But the reluctant Murtha wouldn't touch the $50,000. Here on secret videotape was this all-American hero, tall and dignified in a disheveled way, explaining why he wasn't quite ready to accept the cash.
"All at once," he said, "some dumb [expletive deleted] would go start talking eight years from now about this whole thing and say [expletive deleted], this happened. Then in order to get immunity so he doesn't go to jail, he starts talking and fingering people. So the [S.O.B.] falls apart." . . .
"You give us the banks where you want the money deposited," offered one of the bagmen.
"All right," agreed Murtha. "How much money we talking about?"
"Well, you tell me."
"Well, let me find out what is a reasonable figure that will get their attention," said Murtha, "because there are a couple of banks that have really done me some favors in the past, and I'd like to put some money in. . . . ["]
So much for restoring cleanliness and civility, eh, Nancy?
Abscam isn't Murtha's only ethics cloud.
Defense industry lobbyist Paul Magliocchetti, a former colleague of Murtha's who worked as a senior staffer on the Defense Appropriations Subcommittee, has reportedly funneled some $300,000 in campaign contributions to Murtha over the last three election cycles -- either through his company, PMA, or its clients. They've reaped rich rewards: In 2006 alone, PMA clients received at least 60 earmarks worth some $95 million. Murtha also aided Democrat Congressman Alan Mollohan, who remains embroiled in a federal contracting corruption probe.
In 1992, Bill Clinton pledged to run the most ethical administration in history. We know how that went. Fourteen years later, Nancy Pelosi has recycled the pledge -- and is now well on her way to recycling the same old soiled legacy.
A friendly woman-to-woman tip to Nancy Pelosi: To clean a house, you take the garbage out, not in.