Murtha has nothing to say ... really
U.S. Rep. Jack Murtha isn't a man who is known for keeping his opinions to himself, whether it's speaking out on the Haditha killings or describing his congressional district as a racist, redneck area. But he got very, very quiet on Friday, and it wasn't because he was hunting wabbits. Reporters tried to ask him questions about Kuchera Defense Systems Inc. of nearby Windber, which has been banned from doing business with the Navy, based on fraud allegations and claims of ethics violations. Why would Murtha be questioned about Kuchera? Maybe because the company has given $60,000 to the Johnstown lawmaker and his political action committee over the past seven years. Or maybe because, in the last two years alone, Murtha has "earmarked" $14.7 million in military contracts for the company. But Murtha wasn't interested in talking about his buddies. Said the lawmaker, "What's that got to do with me? What do you think, I'm supposed to oversee these companies? That's not my job. That's the Defense Department's job." He really and truly said, "What's that got to do with me?" He doesn't sound defensive at all, does he? And this isn't the only company with ties to Murtha that has been raided by the feds of late. A D.C.-area lobbying firm known as PMA also is the target of an investigation. In just the past two years, that company has received $78 million through Murtha's earmarks. Murtha was questioned Friday at a Johnstown event known as the "Showcase for Commerce." It's a trade show for defense contractors and is paid for by seven of the world's largest defense contractors, companies that have been very generous in tossing money into Murtha's campaign coffers over the years. Nobody is saying that Murtha did anything illegal, but it's been my experience, in general, that people who have nothing to hide don't get defensive and refuse to answer questions. Couldn't he have replied, "I'm aware of the investigation, and if the company is found to have committed misdeeds, it should be punished."? He could've. But these are his pals we're talking about. We pay Murtha's salary and foot the bill for his pension and health insurance. And we're all paying for these earmarked multimillion-dollar contracts that may or may not be dirty. We deserve to have these questions answered by OUR representative.