Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Will the House reprimand Jack Murtha?

Check out this YouTube post by the National Republican Congressional Committee:

And then ask yourself:

Will Speaker Nancy Pelosi and House Democrats live up to their campaign promises to "drain the swamp" and make this "the most honest, ethical, and open Congress in history?"

We'll find out later today, when the House takes up a resolution reprimanding U.S. Rep. Jack Murtha for threatening to kill any defense appropriations earmarked by U.S. Rep. Mike Rogers "now and forever" -– a clear violation of Clause 16 of House Rule XXIII, which reads

"A Member … may not condition the inclusion of language to provide funding for a congressional earmark … on any vote cast by another Member."

Mr. Murtha's threat, says Mr. Rogers, was the direct result of Mr. Rogers' attempt last week to strike a $23 million earmark in the Intelligence Authorization bill for the National Drug Intelligence Center, one of Mr. Murtha's favored pork projects. Conveniently located in Johnstown, Pennsylvania -– the largest city in Mr. Murtha's district -– the NDIC employs 400 of his constituents, and has sucked some $400 million out of the federal trough since its creation 14 years ago.

Why was Mr. Rogers trying to strike the funding for the NDIC?

Because, in the words of a report released last year by the House Government Reform and Oversight Committee, the NDIC's budget is "an expensive and duplicative use of scarce federal drug enforcement resources," and the NDIC itself "was never able to fulfill its original mission of centralizing and coordinating drug intelligence, given its remote location and the unwillingness of the other Federal agencies to contribute significant information."

It turns out, you see, that the Drug Enforcement Agency has another drug intelligence center, located in El Paso, Texas –- somewhat closer to the nexus of illegal narcotics trafficking than Johnstown, Pennsylvania.

… All of which led the Bush Administration this year to include in its 2008 budget proposal no funds for continued operations at the NDIC, but instead $16 million to shut it down …

Which is what set Mr. Murtha a-scramble.

But it seems that Mr. Murtha's threat against Mr. Rogers -– which, interestingly, has not been denied by Mr. Murtha -– isn't the only violation of House Rules in this episode.

According to a report in this morning's The Hill, Mr. Murtha's earmark request to restore funding for the NDIC was submitted five weeks after the deadline, and was not communicated to the Ranking Member of the House Intelligence Committee, U.S. Rep. Peter Hoekstra -– which failure is itself a violation of the Rules of the House.

So the choice before House Democrats is clear: they can live up to their promises to reform the Congress, or they can continue to back the ethically-challenged Mr. Murtha one more time.

As to the outcome of today's vote … your guess is as good as ours.

Thursday, May 03, 2007

Defense official contradicts Murtha

Jack's back.

And he's up to his old tricks.

Jack Murtha – whose reputation for stretching the truth and making wildly exaggerated claims is legendary – has just put his foot in his mouth.


Two days ago, Murtha told the press that General David Petraeus, the commander of Multi-National Forces-Iraq, had not met with Members of Congress during his recent visit to Washington.

On Tuesday, appearing on his favorite cable news talk show, MSNBC's "Hardball with Chris Matthews," Murtha said of General Petraeus's recent visit, "They bring Petraeus back – purely political move. Petraeus comes back here. He doesn't talk to any of us. He only talks to the news media and so forth trying to sell this program."

But that's not true.

Not only did General Petraeus meet and conduct two briefings for Members of Congress, he briefed Jack Murtha PERSONALLY.

And the two briefings he conducted for Members of the House and Senate were two of the most widely attended operations intelligence briefings in recent memory – with 250 Representatives and 86 Senators in attendance.

Read the full story for yourself.

When, oh when, is Jack Murtha going to tell the truth?