got to take care of themselves."

 

Nov. 2, 2007  Washington Post

Federal earmarks fill coffers of PA nonprofit
John Murtha and Concurrent Technologies

EXCERPTS:

Concurrent Technologies began two decades ago doing metalworking research in Pennsylvania's struggling rust belt. In the years since, the Johnstown, Pa., company has become a federal contracting chameleon.

It is an intelligence adviser, an environmental consultant and a software engineering specialist. It has trained mine-detecting dogs and managed religion-based initiatives. It oversees construction projects, organizes conferences and studies ways to use hydrogen for fuel in Pennsylvania and South Carolina. Missile-defense research is part of its portfolio. So is the development of special armor for combat vehicles in Iraq and "solid waste technology" in Florida.

And it is a nonprofit charity.

Behind the rise of Concurrent is Rep. John P. Murtha (D-Pa.), chairman of the House Appropriations Committee's defense subcommittee, who helped arrange funding to launch the organization in 1988. Murtha has since arranged millions of dollars more in directed congressional appropriations called earmarks. Now Concurrent has nearly $250 million in annual revenue and 1,500 employees.

Concurrent is a prime example of how to marry entrepreneurial savvy, influence on Capitol Hill and arcane procurement rules to create budget magnets in congressional districts. Unlike many other big contractors, Concurrent pays no income tax on most of its revenue. Unlike nonprofit, federally funded research-and-development corporations, it is not chartered by the federal government.

...

Concurrent's lobbying firm, PMA Group, is run by a former defense subcommittee aide, Paul Magliocchetti. Since 1997, Concurrent has paid Magliocchetti and PMA about $3 million for lobbying and consulting services, according to tax documents filed with the government.

...

In the past four years, Congress has directed at least $226 million to Concurrent in earmarks, according to records compiled by Taxpayers for Common Sense. This year, Murtha and four other lawmakers proposed $18 million more in earmarks for the firm.

 

 

Oct. 30, 2007  pg. 1, Wall Street Journal

Murtha Inc. - How Lawmaker Rebuilt Hometown on Earmarks

EXCERPTS:

JOHNSTOWN, Pa. -- If John Murtha were a businessman, he'd be the biggest employer in this town.

The powerful U.S. congressman has used his clout on Capitol Hill to create thousands of jobs and steer billions of dollars in federal spending to help his hometown in western Pennsylvania recover from devastating floods and the flight of its steelmakers.

More is on the way. In the massive 2008 military-spending bill now before Congress -- which could go to a House-Senate conference as soon as Thursday -- Mr. Murtha has steered more taxpayer funds to his congressional district than any other member. The Democratic lawmaker is chairman of the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Defense, which will oversee more than $459 billion in military spending this year.

A review by The Wall Street Journal of dozens of such contracts funded by Mr. Murtha's committee shows that many weren't sought by the military or federal agencies they were intended to benefit. Some were inefficient or mismanaged, according to interviews, public records and previously unpublished Pentagon audits. One Murtha-backed firm, ProLogic Inc., is under federal investigation for allegedly diverting public funds to develop commercial software, people close to the case say. The company denies wrongdoing and is in line to get millions of dollars more in the pending defense bill.

...

Mr. Murtha has steered at least $600 million in earmarks to his district in the past four years, according to Taxpayers for Common Sense, a nonpartisan Washington group. The nonprofit group estimates he's sent $2 billion or more to the district since joining the appropriations committee.

...

There's no evidence that Mr. Murtha personally profits from the hometown spending he rams through Congress. He ranked No. 333 in net worth among the 435 members of the House in a 2005 analysis by the nonprofit Center for Responsive Politics. But his campaign coffers have risen since he became chairman of the defense-spending panel. In the first nine months of this year, Mr. Murtha's campaign committees have reported contributions of more than $1.05 million.

 

Oct. 30, 2007  CBS News

John Murtha's Kingdom of Pork

EXCERPTS:

the powerful chairman of the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Defense, has dubiously funneled billions of taxpayer dollars to his hard-luck hometown.

...

Defense contractors have found that if they open an office there and hire the right lobbyist, they can get lucrative, no-bid contracts.

 

Oct. 30, 2007

Career Army man to challenge Murtha

EXCERPTS:

After nearly three decades in the military, William T. Russell’s latest mission has brought him to Johnstown.

The career Army man, just two years short of retirement, has left the service and moved to the Flood City in order to mount a political campaign against veteran Democratic U.S. Rep. John Murtha...

...While Murtha’s encounters with wounded soldiers have solidified his stance on Iraq, Russell said a similar encounter left him with the opposite impression: To withdraw from Iraq, he argues, would render the sacrifices of those soldiers pointless.

