Murtha’s Earmark Machine

Democrat Congressman John Murtha is reported to have used a well known Washington defense industry lobbyist to corral over one hundred legislators in an earmarking frenzy that <a href=″>has even Washington insiders amazed. Notes CQ Politics:

“It shows you how good they were,” said Keith Ashdown, chief investigator at the watchdog group Taxpayers for Common Sense. “The sheer coordination of that would take an army to finish.”

As mentioned earlier, Murtha’s problem is that he and other Congressman took campaign contributions from phantom donors who were not registered lobbyists or otherwise not associated with the lobbying firm in a substantive way. It appears now that Murtha, who managed the 2008 defense spending bill, used the now defunct lobbying firm PMA to facilitate hundreds of campaign contributions to hundreds of members of Congress.

Those House members, plus a handful of senators, combined to route nearly $300 million in public money to clients of PMA through that one law (PL 110-116).

And when the lawmakers were in need — as they all are to finance their campaigns — PMA came through for them.

According to CQ MoneyLine, the same House members who took responsibility for PMA’s earmarks in that spending bill have, since 2001, accepted a cumulative $1,815,138 in campaign contributions from PMA’s political action committee and employees of the firm.

Such is the confluence of money and politics, where an influential Congressman like Murtha, who in 2008 faced his first real reelection challenge in years, used a very well connected lobbying firm to both hand out political favors and call in the same when needed.

This story is just starting to get traction.

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