INVESTIGATIONS

Murtha in Funding Scandal

This doesn’t look good for Rep. John Murtha: The Washington Post is reporting that a Pennsylvania defense research center regularly consulted with two “handlers” close to the Democratic congressman as it collected almost $250 million in federal funding through him—and then channeled much of the money to companies that were among his campaign supporters. The Electro-Optics Center, created by the lawmaker a decade ago, relied on advice from a lobbyist for PMA Group—the subject of a federal investigation tied to Murtha—and a longtime Murtha friend who’s now a member of his appropriations staff. Describing Murtha’s requests for earmarks known as “plus-ups,” a former defense appropriations official told The Post: “A staffer for a congressman says, ‘I need you to accept this money for sensors, a couple million.’ If I said no, he can turn around and say I won’t support you on this other thing you really want. I could say no—then his boss calls the general to complain about me.”