Thursday, August 21, 2014
Inquirer Daily News

'If I'm corrupt it's because I take care of my district': PA rep

As Obama bans staff from talking to lobbyists, U.S. Rep. John Murtha, D-Pa., remains one of the most ardent and unrepentant defenders of the DC lobby-and-earmark system: report

'If I'm corrupt it's because I take care of my district': PA rep

President Obama is giving the permanent Washington business class fits by banning staffers from discussing stimulus projects with registered lobbyists. Read more in the PhillyDeals print column in last Sunday's Inquirer here. NEW: DC lobbyists and their friends at the ACLU tell Obama to cancel his anti-lobbyist policy here.

Meanwhile, Dennis Roddy of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette writes that, despite federal probes, U.S. Rep. John Murtha, D-Pa., remains one of the most ardent and unrepentant defenders of the DC lobby system. "If I'm corrupt it's because I take care of my district," based in the ex-steel center of Johnstown, Pa., Murtha told the Post-Gazette. And: "I have no idea why they're going after these lobbyists..." Story here. Excerpts:

"In a development called the John P. Murtha Technology Center, just a stone's throw from the John P. Murtha Airport, a group of locals set up Concurrent Technologies Corp., a nonprofit research and technology combine that found its footing with Murtha-directed earmarks…. A few miles (away) sits Kuchera Industries, another garage startup that… found itself flush with defense contracts under Mr. Murtha's tutelage. Multinational firms, from Lockheed Martin and Northrop Grumman to DRS Technologies and the Norwegian firm Kongsberg Gruppen, have set up outposts here, capturing defense contracts and partnering with local companies such as CTC and JWF."

Clouds approaching: “Federal agents have subpoenaed records from a CTC subsidiary. In January, they raided Kuchera and carted away boxes of records. In suburban Washington, agents swarmed the offices of PMA Group, an influential lobbying group founded by Paul Magliocchetti, a former Appropriations defense staff member. Mr. Magliocchetti's firm lobbied for a number of companies that benefited from Mr. Murtha's earmarks, including CTC…

Locals defend him: "’Should we be at fault because we have an effective congressman? I say not,’ said Mark Pasquerilla, a conservative Republican and ardent Murtha ally… Mr. Pasquerilla, whose father built Crown American Corp., one of the nation's largest builders of shopping malls [now part of Ronald Rubin’s Philadelphia-based Pennsylvania Real Estate Investment Trust], also serves on the board of CTC, a past beneficiary of Murtha earmarks."
About this blog

PhillyDeals posts raw drafts and updates of Joseph N. DiStefano's columns and stories about Philly-area finance, investment, commercial real estate, tech, hiring and public spending, which he's been writing since 1989, mostly for the Philadelphia Inquirer.

DiStefano studied economics, history and a little engineering at Penn, taught writing at St. Joe's, and has written the book Comcasted, more than a thousand columns, and thousands of articles, and raised six children with his wife, who is a saint.

Reach Joseph N. at JoeD@phillynews.com or 215 854 5194.

Joseph N. DiStefano