Robert Novak reports on the continuing saga of Democratic corruption in the House of Representatives. As usual, the main protaganist is Rep. John Murtha, who smuggled into the intelligence authorization bill two earmarks. The beneficiary is a contractor headquartered in Murtha’s hometown, whose executives are big contributors to Murtha’s campaigns.
Murtha and his fellow Democrats pretended that the intelligence bill contained no earmarks, but Rep. Jeff Flake eventually found 26 of them. By the time he did so, however, it was too late to offer amendments. When Rep. Mike Rogers tried to eliminate the earmark for a National Drug Intelligence Center in Murtha’s district, Murtha made his infamous threat, in violation of House rules, to retaliate against Rogers’ earmarks.
Novak reports that, while Murtha clearly is an embarrassment to the Democrats, the party has no will or real desire to curb him, or themselves. Indeed, House Appropriations Committee chairman David Obey, who has falsely denied the existence of earmarks, now has decreed that earmarks in his bills will not be revealed until a measure passes both the House and the Senate.
A friend who’s a Democratic insider once told me that the Democrats should control every part of the government except the House. I’m beginning to understand what my friend meant.
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