March 11, 2009

POLITICO: Inside Murtha’s ‘earmark factory’:

Over the course of the past decade, Rep. John P. Murtha has earmarked millions of dollars for the Electro-Optics Center at Penn State University — money that has, in turn, gone to clients of the PMA Group, the Murtha-linked lobbying shop that was raided in November as part of a federal criminal probe.

Founded in 1999 as a joint enterprise run by Penn State and the Office of Naval Research, the EOC promotes electronic research needed for state-of-the-art military equipment.

But sources familiar with the EOC’s operations say Murtha has used the center as a “front” for PMA and other lobbyists and contractors with ties to the Pennsylvania Democrat.

Some Democratic spokespeople are saying that earmarks don’t matter because the amount of money is small compared to the total budget. If that’s true, then outright bribes wouldn’t matter, either, because there’s not all that much difference . . . .

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