A junior staff member (since fired) working from home placed a secret House of Representatives Ethics report on a publicly accessible internet site, and someone then shared the document with the Washington Post.
Since the great bulk of the scandalous information involved democrats, the Post was understandably appalled, and was certainly not going to be found commending the leaker, but, alas! the story was now out there, and the Post was obliged to report it.
The leaked document was a 22-page “Committee on Standards Weekly Summary Report” which contained short summaries of ethics panel investigations of the conduct of 19 congressmen and a number of staff members. It also mentioned 14 congressmen whose conduct was under review by the new Office of Congressional Ethics, a quasi-independent body empowered to initiate investigations and make recommendations to the ethics committee. The conduct of some members of congress was “under review” by both ethics bodies.
12 of 19 names were graciously released by the Post, including those of Charles Rangel (D – 15 NY), Maxine Waters (D – 35 CA), Jane Harman (D – 36 CA), Laura Richardson (D – 37 CA), John Murtha (D – 12 PA), Peter Visclosky (D- 1 IN), James Moran (D- 8 VA), Norm Dicks (D – 6 WA), Marcy Kaptur (D – 9 OH), Devin Nunes (R – 21 CA), C.W. Bill Young (R – 10 FL), and Todd Tiahrt (R – 4 KS). Rep. Sam Graves (R – 6 MO) was apparently exonerated, while the ethics committee suspended its investigation of Alan B. Mollohan (D – 1 WV) at the request of the Justice Department which is conducting its own investigation of the Congressman.
Statement by Chairman & Ranking Minority Member of the Committee on Standards of Official Conduct – pdf
CQ Politics reports the latest lobbying scandal, centered on the infamous John Murtha, but featuring the kind of bipartsanship otherwise missing from the current Congress.
More than 100 House members (42 Republicans and 62 Democrats – JDZ) secured earmarks in a major spending bill for clients of a single lobbying firm — The PMA Group — known for its close ties to John P. Murtha, the congressman in charge of Pentagon appropriations.
“It shows you how good they were,” said Keith Ashdown, chief investigator at the watchdog group Taxpayers for Common Sense. “The sheer coordination of that would take an army to finish.”
PMA’s offices have been raided, and the firm closed its political action committee last week amid reports that the FBI is investigating possibly illegal campaign contributions to Murtha and other lawmakers. ...
In the spending bill managed by Murtha, the fiscal 2008 Defense appropriation, 104 House members got earmarks for projects sought by PMA clients, according to Congressional Quarterly’s analysis of a database constructed by Ashdown’s group.
Those House members, plus a handful of senators, combined to route nearly $300 million in public money to clients of PMA through that one law (PL 110-116). ...
PMA’s founder, Paul Magliocchetti, is a former House Appropriations Committee aide who has a long-running relationship with Murtha, D-Pa., the chairman of the Defense Appropriations Subcommittee.
Murtha, who used to boast that his middle initial stands for “power,” carved out $38.1 million for PMA clients in the fiscal 2008 defense spending law, according to Taxpayers for Common Sense.
Indiana Rep. Peter J. Visclosky , who serves on Murtha’s subcommittee and additionally is chairman of the subcommittee that allocates money for the Pentagon’s nuclear programs, earmarked $23.8 million for PMA clients in the fiscal 2008 defense spending bill.
His former chief of staff, Richard Kaelin, lobbies for PMA, as does Melissa Koloszar, a former top aide to defense appropriator James P. Moran , D-Va.
Moran sponsored $10.8 million for PMA clients, and Rep. Norm Dicks , D-Wash., another member of the subcommittee, sponsored $12.1 million. ...
Of the 104 lawmakers who lent their names to earmark requests for PMA clients in the fiscal 2008 Pentagon spending law, 91 have, since 2001, received campaign money linked to PMA, either from its political action committee or its employees.
As chairman of the House panel that oversees military spending, (John) Murtha plans to advance legislation next month attaching strings to the additional war funds Bush requested on Feb. 5.
Murtha plans to stop the Iraq War by placing four conditions on combat funds through Sept. 30, the end of the fiscal year. The Pentagon would have to certify that troops being sent to Iraq are “fully combat ready” with training and equipment, troops must have at least one year at home between combat deployments, combat deployments cannot be longer than a year, and extending tours of duty would be prohibited…
It’s not that the Democrats think we’re losing or that the war is unwinnable. They simply don’t want to win it. As House Minority Leader John Boehner said of Murtha’s proposals: “While American troops are fighting radical Islamic terrorists thousands of miles away, it is unthinkable that the United States Congress would move to discredit their mission, cut off their reinforcements and deny them the resources they need to succeed and return home safely.”..
Neville Chamberlain’s naivete may have helped bring on World War II, but at least he supported his country when war began. Norway’s Vidkun Quisling and France’s Vichy government under Marshal Petain may have collaborated with the Nazi enemy, but after their countries’ defeats, not before.
