A commenter on this blog - "Noble" - suggested that perhaps (1) Murtha's sudden BIG LOUD TEAR-FILLED call for "immediate withdrawal from Iraq," (an OLD position for him, but one that he had NEVER tried to BROADCAST AS LOUDLY OR AS WIDELY BEFORE), AND (2) the sudden "play" it got from the House Democrats - led by Nancy Pelosi the Minority Leader - was a smokescreen intended to BOTH misdirect attention from impending ethics investigations over them both using influence to steer DOD business to their relatives and business friends.
Specifically it seems that Murtha steered business to HIS BROTHER'S LOBBYING FIRM - KSA - and helped Pelosi get a big project for her district which DIRECTLY BENEFITTED A RELATIVE OF HERS.
LATIMES: "When Congress passed the $417-billion Pentagon spending bill last ear, Rep. John P. Murtha, the top Democrat on the House defense appropriations subcommittee, boasted about the money he secured to create jobs in his Pennsylvania district.ROLL CALL put it this way:
But the bill Murtha helped write also benefited at least 10 companies represented by a lobbying firm where his brother, Robert "Kit" Murtha, is a senior partner, according to disclosure records, interviews and an analysis of the bill by The Times."
Republican lawmakers say that ties between Rep. John Murtha (D-Pa.) and his brother's lobbying firm, KSA Consulting, may warrant investigation by the House ethics committee...Murtha also flexed his muscles with the DOD to get his boss, Pelosi a big DOD deal for her district:
According to a June 13 article in The Los Angeles Times, the fiscal 2005 defense appropriations bill included more than $20 million in funding for at least 10 companies for whom KSA lobbied. Carmen Scialabba, a longtime Murtha aide, works at KSA as well. KSA directly lobbied Murtha's office on behalf of seven companies, and a Murtha aide told a defense contractor that it should retain KSA to represent it, according to the LA Times.
In early 2004, Murtha reportedly leaned 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 also inserted 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).
The agreement came a few weeks after the Navy sent Newsom a letter saying that it was having doubts about going ahead with an agreement that was announced with great fanfare in Washington in January 2002 by Rep. Nancy Pelosi, D-San Francisco, then-Mayor Willie Brown and Navy Secretary Gordon England.According to THE HILL Murtha is the number one Democrat money grubber in the Congress from the defense industry:
When he was in Washington last Wednesday, Newsom met in the Capitol offices of Pelosi, the House minority leader, with Pelosi, Navy Assistant Secretary Hansford T. Johnson, representatives of California Democratic Sens. Barbara Boxer and Dianne Feinstein, and Rep. John Murtha, D-Pa., a big gun brought in by Pelosi to convince the Navy the time for delays had passed.
Murtha, the powerful ranking Democrat on the House military appropriations subcommittee, made it clear to the Navy that he wanted a binding agreement signed by Wednesday. Another meeting was held in Pelosi's offices Wednesday, minus Newsom, and the Navy signed the accord.
I suspect that the tear-filled PR move Murtha made last week was intended to divert attention. My commenter "Noble" put it this way:For the past three years, Rep. John Murtha (D-Pa.), the ranking member of the Defense Appropriations Subcommittee, has been the No. 1 beneficiary of defense campaign donations in the House and has not fallen below No. 3 for Congress as a whole.
In fact, for just the 2006 cycle, Murtha ranks No. 1 overall, with $188,350 in donations from the defense industry. House Armed Services Committee Chairman Duncan Hunter (R-Calif.) follows with $118,350. In 2004, Murtha ranked behind only President Bush and his Democratic opponent, Sen. John Kerry, in overall defense-industry contributions, with $284,750.
During the 2002 election cycle, when Murtha was forced to campaign for his seat because of state redistricting that pitted him against a fellow congressman in the primary, he again scored No. 1 in all Congress, pulling in $309,299 in political donations from defense companies.
In 2000, Murtha slipped behind Hunter, who at that point was running for Armed Services chairman. “Murtha walks on water. If you want anything done on the committee, you go to Murtha. Murtha is the reason why the [defense appropriations] bill gets done each year,” said Ashdown about the veteran Congressman known to be a dealmaker who frequently reaches across the aisle.
But Murtha also has raised some watchdogs’ concerns because his brother Robert “Kit” Murtha runs KSA Consulting, a lobbying group that represents some 10 smaller defense companies. In 2004, Murtha’s brother was able to secure $20 million in the defense-spending bill for his clients. Kit Murtha repeatedly has denied working directly with his brother’s office.
I am wondering IF he has Proposed this controversial CUT AND RUN proposal as a smoke screen, so he can come back and tell the public that the Bush White House is investigating him because they are trying to punish him..."
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