Friday, August 29, 2014
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FBI file reveals Murtha's darker side

He was Pennsylvania's powerhouse of pork. U.S. Rep. John Murtha, the Democratic titan from Johnstown who represented the 12th district for four decades before his earlier death last year, was legendary for securing oodles of federal cash for his district.

FBI file reveals Murtha's darker side

He was Pennsylvania's powerhouse of pork. U.S. Rep. John Murtha, the Democratic titan from Johnstown who represented the 12th district for four decades before his death last year, was legendary for securing oodles of federal cash for his district.

Now it seems Murtha's pork may well have been more tainted than anyone knew. The D.C. -based newspaper Roll Call has a fascinating look at the revelations recently made known through Murtha's FBI file.

Turns out the agency was investigating evidence that lobbyists close to Murtha were involved in a scheme to funnel earmarks to sham companies and nonprofits to benefit the lawmaker’s friends and former staffers.

One entity at the center of the probe was a now defunct nonprofit Pennsylvania Association for Individuals with Disabilities (PAID) (sound familiar Fumo watchers?), a Murtha creation with a board stacked with lobbyists connected to him. 

Roll Call looked into the nonprofit in 2007 and found it to be moribund, despite getting earmarks totaling $650,000. The FBI, the file shows, suspected that it was a front to help support Murtha's former chief of staff.

The nonprofit closed up shop the month Murtha died.

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About this blog

Commonwealth Confidential gives you regularly updated coverage of the state legislature, the governor and the workings of the state bureaucracy. It is written by Angela Couloumbis and Amy Worden in the Inquirer's Harrisburg bureau, based right in the statehouse, and by the newspaper's far-flung campaign reporters.



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