The Washington Post ran a story yesterday headlined “Justice Dept. Investigates Pa. Contractor Tied to Murtha,” but it’s really reaching the point where finding a contractor tied to Murtha who isn’t under investigation would be real news.
In tiny, cash-strapped Monongahela, Pa., the city clerk was stunned when federal investigators arrived this fall with a subpoena seeking information on a crime-fighting grant she’d never heard of. She takes pride in tracking every dollar in the municipal budget.
The $15,000 federal grant was to buy police radios and other equipment to protect the city’s 4,700 residents, but it had traveled an unusual route, never crossing the clerk’s desk.
Over the past five years, a local defense contractor with close ties to Rep. John P. Murtha, a Democrat who has represented southwestern Pennsylvania for three decades, has selected several small police departments in the region to receive $10 million in Justice Department grants.
The company, Mountaintop Technologies, was selected by the lawmaker in a series of earmarks to hand out and monitor the grants. As it distributed the money to the departments, the firm would explain each time that it was arriving through the largess of Murtha — often just before fall elections.
Before you shake your head and say, “that devil Murtha,” note that 227 out of 256 House Democrats have voted repeatedly to block an investigation of Murtha by the House Ethics Committee. So he’s bad, but remember he’s got about 226 friends willing to help him avoid scrutiny.