Media Myth Debunked: WaPo Exposes Murtha's Democrat Culture of Corruption
For months before Election Day, Americans were brainwashed by the media concerning a Republican “culture of corruption,” and the need for the Democrats to clean it all up. Unfortunately, in the middle of this web of lies, the press chose to ignore the misdeeds of any politician with a “D” next to his or her name.
Now that the elections are over, and the press got the result they wanted, exposés about liberal politicians are suddenly acceptable again. On Christmas Day, roughly seven weeks after it helped pull off one of the largest bait and switches in campaign history, the Washington Post published corrupt revelations about one of its heroes, Rep. Jack Murtha (D-Pennsylvania).
Sadly for America, some of the content in this front-page article by Jonathan Weisman has been available for almost a year and a half. But, investigative reporting like this that might out a Democrat was specifically verboten by members of the drive-by media before November 7 (emphasis mine throughout): “For a quarter of a century, Carmen Scialabba labored for Rep. John P. Murtha (D-Pa.), helping parcel out the billions of dollars that came through the House Appropriations Committee, so when the disabled aide needed a favor, Murtha was there.”
A quarter of a century, huh? And the Post is just getting around to publishing it now? Regardless of the suspicious timing, the article continued:
In 2001, Murtha announced the creation of Scialabba's nonprofit agency for the disabled in Johnstown, Pa. The next year, with Scialabba still on his staff, Murtha secured a half-million dollars for the group, the Pennsylvania Association for Individuals With Disabilities (PAID), and put another $150,000 in the pipeline for 2003, according to appropriations committee records and former committee aides. Since then, the group has helped hundreds of disabled people find work.
But the group serves another function as well. PAID has become a gathering point for defense contractors and lobbyists with business before Murtha's defense appropriations subcommittee, and for Pennsylvania businesses and universities that have thrived on federal money obtained by Murtha.
Lobbyists and corporate officials serve as directors on the nonprofit group's board, where they help raise money and find jobs for Johnstown's disabled workers. Some of those lobbyists have served as intermediaries between the defense contractors and businessmen on the board, and Murtha and his aides.
That arrangement over the years has yielded millions of dollars in federal support for the contractors, businesses and universities, and hundreds of thousands in consulting and lobbying fees to Murtha's favored lobbying shops, according to Federal Election Commission records and lobbying disclosure forms. In turn, many of PAID's directors have kept Murtha's campaigns flush with cash.
For a little perspective, former Congressman Tom DeLay was indicted and forced out of the House for allegedly transferring $190,000 contributed to the Texas Republican Party over to the Republican National Committee. Yet, even though Murtha’s activities involved potentially billions of dollars over the years, the press were totally disinterested – until after the elections, of course. The article continued:
But to some watchdogs, including Taxpayers for Common Sense, Democracy 21 and Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, PAID looks a lot like the cozy nexus between lawmakers, lobbyists and business interests that Democrats railed against in the midterm campaigns.
Its board of directors includes Scialabba and five government contractors who have received millions of federal dollars through appropriations measures obtained by Murtha. Its advisory council includes three lobbyists from KSA Consulting, which employs Scialabba and employed Murtha's brother, Kit. Its honorary board members include still more defense contractors.
Hmmm. Murtha’s brother Kit was involved. Think that’s a new revelation? Think again, for this was reported by NewsBusters in – drum roll please – November 2005, almost twelve months before the elections:
Not the least of these articles was a front-page, 2,200 word expose in the June 13, 2005 Los Angeles Times by Ken Silverstein and Richard Simon. The headline set the tone: “Lobbyist's Brother Guided House Bill; A family member's ties to special interests raise questions in the case of Democrat John Murtha.” The crux of the article is that Murtha’s brother is a senior partner in a company called KSA Consulting. Said consulting firm received $20.8 million in defense contracts in 2004 (Times link expired):
“When Congress passed the $417-billion Pentagon spending bill last year, Rep. John P. Murtha, the top Democrat on the House defense appropriations subcommittee, boasted about the money he secured to create jobs in his Pennsylvania district.
“But the bill Murtha helped write also benefited at least 10 companies represented by a lobbying firm where his brother, Robert ‘Kit’ Murtha, is a senior partner, according to disclosure records, interviews and an analysis of the bill by The Times.
“Clients of the lobbying firm KSA Consulting -- whose top officials also include former congressional aide Carmen V. Scialabba, who worked for Rep. Murtha for 27 years -- received a total of $20.8 million from the bill.”
As such, Murtha’s corrupt activities, along with his connection to Carmen Scialabba, and someone bearing his own last name answering to the oh so cute moniker “Kit,” have been known since at least June 2005. Yet, as the media were complaining about the Republican culture of corruption, this all got conveniently buried until seven weeks after Election Day. Just imagine how some of these WaPo revelations might have impacted the results on November 7:
Murtha repeatedly intervened on behalf of PAID to help Kuchera expand.
After PAID's founding, Scialabba approached Kuchera to get involved. Kuchera jumped, not only joining the group's board but ramping up hiring of disabled workers, who now compose a third of the 200 employees in his company's defense business. The federal government picked up Kuchera's $7 million training bill. This year, Murtha earmarked $1.3 million for Kuchera's chemical and biological weapons detection research.
Kuchera employees donated more than $31,000 to Murtha in the past three election campaigns, according to federal election records. Between 1990 and 2000, contributions totaled $1,000. And congressional lobbying disclosure forms tally $140,000 in payments since 2001 from Kuchera to Ervin Technical Associates, whose chairman is former representative Joseph M. McDade (R-Pa.), a close Murtha ally.
The Kuchera experience is not unique. Ed Washington, another PAID director, hails from MTS Technologies, an Arlington defense contractor that recently secured $8.9 million in federal funds to expand its Johnstown facility. MTS's lobbyist, the PMA Group, has disclosed some $300,000 in fees from the company since 1998. And PMA has returned the favor: Since 1989, the firm's employees have given Murtha $107,500.
Daniel DeVos, an honorary PAID board member, represents Concurrent Technologies, whose employees have lavished Murtha with more than $53,000 in campaign contributions and PMA with $820,000 in fees. That may sound steep, but the rewards have been substantial: a $150 million contract to operate the Navy Metalworking Center; a $4 million contract from the Army to evaluate fuel-cell systems; and $1.7 million for a weapons of mass destruction response laboratory, among others.
Another PAID director, Jim Estep, is a central figure in an investigation of Rep. Alan B. Mollohan (D-W.Va.), a Murtha ally and fellow member of the Appropriations Committee. Estep heads the West Virginia High-Technology Consortium Foundation and the Institute for Scientific Research, two nonprofit organizations that Mollohan helped set up and has plied with federal funds.
Think this all would have been revealed before the elections if Murtha was a Republican? Of course it would. But that's not the real disgrace, for Murtha's activities have been known for years. In fact, he is considered by most ethics watchdog agencies to be one of the most corrupt politicians in Washington, D.C.
Yet, because he's a Democrat, nobody cares. That includes the broadcast networks, CNN, MSNBC, the holier-than-thou Keith Olbermann, Dan Rather, the supposed muckrakers of "60 Minutes," and all the sanctimonious members of the Netroots such as Markos Moulitsas, Arianna Huffington, Jane Hamsher, and Jerome Armstrong.
While such folk feign superiority and political morality with virtually every word they utter and/or publish, one has to wonder whether they know they are part of the very hypocrisy they regularly express such public disdain for. Or, is there something preventing them from smelling the sewage they are clearly swimming in?