As featured on p. 218 of "Bloggers on the Bus," under the name "a MyDD blogger."

Thursday, May 28, 2009

PA-12: More Primaries In The Keystone State

Speaking of Pennsylvania primary options, Democrat Ryan Bucchianeri will challenge Jack Murtha in PA-12. I have family in Murtha's district who love him, but frankly, he has become more of a liability at this point. His leadership against the Iraq War in 2005 was great, but he can't advocate publicly anymore now that he's embroiled in all kinds of public corruption scandals. CREW details these at a new site about Murtha.

Rep. John P. Murtha (D-PA) is an 18th-term member of Congress, representing Pennsylvania’s 12th congressional district. Rep. Murtha chairs the Defense Appropriations Subcommittee of the House Appropriations Committee. Rep. Murtha’s ethics violations stem from abuse of his position on the subcommittee to benefit the lobbying firm of a former long-term staffer and from threatening to block earmarks of other members for political purposes. Rep. Murtha was included as a member to watch in CREW’s 2006 and 2007 reports on congressional corruption.

Paul Magliocchetti worked with Rep. Murtha as a senior staffer on the Appropriations Committee Subcommittee on Defense for 10 years. After leaving the committee, Mr. Magliocchetti founded the PMA Group, which has become one of the most prominent Washington, D.C. defense lobbying firms. Since the second quarter of 2007 campaign cycle, the PMA Group and ten of the firm’s clients ranked in the top 20 contributors to Rep. Murtha, having made campaign contributions totaling $190,880. In the 2006, 2004 and 2002 cycles, PMA and its clients have given $274,649, $236,799, $279,074 in contributions respectively. In turn, many of PMA’s clients have benefitted significantly from Rep. Murtha’s earmarks. In the Fiscal Year 2008 Defense Appropriations bill, Rep. Murtha helped steer at least $100.5 million to PMA clients–up from $95.1 million in the 2006 Defense Appropriations bill.

This has just snowballed in recent years, to the point where it's impossible for anyone, Republican or Democratic, to ignore. Bucchianeri, a graduate of the Naval Academy and the Kennedy School of Government (and a poor field-goal kicker), has an interesting set of experiences and a mainstream Democratic agenda. I want to know more, obviously, but I feel that Murtha has become very tarnished in recent years. I'm all for primaries to help keep politicians honest.

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