Feds raid Murtha pork machine

posted at 9:37 am on February 10, 2009 by Ed Morrissey

John Murtha has good reason to sweat these days.  Not since Abscam have federal investigators closed in on his exercise of power through the use of pork.  Feds raided the lobbying firm that Murtha uses to wield that power and signaled clearly their targeting of the King of Pork:

The FBI raided the offices of a defense lobbying firm with close ties to Democratic Rep. John Murtha (Penn.), sources tell ABC News.

The FBI searched the Virginia headquarters of the PMA Group in November, according to the sources, who spoke on the condition of anonymity. PMA was founded by former Murtha aide Paul Magliochetti and specializes in winning earmarked taxpayer funds for its clients. …

PMA is the second company with close ties to Murtha to be raided by federal agents recently. In January, agents from the FBI, the IRS and the Defense Criminal Investigative Service searched the office of Kuchera Industries and Kuchera Defense Systems, as well as the homes of the firms’ founders. The companies reportedly have received over $100 million in earmarks, thanks to Murtha’s efforts.

The New York Times notes that PMA’s main calling card is its ties to Murtha, but Hot Air readers already knew that.  Two weeks ago, I wrote about how PMA helped engineer Murtha’s rescue from William Russell’s bid to unseat him in the last election.  Thanks to Murtha’s big mouth, PMA had to work overtime to get Murtha re-elected by the constituents he called “racists” and “rednecks”.  Why was PMA so interested in the Murtha rescue?

In 2007, PMA got 17 earmarks for $65 million to its clients.  In 2008, when pork austerity became a bigger issue, Murtha still got $28 million in nine earmarks for PMA clients.  Four of those 2008 clients got $18 million of that money, and they ponied up $30,000 to Murtha in the final days of his last election (Argon ST, MTS Technologies Inc., DRS Technologies Inc. and Advanced Acoustic Concepts).

According to the two reports, the federal raid took place in November, immediately after the election.  Even more interestingly, Kuchera didn’t work through PMA to get its earmarks from Murtha, suggesting a wider look at the last election and Murtha’s surprising rescue.  The feds have found something of interest, and they appear to be circling Murtha and identifying his lines of communication.

Stay tuned.  Russell might be needed for a special election in the future.


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