Tags: murtha | florida | defense

Murtha Scandals Widen to Include Florida Project

Wednesday, 15 Jul 2009 12:06 PM

By Dan Weil

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The defense appropriations scandal surrounding Democratic Rep. John Murtha is widening.

Prosecutors are revealing more details about an $8 million Air Force project in Florida earmarked by the Pennsyvania congressman, who chairs the House Appropriations Defense subcommittee, The Washington Post reports.

The Air Force project was supposed to research new battlefield technologies, and Murtha pushed millions of taxpayer dollars into the program to hire defense contractors.

But the project collapsed when federal investigators discovered that money ended up in the hands of companies tied to Murtha. Several defense contractors were paid for work they didn’t do or wasn’t supposed to be done.

This isn’t Murtha’s first brush with scandal related to his earmarks.

Newsmax has reported several other instances. On June 3, for example, Newsmax ran a story that Murtha evidently transferred $8.2 million in a tsunami relief bill to a military equipment company that was a client of his brother's lobbying firm.

[Editor's Note: See “$8.2M John Murtha Earmark Questioned — Report” Go here now.]

And Newsmax reported June 5 that Murtha steered millions of dollars in defense work to a campaign donor, and the Pentagon went along with it, despite the fact that two convicted drug dealers had been deeply involved with the company.

[Editor's Note: See “2 Former Drug Dealers Tied to Murtha-Backed Firm” Go here now.]

As for the Florida project, the feds have left out one crucial element, The Post reports: Murtha’s brother Robert. A few of the companies involved hired his lobbying firm, KSA Consulting.

But now one of KSA’s former clients has promised to spill the beans as to what crimes he saw committed on the project. That’s Richard Ianierie, former chief executive of Coherent Systems International.

His business experienced strong growth after hiring KSA. Now he’s expected to plead guilty for taking kickbacks and producing false bills.

So far, there’s no proof that either of the Murthas knew about the companies’ misdeeds. But it sure smells funny.

Beltway heavies of all political stripes are blasting Murtha for his behavior.

He “has become the poster child for everything that is wrong with the earmarking process,” the American Issues Project writes on its web site.

“He uses his seniority and position on the Appropriations Committee to secure earmarks which he then passes on to companies he has personal relationships with.”

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