It’s good to know that Rep. Murtha has worked so hard to protect the public interest. Reports the Washington Post:
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.
Once she learned from the investigators that Monongahela’s police department was getting money outside of normal channels, City Clerk Carole Foglia was disturbed.
“I wasn’t happy with the situation at all,” Foglia said. “I didn’t want to be involved in anything that was done improperly, because that’s not the way I work in my office. And this was improper. No question about it.”
The tale of how a defense company ended up getting paid hundreds of thousands of dollars to distribute federal police grants is a chapter in a larger story of Mountaintop Technologies, its far-flung operations and its dependence on Murtha. The Johnstown firm has received at least $36 million in the past eight years in earmarks and military contracts, without competition and with the backing of Murtha, the powerful chairman of the House Appropriations defense subcommittee. It also hired the lobbying firm where Murtha’s brother worked.
Just a little coincidence, that last bit. It’s good that the Democrats have inaugurated a new era of political reform and responsibility.
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