“I think Mr. Murtha is just flat-out wrong,” Russell said.

The Republican also cites, as Irey did, Murtha’s public accusation that U.S. Marines murdered innocent civilians in the Iraq town of Haditha in 2005.

The congressman, Russell contends, is “playing right into the hands of this enemy.”

On his Web site, Russell takes that line of thought a step further and attempts to raise the stakes for next year’s election.

“In this war against Islamic radicalism, the political battle of the 2008 election in the Pennsylvania 12th Congressional District is a critical turning point,” he said.

 

Oct. 17, 2007

Murtha renew calls for war surtax

EXCERPTS:

Murtha renewed his call for a surtax to fund the Iraq War, an idea Pelosi has shot down, and he cautioned against bringing up legislation to condemn the Armenian genocide, a measure Pelosi supports.

On Wednesday, Pelosi appeared to acquiesce to one of Murtha's demands, indicating that the vote on the Armenian bill was now in doubt.

 

Oct. 17, 2007

Murtha tells Pelosi NOT to allow Turkish genocide vote

EXCERPTS:

WASHINGTON, Oct. 17 — Support for a House resolution condemning as genocide the mass killings of Armenians in 1915 continued to weaken today as Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who only days ago vowed to bring the measure to the floor of the House, signaled that she may be changing her mind.

“Whether it will come up or not, what the action will be, remains to be seen,” Ms. Pelosi told reporters on Capitol Hill today. Her uncertainty stood in sharp contrast to her earlier pledge to bring the measure to the floor if it emerged from the House Foreign Affairs Committee, which it did a week ago by 27 to 21.

Worried about antagonizing Turkish leaders, House members from both parties have been withdrawing their support from the resolution, which had been backed by the Democratic leadership.

The measure’s prospects were weakened further today when Representative John P. Murtha, the Pennsylvania Democrat who heads the Appropriations subcommittee on military matters, spoke out against it.

“What happened nearly 100 years ago was terrible,” said Mr. Murtha, who has urged the speaker not to bring up the resolution for a vote. “I don’t know whether it was a massacre or a genocide, but that is beside the point.

 

Oct. 7, 2007

Al Qaeda and Haditha bombshell: What the MSM didn't tell you
by Michelle Malkin

EXCERPTS:

You won’t hear about this from John Murtha, but you’ll read it first on the Internet. Nathaniel Helms at Defend our Marines has an exclusive report on the battle in Haditha that the media ignored...

...Helms’ reporting is a damning indictment of the American media as propaganda tools and fools.

Read the whole thing.

Make sure to fax a copy to John Murtha:

814-539-6229 — District
202-225-5709 — Washington

And, of course, don’t look for the NYTimes to put this on the front page.

 

Oct. 6, 2007

Al Qaeda In Haditha
exclusive article by Nathan Helms

EXCERPTS:

The report – apparently overlooked by a Washington press corps awash in leaked Bargewell documents and secret Naval Criminal Investigative Service reports – shows that Marine Corps intelligence operatives were advised of the scheme to demonize the Marines by an informant named Muhannad Hassan Hamadi. The informant was snared by 3/1 Marines on December 11 2005 and decided to cooperate...

The prosecutors in the case against eight Marines charged with murder and cover up at Haditha still maintain the besieged infantrymen acted solely out of malice and poor judgment when they killed 24 Iraqis there. The prosecution’s investigation was launched after a story by Time magazine reporter Tim McGirk on March 6, 2006 accused the Marines of cold blooded murder in retaliation for the death of a brother Marine. 

McGirk received his video “evidence” and contacts from two known Iraqi insurgent operatives already under observation by Marine Corps counter intelligence teams. One of the Iraqi witnesses McGirk relied on had just been released from almost six months captivity for insurgent activities and the other witness was considered a useful intelligence tool by Marines listening to him talk on his cell phone. McGirk never interviewed the Marines, who ironically had prepared a similar intelligence summary in anticipation of his canceled visit.

 

Oct. 4, 2007

Marines recommend no murder charge in Haditha/Wuterich case

EXCERPTS:

SAN FRANCISCO, Oct 4 (Reuters) - An investigating officer has recommended that no murder charges be brought against U.S. Marine Corps Staff Sgt. Frank Wuterich in connection with a massacre of civilians in the Iraqi town of Haditha in 2005, defense attorney Mark Zaid said on Thursday.

Wuterich had been earlier accused of being the ringleader of troops who killed 24 Iraqi civilians in the November, 2005 incident. "The recommendation was for lesser charges, none of which include murder," Zaid told Reuters in a telephone interview.

