House of Murtha


Yesterday, Dave Weigel pointed out that the two top dogs in the hunt for the role of House Majority Leader are the underwhelming Reps. John Murtha (Pa.) and Steny Hoyer (Md.).

Presumptive Speaker o' the House Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), who has pushed the idea that the Dem-controlled Congress would be ethically cleaner than, well, Murtha's plate at a Golden Corral buffet, has put her backing behind the Pennsylvania vet. Who unfortunately has a pretty spotty record when it comes to charges of corruption. The Wash Post reports:

Some Democratic lawmakers and watchdog groups say they are baffled that Pelosi would go out of her way to back Murtha's candidacy after pledging to make the new 110th Congress the most ethical and corruption-free in history.

Murtha, a longtime senior Democrat on the House Appropriations Committee, has battled accusations over the years that he has traded federal spending for campaign contributions, that he has abused his post as ranking party member on the Appropriations defense subcommittee, and that he has stood in the way of ethics investigations. Those charges come on top of Murtha's involvement 26 years ago in the FBI's Abscam bribery sting.

Abscam? Gee-zus, there's a trip down memory lame, what with FBI agents dressing up like Arab sheiks even less convincingly than John Saxon (born Carmine Orrico) would later do on Dynasty. The Murth was an "unindicted co-conspirator" in that laff-filled sting operation. Though as Conservative News Service points out–with nary an axe to grind, natch–that's not the only shady grove in the congressman's past.

Whole Post dispatch here. With the Dems stumbling out of the blocks (don't forget that the Jane Harman-Pelosi feud is likely promote impeached former judge Alcee Hastings to the top of House Intelligence Committee), it may well be glorious gridlock 'til '08.