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Jack Murtha and the culture of corruption

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi hopes to became Speaker of the House by pushing the “culture of corruption” theme in this fall’s election. Unfortunately, instances of corruption among House Democrats keep conspiring against her. The latest instance hits particularly close to home. This Washington Times editorial notes that her point man on defeatism in Iraq, Rep. John Murtha, appears to be part of the culture Pelosi purports to condemn.

The Times collects a number of tidbits. The Los Angeles Times reported last year that Murtha’s brother, Robert, runs a lobbying firm that represents 10 companies that received more than $20 million from last year’s defense spending bill. Another official of the lobbying firm is a former Murtha congressional aide. Murtha is the ranking member of the House subcommittee that appropriates this money.

Murtha’s role in the culture of corruption also implicates Pelosi herself. Roll Call reported last year that Murtha “reportedly leaned on U.S. Navy officials to sign a contract to transfer the Hunters Point Shipyard to the city of San Francisco.” Pelosi’s nephew, Laurence Pelosi, was an executive of the company that owned the rights to the land. Roll Call also reported that Murtha has been behind millions of dollars worth of earmarks in defense appropriations bills that went to companies owned by the children of his fellow Pennsylvania Democrat, Rep. Paul Kanjorski. And the Center for Responsive Politics, a non-partisan campaign finance watchdog group, lists Murtha as the top recipient of defense industry dollars in the current 2006 election cycle.

Nor is Murtha a newcomer to the culture of corruption. The Times recalls that after the 1980 Abscam scandal, the FBI named him an “unindicted co-conspirator.”

Just to be clear, I’m not questioning John Murtha’s patriotism. I’m quesioning his ethics.

JOHN adds: Mad Jack Murtha is one of the most disgraceful members of Congress, in a class with William Jefferson, Cynthia McKinney and Maxine Waters. To help defeat him, go here and contribute to his opponent in November, Diana Irey.

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