 

Sept. 29, 2007

Murtha must testify in Haditha Marine's defamation case

EXCERPTS:

A federal judge refused Friday to dismiss a defamation case against Rep. John P. Murtha and ordered the Pennsylvania Democrat to give a sworn deposition in the case.

A Marine Corps sergeant is suing the 18-term congressman for alleging ''cold-blooded murder and war crimes'' by unnamed soldiers in connection with the deaths of Iraqi civilians in the town of Haditha.

The deaths became prominent in May 2006 when Murtha, who opposes the Iraq war, said at a Capitol Hill news conference that a Pentagon war crimes investigation will show Marines killed dozens of innocent Iraqi civilians in the town in 2005.

...

The Justice Department wanted the case dismissed because Murtha was acting in his official role as a lawmaker. Assistant U.S. Attorney John F. Henault said the comments were made as part of the debate over the war in Iraq.

U.S. District Judge Rosemary M. Collyer said the congressman might be right, but said she won't know for sure unless Murtha explains himself. She did not set a date for Murtha's testimony but said she would also require him to turn over documents related to his comments.

''You're writing a very wide road for members of Congress to go to their home districts and say anything they choose about private persons and be able to do so without any liability. Are you sure you want to do that?'' Collyer said, adding later, ''How far can a congressman go and still be protected?''

Collyer said she was troubled by the idea the lawmakers are immune from lawsuits regardless of what they say to advance their political careers.

 

August 11, 2007

Bob Novak: "King Corruption" Reigns

EXCERPTS:

Republicans returning to the House floor on Friday morning Aug. 3 after their walkout the night before were surprised to find as presiding officer the Democrat they call "King Corruption": Rep. John Murtha of Pennsylvania, master of earmarks and backroom deals.
Rep. Ed Pastor, a 64-year-old eight-term Democrat from Phoenix, Ariz., who is affable and well-liked by Republicans, had been scheduled to preside. But Speaker Nancy Pelosi, fearing parliamentary tricks by Republicans, put her muscleman Murtha in the chair.
Murtha's performance as non-partisan presiding officer ran true to form. On a voice vote, Murtha ruled for Democrats when obviously more Republicans were on the House floor. He subsequently ordered a roll call vote, though members rising in support clearly fell short of the 44 required. After that ruling was challenged, Murtha declared: "The chair's decision is not subject to question."

 

 

August 10, 2007

Hot Air Audio: Rep. Murtha's office hangs up when asked about the Haditha Marines

 

 

August 3, 2007

Murtha nabs $150M pork

EXCERPTS:

Rep. John Murtha (D-Pa.), chairman of the House Appropriations defense panel, has secured the most earmarked dollars in the 2008 military spending bill, followed closely by the panel’s ranking member Rep. Bill Young (R-Fla.).

Even though Young secured 52 earmarks, worth $117.2 million — and co-sponsored at least $27 million worth of others —  Murtha’s 48 earmarks amount to a total of $150.5 million, according to a database compiled by the watchdog organization Taxpayers for Common Sense (TCS)...

...Murtha, the defense industry’s darling, has been known throughout his tenure on the defense panel to shell out a large number of earmarks. His biggest earmark in the bill is $23 million for the National Drug Intelligence Center (NDIC), a move that sparked a fierce fight with Rep. Todd Tiahrt (R-Kan.), who earlier this year voted in a private meeting to strip Murtha’s earmark.

The Bush administration requested $16 million to shut down the center, which is in Murtha’s district, because it replicated the work of a similar center...

...Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) got her share of pork projects — 11 projects valued at $37.3 million.

 

July 16, 2007

Bob Novak: Sham Earmark Reform

EXCERPTS:

Considering the Interior Appropriations bill June 26, the House kept alive 11 egregious earmarks. Rep. John Murtha, king of Democratic earmarkers, kept $1.2 million for the Southwestern Pennsylvania Heritage Preservation Commission in Hollidaysburg, Pa. (by a 343 to 86 vote), and $150,000 for W.A. Young & Sons Foundry in Greene County, Pa. (328 to 104)...

...Moving on to Financial Services Appropriations June 28, the House voted 335 to 87 to continue Murtha's raid on the Treasury: $231,000 for the Grace Johnstown (Pa.) Area Regional Industries Incubator.

 

July 15, 2007

Defense firms like Murtha's district

EXCERPTS:

As chairman of the House Defense Appropriations subcommittee, the 17-term Democrat is one of the most powerful politicians in Washington, and he uses that power to deliver federal money to his congressional district as well as to his political allies across the country...

...In 2005, 190 contractors in Mr. Murtha's district received $228 million in government projects, placing the district in just 236th place among all 435 congressional districts.

