Rep. Murtha Wants $134M In Earmarks

Rep. John Murtha, D-Penn., holds up a pocket-sized copy of the U.S. Constitution, which gives Congress the power to make appropriatons. The FBI is investigating whether Murtha steered defense contracts to companies in his hometown in exchange for campaign donations. CBS

CBS News investigative producer Laura Strickler reported this story for CBSNews.com

A flurry of federal investigations and news articles about Congressman John Murtha's funding requests and campaign contributions has not stopped him from asking for $134 million in earmarks for his district this year, including $75 million for defense spending.

The Pennsylvania Democrat posted his requests on his Web site Friday morning.

In the introduction to his request, Murtha's office notes, "Every request is properly reviewed and vetted through a lengthy and thorough process."

Four of the earmark requests from Murtha's office are for current or former clients of a lobbying firm, the PMA Group, that is currently under federal investigation for connection to possible "straw" donations to Murtha and other Democratic members of the House.

PMA Group clients include: Advanced Acoustic Concepts ($5 million request), Argon ST ($8 million request), MTS Technologies, Inc. ($5 million request) and Planning Systems Inc. ($2.3 million request).

Two requests totaling $3.7 million are for Pennsylvania State University, but the Murtha's office says they are not intended for the Electro Optic Center (EOC) in Freeport, Pa. which has received millions in defense contracts and has been the subject of recent scrutiny by the FBI.

CBS News previously reported that the EOC requested $120 million in spending through Murtha's office and a source told CBS that employees were urged to donate to Murtha so the center would get favorable treatment.

While a number of entities with connections to Murtha are under federal law enforcement scrutiny, Murtha himself has not been named as the target of the investigation.
  • Laura Strickler

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