Submitted by NLPC Staff on Thu, 10/27/2011 - 09:58
Accusations of corruption directed against the late Congressman John Murtha (D-PA) look like they were true. Recently released files seem to confirm that the Federal Bureau of Investigation suspected that Murtha schemed to route federal dollars to bogus companies and other operations that would benefit his friends and former employees and ultimately his own campaigns.
Former Murtha crony Paul Magliocchetti was indicted yesterday on 11 counts. The indictment was not unexpected and relates primarily to Magliocchetti’s rather hamhanded manuevers to evade campaign contribution limits by having family members, employees and friends make contributions for which they were paid back.
The indictment certainly relates the PMA “pay to play” scheme, but it does not address the underlying possible crimes by members of Congress who secured earmarks for PMA clients in return for campaign contributions and other benefits. It is not known to what extent, if any, the Justice Department has sought a plea bargain with Magliocchetti in return for information about members of Congress. Maggliocchetti’s son Mark is cooperating with prosecutors but it is not known if his information goes beyond his father to members of Congress.
Political analyst Charlie Cook says that the scandals enveloping Reps. Charles Rangel (D-NY) and John Murtha (D-PA) threaten to increase losses for their party in next year’s election. He writes:
As House Democrats try to avert political disaster by limiting their 2010 losses to about 16 seats, the norm for post-World War II presidents' first midterm elections, dealing with their members' ethics problems may be one of their toughest tasks.
The task is tough because of Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s reluctance to move against either one, notwithstanding her promise to “drain the swamp” of Congressional corruption and to “create the most honest, most open, and most ethical Congress in history.”
The House ethics committee is likely to exonerate five members of the Congressional Black Caucus (CBC) who were accused of taking an improper trip to the Caribbean, according to sources familiar with the case.
If this is true, we are not surprised. When we provided photographs and audio recordings from the trip at the request of the Committee in May, we made clear that our willingness to do so was not an endorsement of the Ethics Committee process, which has again proven to be a joke.
Submitted by NLPC Staff on Tue, 08/11/2009 - 22:04
Talking jets and Congress, with Rep. Joe Sestak, D-Penn.; Rep. Marsha Blackburn, R-Tenn.; Jullian Epstein, Democratic strategist; Julie Roginsky, Democratic strategist; Ben Ferguson, radio show host; Peter Flaherty, National Legal and Policy Center; and CNBC's Dennis Kneale.
Nancy Pelosi and John Murtha have retreated half way on their plan to spend $550 million on private jets for use by members of Congress. This is not good enough. Plans for the remaining four aircraft must be abandoned as well.
Murtha was quoted by AP as saying, "If the Department of Defense does not want these aircraft, they will be eliminated from the bill." I guess the public uproar over the jet purchase had nothing to do with it. After years of ramming unwanted projects down the throat of the Defense Department, Murtha this time just wants to defer to the Pentagon.
It is amazing that Pelosi continues to allow Murtha such a high visability as his cronies get indicted one by one, and he unapologetically defends earmarks for projects like the Airport for No One in his district.
The fact that these aircraft purchases were even contemplated shows how out of touch Congress has become. Pelosi and Murtha are becoming symbols of everything that is wrong with Congress. Until they relent completely, this issue will not go away.
Submitted by NLPC Staff on Mon, 08/10/2009 - 22:26
Congress is partially backing down on its plan to buy new executive jets. CNBC host Dennis Keale discusses with Julie Roginsky, Democratic strategist; Keith Boykin, The Daily Voice; Peter Flaherty, National Legal and Policy Center and Jack Burkman, Republican strategist
In the wake of the indictment of Richard Ianieri of Coherent Systems International, for whom Rep. John Murtha (D-PA) secured earmarks, NLPC Chairman Ken Boehm has offered some thoughts. From OneNewsNow yesterday:
"These are crummy little firms. Many of them are located in Murtha's district. That's part of the game," he explains. "But if they have anything substantial to do, they sub it out to some real company and keep a big chunk for themselves. And out of that chunk they pay the political contributions that go hand-in-hand with this kind of operation."
Murtha, Boehm contends, is like the center of a target that prosecutors will not reach until they penetrate the outer layers of corruption.
Paula Reed Ward and Dennis B. Roddy reported today in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette:
Federal prosecutors filed corruption charges yesterday against a onetime defense contractor who has ties to both John Murtha and a suburban Johnstown defense contractor currently under criminal investigation.
Richard S. Ianieri, former president and CEO of Coherent Systems International Corp., was accused of accepting $200,000 in kickbacks. He is charged through a criminal information and is expected to plead guilty.
The indictment of Ianieri represents the first charges leveled as a result of investigations into firms receiving defense earmarks – many of which benefited former aides and associates of Rep. John Murtha (D-PA).
Self-investigation has never been a signature virtue of Congress. So taxpayers should closely monitor the House ethics committee’s inquiry into the lucrative relationships between defense appropriators and military contractors.
The committee finally confirmed the inquiry — not yet a full-blown investigation — into suspicions that members and staffers earmarked hundreds of millions in defense contracts for favored companies in return for tens of millions in political donations. In a separate matter, the ethics committee opened an inquiry into whether Caribbean trips taken by Representative Charles Rangel and four other lawmakers violated House gift rules. It is encouraging to see such curiosity from the traditionally somnolent panel.
We too are glad that the Ethics Committee is looking into these matters, especially since we are the source of the allegations about the Rangel-led Caribbean junket. But it will take more than “curiosity” to deal with the current wave of corruption in Congress.