ABSCAM ABSCAM ABSCAM
Do they know something that might come out soon, or do they suspect the Republicans are going to wait until he's voted into Majority Leader position to reveal it?
Or, could Soros want someone else in that job?
Is there a good article on the ABSCAM scandal that I can send to a lib neighbor?
Rep. Murtha and his staff declined to answer questions for this report. In public statements, the congressman has said money he inserted into the defense bill has helped make his district a center for national defense programs and has benefited the local economy.
Murtha is the latest lawmaker to face questions about lobbying activities by family members. Political leaders from both parties have drawn criticism over similar ties to special interest groups.
The appropriations to KSA clients were made through a series of itemized awards attached to the massive Pentagon budget bill. The awards are called "earmarks" and must be sponsored by at least one member of Congress.
Requests for defense earmarks from House Democrats are sent to Rep. Murtha's subcommittee staff, which vets the submissions and decides which ones should be included in the final defense budget.
The congressman's powerful role as the ranking minority member on the subcommittee makes him a natural target of lobbying efforts by defense contractors. Most of KSA's approximately two dozen clients are small- and medium-sized defense firms, records show.
Earmarks in appropriation bills routinely list only an amount of money awarded and a description of the project to be funded -- without disclosing the name of the recipient firm.
Ken Stalder, a former Lockheed Martin executive and KSA's founder, chief executive and lead lobbyist, downplayed Kit Murtha's role at the firm. He said Murtha focused on lobbying at the state level in Pennsylvania, and although he had occasionally visited Senate offices in Washington "to give informational briefings," Kit Murtha had never lobbied his brother or any other House members.
Most of KSA's defense contractor clients hired the firm in hopes of securing funding from Rep. Murtha's subcommittee, according to lobbying records and interviews. And most retained the firm after Kit Murtha became a senior partner in 2002.
Kit Murtha said he saw the congressman infrequently but acknowledged that his brother knew he worked for KSA.
Between 1989 and 2004, defense companies donated $1.5 million to Murtha's political campaigns, according to a study by the Center for Responsive Politics.
Kit Murtha's first KSA client was AEPTEC Microsystems Inc., a wireless networking company based in Maryland. It was seeking a grant from the state of Pennsylvania to fund construction of a new business complex in Rep. Murtha's district.
The lobbyist's client also was a supporter of the lobbyist's brother. Executives of the firm or its parent company donated more than $12,000 to Rep. Murtha's 2002 reelection campaign, records show.
Kit Murtha successfully lobbied the state for a $1.5-million grant to build the complex, according to his biography on the KSA website.
Rep. Murtha took credit for "introducing AEPTEC to the opportunities" in Pennsylvania, according to a news release issued by his office in April 2004. Several of the congressman's staffers attended groundbreaking ceremonies for construction of the business complex and Murtha, in the news release, called AEPTEC "a great example of the way we're reinventing the region's economy."
In June, two months after the groundbreaking, Rep. Murtha's subcommittee approved the $4.2-million appropriation for an AEPTEC wireless network that supported the Aegis cruiser program.
Stalder said he lobbied Rep. Murtha's office on behalf of AEPTEC.
The company, with sales last year of $22.1 million, paid KSA $20,000 during the first half of 2004 to lobby for the appropriation.
Other KSA clients that also gained earmark awards in the 2005 defense bill included:
* Gensym Corp., based in Massachusetts, received $1.7 million for a battlefield planning tool. Stalder said he lobbied Murtha's office on behalf of the firm. Its 2004 sales were $17.6 million.
* Applied Technology, based in Johnstown and with 2004 sales of $110,000, is a subcontractor on Gensym's battlefield planning tool contract and will receive a share of funding from the company's $1.7-million award, Stalder said. He said he did not know how much money the firm would receive. Stalder said he lobbied Murtha's office on the company's behalf.
* Applied Ordnance Technology Inc., a firm based in Maryland with 2004 sales of $13.4 million, received $3.4 million for the Advanced XLR medium caliber gun demonstrator. KSA, which lobbied Murtha's office for the appropriation, received $20,000 from the company during the first half of 2004.
* ChemImage Corp. of Pittsburgh, with 2004 sales of $4.7 million, landed an appropriation of $3.5 million for "chemical imaging for food and water safety." ChemImage paid KSA $20,000 through the first half of 2004. Stalder said he did not lobby Murtha's office on the request.
* Mountaintop Technologies Inc., based in Johnstown, received $1 million for an aviation ground navigation system. Stalder said KSA advised Mountaintop on developing a legislative strategy for lobbying but did not seek the earmark funds. Lobbying disclosure records show Mountaintop retained a second lobbying firm to press for the appropriation.