We’d have to go back to Benedict Arnold to find Americans as eager as Murtha & Co. to see an American defeat on the battlefield.
But Robert Farley argues that these kinds of accusations have serious implications.
IBD seems to be claiming that the vast bulk of the Democratic Party (and no small part of the Republican) are the equivalent of the most notable traitor in American history, a man who undoubtedly would have been hanged or shot if he had been caught. The editorial has been linked to approvingly by Captain’s Quarters, Powerline (sic), Instapundit, and the Gateway Pundit. Reynolds further notes:
To some people, Vietnam wasn’t a defeat, but a victory. To them, the right side won. And lost. Naturally, they’re happy to repeat the experience.
Undoubtedly, the Perfesser and his ilk will claim that they aren’t actually calling for treason trials and executions of members of the Democratic Party. But why not? If Democrats really are the equivalent of Benedict Arnold, and if opposition to the war and the Surge is traitorous, then why shouldn’t we be tried and executed, or at least imprisoned? The rhetoric leads only one place. Either Glenn Reynolds believes that Democrats are traitors, or he doesn’t. If he doesn’t, he should tell us why, and should explain why he so often suggests that Democrats have committed treasonable offenses. If he does believe that Democrats are traitors, then he ought to step up and start calling for arrests. Treason is a capital offense; there’s not really a middle ground. We’re guilty, or we’re not.
Sadly, but perhaps fortunately, Reynolds et al are too gutless to pursue the logical consequence of their accusation. So far, anyway..
The problem is that the current administration has tried to make war while neglecting this particular line of logic. America’s Vietnam experience demonstrated the capacity of the radical peace movement to use its relations with the academic clerisy and the media to turn treason and defeatism into a de rigeur fashion statement of membership in the American elite.
During WWI and WII, the wars which America won during the last century, preaching defeatism and rendering aid and comfort to the enemy were simply not tolerated.
The US Government has the obligation to the members of its armed forces whom it sends into harm’s way to prevent their service and sacrifices being made futile by the domestic demoralization of the American public by a defeatist minority of radical leftists and pacifists.
Too cowardly to take an open stand insisting upon American defeat and withdrawal, which might have political consequences, the democrat leadership in the House of Representatives has devised a strategy in which John Murtha, now Chairman of the Defense Appropriations Committee, will bring to bear the same low cunning which served him so well during theAbscam investigation, when he declined to accept a bribe (while being taped) “at this point.”
At this point, Murtha will not try to defund the US military effort in Iraq, he will simply attach a variety of restrictions on spending and troop deployments, threatening Republicans with a complete cutoff of funds if they try to oppose such restrictions.
new restrictions on how the president can deploy combat forces from the United States to Iraq, allow combat veterans to have at least one year stateside before returning to the frontlines and prevent the Pentagon from keeping soldiers and Marines already in Iraq in uniform after their enlistments expire.
“This vote will limit the options of the president and should stop the surge,” Murtha predicted of next month’s floor fight over the wartime supplemental appropriation. “We’re trying to force redeployment [of troops outside Iraq], not by taking money away but by redirecting it.”
Murtha is not pushing a total cutoff of funds for the war in Iraq…
The strategy being employed by Murtha and other House Democratic leaders would force Bush and Republican congressional leaders to accept the new troop restrictions, or face the possibility the supplemental spending bill would falter, thus cutting off all funding for the war.
Democrats are betting that Bush and the Republicans won’t take that risk and will go along with the Democratic proposals. And Republican leaders are not taking Murtha’s threats lightly.
A significant factor in the democrats’ capture of control of Congress was the public’s perception of a Republican “culture of corruption.” Voters forgot all about the pre-1994 democrat Congressional culture of corruption. That was a real culture of corruption featuring the resignation of Speaker of the House Jim Wright and House Majority Whip Tony Coelho.
But Nancy Pelosi is already providing a quick refresher course. John Murtha proved very useful to the democrat left as front man in legitimizing opposition to war. A decorated Marine veteran denouncing the war came in handy by providing crucial patriotic cover for radical leftist war opponents. Nancy Pelosi was born the daughter of a democrat big city machine boss, and she knows the importance of paying off for favors, so she is supporting John Murtha for Majority Leader.
What kind of congressman is John Murtha really? Well, he’s a very slippery one, who narrowly escaped getting nailed by the 1980 FBI Abscam Investigation. Watch the videos, and make up your own mind about Murtha.
Published in the Philadelhia Daily News, from John A. Lucas, a lawyer in Knoxville, Tenn., who is a West Point graduate and was an infantry platoon leader in Vietnam, where he earned four Bronze Stars.
————————————————————Hat tip to Brylun at YARGB.