Friday, August 10, 2007

John Murtha's legacy of corruption

Over at Economics and Liberty, Larry Eubanks posts on the latest in earmark corruption.

Here's my "favorite" bit:

What is a voter to think when 326 members of Congress vote to spend $1 million on something they don't know exists?

Larry's talking about John Murtha's (D-PA) "Center for Instrumented Critical Infrastructure" in Johnstown, Pennsylvania.

James Chang at the aptly named Through the Magnifying Glass has already investigated what this Center is supposed to be. It's a part of Concurrent Technologies (CTC), a firm based in Johnstown that seems to survive entirely on government handouts. Chang writes:

It would seem that back in 1988, Murtha asked the University of Pittsburgh to form a non-profit entity that would focus on excellence in metalworking. This entity would receive funding from the Navy. Over the years, this non-profit became CTC. It would seem that this "corporation" is totally funded by earmarks.
Furthermore, according to Chang, the president of CTC is part of an outfit called the PMA Group, one of Murtha's biggest contributors.

I really hate politicians...

Since Chang's investigated where Murtha's earmark is going to go, if it is going to go anywhere at all, I thought I'd look into Johnstown a little more. A bit of digging on CAGW's Pig Book revealed that Murtha has been sending money to Johnstown and the surrounding area in Cambria county for years. Here's a sampling:
  • FY 2001. $1,000,000 for a parking garage.
  • FY 2001. $400,000 for pedestrian and streetscape improvements.
  • FY 2002. $200,000 for a neighborhood recreation project.
  • FY 2003. $900,000 to continue building a recreation facility.
  • FY 2004. $450,000 for a a war memorial and conference center.
  • FY 2004. $150,000 for renovations of Point stadium.
  • FY 2005. $388,000 for improvements to Johnstown's "technology complex."
  • FY 2006. $400,000 for improvements to its convention center.

Whew, disgusted yet? Remember, no one is saying that these projects are unworthy of funding, but why must they use federal funds? Why should taxpayers in California, Arizona, North Dakota, Washington State, etc. pay for the construction of facilities they will almost certainly never get a chance to use?

Also remember that Murtha never had to justify these earmarks to the rest of us. We'd all like to think Johnstown really needed a war memorial and conference center -- but did it, really? When taxpayers in other states are picking up most of the tab, it's much easier to say "Yes, of course!"

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