While Murtha's Hailed, CNSNews.com Suggests He Might Have Been Jailed

While the liberal media laud John Murtha so vigorously that their hearts almost glow out of their chests like E.T., some reporters have looked back to the larger career of John Murtha. At CNSNews.com (the online news outfit of the MRC), reporters Randy Hall and Marc Morano are relaying new information about Murtha's role in the FBI's Abscam sting -- the big scandal that forgetful reporters now say was the last big congressional scandal before Jack Abramoff's plea bargains.

Members of the press have given extensive and glowing coverage to Rep. John Murtha's criticism of the war in Iraq, but have overlooked a number of other controversies the Pennsylvania Democrat has experienced over the past 25 years. This includes his reported role as an un-indicted co-conspirator in the Abscam bribery scandal of the late 1970s and early 1980s.

Murtha has denied any wrongdoing, but Cybercast News Service has learned that one of Murtha's former allies, a Democratic congressman who served on the House Ethics Committee in 1981 and says he lobbied colleagues not to censure Murtha, now believes Murtha lied to him about his role in Abscam.

Since Murtha's Nov. 17, 2005, call for an immediate withdrawal of U.S. troops from Iraq, one CNN anchor has called him "one of the most highly respected members of Congress," the Associated Press has referred to Murtha as "one of Congress' most hawkish Democrats," and ABC News has noted that he is "a decorated marine who served in Vietnam."

But a search of the Nexis online database by Cybercast News Service found only three newspaper articles over the past two months connecting Murtha with the FBI's Abscam (short for "Arab scam") sting operation that led to the arrest of several congressmen for accepting bribes.

According to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, "Murtha was one of eight members of Congress lured to a Washington, D.C., townhouse by a team of FBI agents posing as representatives of a fictitious Arab sheik. They handed out briefcases filled with $50,000 in return for helping the sheik gain residency in the United States."

Noting that Murtha "is not squeaky clean," the Brattleboro, Vt., Reformer reported that the congressman "did not take the cash" offered by the agents. Instead, "he asked the fake sheik to consider investing some money in his struggling home town, Johnstown."

The Washington Post referred to the incident as "an ethical scrape" in which Murtha was "named as an unindicted co-conspirator and testified against two House colleagues."

Hall and Morano talk to former Rep. Don Bailey (D-Pa.) about the case, who supported Murtha at the time, only to be defeated by him later.

Tim Graham
Tim Graham
Tim Graham is Executive Editor of NewsBusters and is the Media Research Center’s Director of Media Analysis