John Wilke (1954-2009) Helped Expose Murtha, Mollohan

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Wilke photoWall Street Journal reporter John Wilke passed away last week at the age of 54.

NLPC served as a source for Wilke on a number of articles including an October 30, 2007 front-page story titled “How Lawmaker Rebuilt Hometown on Earmarks; Johnstown Gets Billions With Power Broker's Aid; FBI Questions a Contract.” It detailed how Murtha has steered as much as $2 billion to his district.

Wilke’s scrutiny of Murtha was an outgrowth of earlier stories on Rep. Alan Mollohan (D-WV), including an April 7, 2006 front-page story titled “Appropriations, Local Ties And Now a Probe of a Legislator.” It touched off a firestorm that resulted in Mollohan’s resignation from the House Ethics Committee on April 21, 2006.

Five weeks earlier, NLPC had filed a Complaint with the U.S. Attorney for the District of Columbia detailing more than 250 misrepresentations and omissions on Mollohan’s disclosure reports, prompting an extensive probe by the FBI.

Wilke wrote another front-page story about Mollohan on April 25, 2006 titled “Lawmaker Bought Farm With CEO Who Gained From Appropriations.” For his reporting on earmark abuses, Wilke won the Everett McKinley Dirksen Award from the National Press Foundation in 2007.

An interesting obituary appeared in the Boston Globe on May 3.  John’s friends have established a memorial blog called “The Wilke Way.”