That's because large defense companies do the bulk of their business elsewhere. Northrop, for instance, has its corporate government relations offices in Arlington, Va., in the district of Rep. James Moran, a Democrat who also sits on the appropriations committee with Mr. Murtha. Mr. Moran's district ranked No. 1 on fedspending.org's 2005 list, garnering close to $17 billion in contracts.

 

July 13, 2007

Marine's Parents Want Murtha Censured for Haditha Remarks

EXCERPTS:

The parents of a U.S. Marine accused of killing three Iraqis execution-style in Haditha in late 2005 said Thursday they would ask Congress to censure Rep. John Murtha (D-Pa.) for saying that the Marines "overreacted" during the incident and killed civilians "in cold blood."

"It's too late for an apology," Darryl Sharratt of Canonsburg, Pa., told Cybercast News Service after the hearing officer in the case, Lt. Col. Paul Ware, released an 18-page report recommending that all charges against Sharratt's son, Lance Cpl. Justin Sharratt, be dismissed because his actions "were in accord with the rules of engagement and use of force."

Sharratt said that he, his wife Theresa and other supporters of their 22-year-old son were planning to visit Martha's office, and "we're going to ask for more than an apology."

"We need this man censured by our Congress," he said, because "he denied my son -- and the other Marines involved -- their constitutional rights to a fair trial and a presumption of innocence."

...

Roger Hughes, chairman of the Presidential Watch Political Action Committee -- the umbrella organization for the "Boot Murtha" and "Expose Murtha" campaigns -- told Cybercast News Service that he -- "unlike Murtha" -- would not comment on the Haditha investigations.

He did say, however, that "Murtha's remarks about the guilt of these people having killed civilians in cold blood is very reminiscent of John Kerry's Senate testimony" in 1971, when the current senator from Massachusetts stated he'd heard Vietnam veterans say they had "randomly shot at civilians" and "razed villages in a fashion reminiscent of Genghis Khan."

"That hasn't proven to be true, either," Hughes added.

"Censure is too good for Murtha on this alone," Hughes said, even without considering such things in his past as questions regarding his war hero status and involvement in the Abscam scandal.

 

July 10, 2007

Investigator: Drop Haditha charges against Sharratt

EXCERPTS:

July 10, 2007... CAMP PENDLETON – An investigator has recommended that all charges be dismissed against Lance Cpl. Justin Sharratt, accused of killing three Iraqis execution-style in Haditha.

In a written report, Lt. Col. Paul Ware says the evidence shows that Sharratt's actions on Nov. 19, 2005, “were in accord with the rules of engagement and use of force.”

 

June 18, 2007

Army, manufacturer face criticism over combat vehicle Stryker

EXCERPTS:

"An Army vehicle controversial since it was conceived in the late 1990s is facing mounting scrutiny from military experts and a leading government watchdog amid a recent spike of American casualties in Iraq.

"...since March, when Stryker brigades were deployed in Iraq's violent Diyala province, casualties associated with the vehicles have been rising steadily. They have been found to be particularly vulnerable to automatic weapons fire and improvised explosive devices (IEDs). One infantry company stationed in Diyala lost five Strykers in less than a week, the Associated Press reported last month.

"Still, about 700 soldiers and nearly 100 Stryker vehicles have been deployed to Diyala this year as part of the "surge" of 30,000 additional U.S. troops."

 

May 28, 2007

Robert Novak column: Jack Murtha's friends

EXCERPTS:

"Murtha's earmark requests attest (as required by the new reforms) that "neither I nor my spouse had any financial interest" in either project. What he did not attest was that officers and employees of Concurrent Technologies contributed $56,475 to Murtha from the 2000 election cycle to the present. That includes $4,500 from CEO and President Daniel DeVos and $5,000 from Vice President Emil Sarady."...

... "The test for Democrats is what they will do about Murtha now that it is known he rewards contributors with federal funds."

 

May 24, 2007

Murtha sends Rep. Rogers an apology note

EXCERPTS:

"Democratic Rep. John Murtha of Pennsylvania sent a note of apology to Republican Rep. Mike Rogers of Michigan Wednesday, the day after a divided House denied Rogers a vote to officially reprimand the powerful senior Democrat...".

"Members and aides on both sides of the aisle continued to speculate that Rogers or another Republican will eventually call on the ethics committee to formally investigate last week's flap, even after Tuesday's partyline vote to prevent debate."

