All of this is a prelude to our saying that if the Democrats make Murtha the majority leader — and there’s a good chance they will — they will be making their first big mistake of their leadership, before it even officially starts in January.
Murtha would get our vote for the bravest House member, and we’d like to see him play a key role in resolving the endless debate on Iraq. But the position that the Pennsylvania seeks is a political post, and as a career politician, Jack Murtha has been more than just a disappointment. In fact, the body of evidence shows that he has been one of the most ethically challenged, if not outright corrupt, Democrats in Congress.
— This article from last September on TPMmuckraker chronicles how Murtha has shamelessly steered millions of dollars in defense contracting “earmarks” to companies that used lobbying firms that hired his former staffers, and one of them reportedly also employs the congressman’s own brother, Robert “Kit” Murtha. (You may recall that voters in Attytood’s home district looked unfavorably on a GOP congressman who did something quite similar, helping firms that hired his daughter to lobby.)
— Philly blogger BooMan finds Murtha’s legendary vote-trading to get defense dollars for home district and his friends to be also worrthy of reproach: “Murtha has made his career in the minority by using his powerful ranking position on the Appropriations Defense Subcommittee to trade Democratic votes to the Republicans in a game of extortion. If you are a Democrat and want to save that air force base in your district, you better find a vote to give to Murtha that he can sell to the Republicans. It’s an ugly business and Murtha does it well. It makes me sick.”
— There are even lingering questions about what Murtha was really up to when the FBI captured him on tape with two agents posing as rich Arab sheiks in the 1979-80 Abscam probe (he was not charged with wrongdoing.)
ATTYTOOD: Thanks, But No Thanks