From Liz Rich:
HAVING JUST LEARNED THAT PELOSI, SUPPOSEDLY UNIONS’ FRIEND, USES NON-UNION WORKERS IN HER VINEYARD AND HER CHAIN OF RESTAURANTS AND IS GUILTY OF SERIOUS ENVIRONMENTAL LAPSES IN BUILDING HER GOLD COURSE, HER CHOICE OF MURTHA IS DISTURBING. PLEASE DON’T TELL ME WE ARE GOING FROM ONE BUNCH OF CROOKS TO ANOTHER. LIZ
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November 14, 2006, 11:27 am
Would Electing Murtha Restore
the Culture of Corruption?

The Washington Post editorial page endorses Steny Hoyer for House majority leader, the No. 2 job in the House, and suggests that electing Hoyer’s Pelosi-endorsed opponent, John Murtha of Pennsylvania, would be, er, the Murtha of all leadership mistakes (sorry, couldn’t resist):

Mr. Murtha has been a force against stronger ethics and lobbying rules. He was one of just four Democrats whose votes helped kill a strong Democratic package of lobbying reforms this spring.

As a senior member of the House Appropriations Committee, he has been an avid participant in the orgy of earmarking, including numerous projects sought by a lobbying firm that employed his brother. During the Abscam congressional bribery investigation in 1980, Mr. Murtha was videotaped discussing a bribe with an undercover FBI agent. (“You know, we do business for a while, maybe I’ll be interested, maybe I won’t, you know,” Mr. Murtha said.) He wasn’t indicted, but it’s fair to say the episode raised questions about his integrity.

David Corn, the Washington editor for The Nation, notes that Citizens for Ethics and Responsibility in Washington, a George Soros-funded group, named Murtha one of its “Five Members To Watch” in its recent list of the 20 most corrupt members of Congress. Corn writes:

By publicly endorsing Murtha – who has voted more with the Republicans than almost every other House Democrat – Pelosi has backed the fellow who has been less loyal to the party, who has engaged in liberal-baiting, and who is widely considered to be the underdog in the race. Murtha is indeed the Democrats’ leading critic of the war, and he and Pelosi, another war opponent, have found themselves in the same foxhole. (Hoyer, like Murtha, voted to give Bush the authority to attack Iraq, but he has not turned on the war and has criticized Democratic calls for withdrawal.) Perhaps Pelosi figured that with the Iraq war likely to be the major source of dispute between her and the White House (and congressional Republicans), she needed an antiwar hawk right by her side. But much of this present tussle might be more personal than policy. Pelosi and Hoyer have long been rivals; she defeated Hoyer to become the Democratic minority leader.

The New Republic’s Michael Crowley points out at The Plank that Murtha ranked No. 8 among all members of Congress in campaign contributions from lobbyists during the most recent election cycle.
Murtha also landed on TPM Muckraker’s “MuckWatch” list of its “favorite” Democrats: “Murtha’s been tagged as a shameless earmarker, spending tens of millions on projects nobody wants to benefit his friends and his district,” Justin Rood writes. “He’s already been caught on tape by the FBI explaining how he works scams, so at least if the Feds pick up his trail again, they’ll know what to look for.” (To go directly to the hourlong F.B.I. video leaked to The American Spectator, head to Google Video.)

Peace,
Liz



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