 

May 23, 2007

LA Times: Murtha's Misstep

EXCERPTS:

"It doesn't help the Democrats' image that this dispute over Murtha's comments originated in an earmark, a special-interest provision widely seen as part of the "culture of corruption" decried by Democrats in the last election. Rogers angered Murtha by trying to scuttle $23 million for the National Drug Intelligence Center, located in Murtha's district and regarded by the Bush administration as duplicative of other agencies. "

 

May 22, 2007

Democrats avoid vote on reprimanding Murtha

EXCERPTS:

"Democrats managed to table a resolution declaring that Mr. Murtha, somewhat incongruously referred to as "the gentleman from Pennsylvania," had violated the "safety, dignity or integrity of the House" in his treatment of Representative Mike Rogers, a Republican from Michigan.

"The vote was 219 to 189, mostly along party lines, with 13 lawmakers simply voting "present."

 

May 20, 2007

Pelosi defends Murtha Vs. GOP reprimand

EXCERPTS:

"Pelosi, D-Calif., said she had "no idea what actually happened" during a noisy exchange in the House chamber last week between Reps. John P. Murtha, D-Pa., and Mike Rogers, R-Mich."

"What I do know is that Congressman Murtha has - enjoys - an excellent reputation in the Congress on both sides of the aisle," said Pelosi..."

 

May 18, 2007

Dem. Rep. Murtha accused of ethics violation
GOP Rep. Mike Rogers says Murtha vowed to block funding for his district

EXCERPT:

"Rep. Mike Rogers, R-Mich., who for six years served as an FBI special agent investigating public corruption as a member of the Chicago bureau's organized crime unit, says that Rep. John Murtha, D-Pa., chairman of the House Appropriations Committee's subcommittee on defense, violated House ethics rules Thursday for threatening to strip any funding for Rogers' projects after Rogers pushed for the elimination of a government center in Murtha's home district."

 

May 16, 2007
Democrats bend rules, break pledge

EXCERPT:

"So far this year, Democrats have frequently prevented Republicans from offering amendments, limited debate in the committee and, just last week, maneuvered around chamber rules to protect a $23 million project for Rep. John P. Murtha (D-Pa.)."

 

March 29, 2007

Murtha calls for return of the draft
during Wolf Blitzer Show/CNN  -
 video

EXCERPTS:

  • “I vote against the volunteer army.”

  • “We ought to not have a select few who volunteer.
    I think everybody ought to be obligated to serve.”

  • “I think [the draft is] absolutely needed

 

December 30, 2006

Dealing With Congressman Inc.
NY Times editorial points to corrupt Murtha

EXCERPT:

"As the Democrats regain power in Congress next week they would be wise to look to one of their own — Representative John Murtha of Pennsylvania — for ironic inspiration in enacting the ethics reforms they promised voters. Even in the minority, Mr. Murtha made himself a legend at mastering the same quid pro quo culture that Democrats denounced in running against the Republicans’ manipulations of Washington’s money trough. His deliverance of masses of pork to favored campaign donors and lobbyists has been laid bare in a report by The Washington Post, detailing the sort of classic money churn that helped drive the Republicans from power."

 

December 25, 2006
Nonprofit Connects Murtha, Lobbyists

Pg. 1, Washington Post

EXCERPTS:

"For a quarter of a century, Carmen Scialabba labored for Rep. John P. Murtha (D-Pa.), helping parcel out the billions of dollars that came through the House Appropriations Committee, so when the disabled aide needed a favor, Murtha was there.

"In 2001, Murtha announced the creation of Scialabba's nonprofit agency for the disabled in Johnstown, Pa. The next year, with Scialabba still on his staff, Murtha secured a half-million dollars for the group, the Pennsylvania Association for Individuals With Disabilities (PAID), and put another $150,000 in the pipeline for 2003, according to appropriations committee records and former committee aides. Since then, the group has helped hundreds of disabled people find work.

"PAID has become a gathering point for defense contractors and lobbyists with business before Murtha's defense appropriations subcommittee, and for Pennsylvania businesses and universities that have thrived on federal money obtained by Murtha.

"Lobbyists and corporate officials serve as directors on the nonprofit group's board, where they help raise money and find jobs for Johnstown's disabled workers. Some of those lobbyists have served as intermediaries between the defense contractors and businessmen on the board, and Murtha and his aides."

 

Watch the full 54-minute
1980 Murtha/ABSCAM FBI tape:

 

 


 see Murtha-Haditha timeline


(click to enlarge)

 

 

 

Murtha video archive

"You know, we do business for a while,
maybe I'll be interested..."

Watch the full
54-minute 1980 Murtha/ABSCAM FBI surveillance tape

 

 

5/17/2006
Murtha on Hardball:
says Marines
"killed innocent civilians
in cold blood"
- before the troops have even been
charged with a crime!

 

 

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