Murtha Threatening Members over Pork, Pelosi Defending Behavior

John Campbell
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Posted: May 22, 2007 9:51 AM

A few days ago, I wrote a blog post revealing that Rep. John Murtha (D-PA) slipped a secret earmark into a bill to authorize funds for our intelligence operations. It directs $23 million toward a drug center in his district despite conclusions from the House Government Reform Committee that it is both wasteful and unnecessary.

Because of this, Rep. Mike Rogers (R-MI) tried to have the earmark removed from the bill. Shortly thereafter Murtha angrily approached him on the floor. Rogers provided the following description of what happened next:

Murtha, who has enormous power over defense projects as Chairman of the Defense Subcommittee on Appropriations, came to me on the House floor and said: “You don’t have any earmarks in the appropriations bills now or forever.”

I replied to him that threatening retribution is not the way we do business in Congress.

To which he replied: “That’s the way I do it.”

No Member of Congress should ever be threatened because of his or her efforts to crack down on wasteful spending and protect the interests of taxpayers.

This is exactly why Americans are disgusted with the United States Congress and it’s out of control spending.

Mr. Murtha’s threat violated more than the House rules – it violated the public’s trust.

As lawmakers, we must have an obligation to shine a spotlight on earmarks and eliminate wasteful spending, as Mr. Murtha’s pet project surely is.

As a former FBI agent who pursued cases of organized crime and public corruption, it is disappointing to see such behavior in the People’s House.

This pork-barrel project takes precious intelligence resources from spies on the ground catching terrorists and sends it to bureaucrats in Johnstown, Pennsylvania. You might think Speaker Pelosi would step in and hold Murtha accountable for this egregious pork project or at the very least reprimand him for his threatening behavior. Nope. To the contrary, she is defending him for his “bipartisanship” and calling this entire discussion “unjustified.”

I guess she really didn’t mean it when she said last November that she wanted to make "this the most honest, ethical, and open Congress in history.”