Roll Call: DOJ Says Murtha Earmark Money Was Illicitly Distributed

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Posted: Jul 09, 2009 5:12 PM
Paul Singer from Roll Call reports:

A contracting firm that had hired the brother of Rep. John Murtha (D-Pa.) as its lobbyist took the proceeds from a Murtha-provided, $8.2 million Air Force earmark and distributed hundreds of thousands of dollars to other companies represented by the Congressman’s brother for items that were not part of the project, the Justice Department charged Thursday.

The charges make no indication that the Congressman had any involvement or knowledge of the transactions.

Roll Call reported in June that Murtha used a 2005 tsunami relief bill to take away $8.2 million of government funding from a company called AEPTEC Microsystems that had severed ties with his brother’s lobbying firm and moved that money to Coherent Systems International, which had hired his brother’s firm. The lobbying firm, Rockville, Md.-based KSA Consulting, had hired Kit Murtha and Carmen Scialabba, a former Appropriations Committee staffer for Congressman.

Charging documents filed Thursday by the Justice Department in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Florida allege that Richard Ianieri, CEO of Coherent, paid a total of $1.8 million to other firms for items that were not part of the “Ground Mobile Gateway” project that Murtha’s earmark had funded. Ianieri is charged with one count of presenting false purchase orders to the government.

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