Anyone who is a parent has probably tried to instill in their children a sense of honesty, fairness, and some amount of trust in authority. Many of our colleges try to erase those qualities. One of my daughters took a college course where the underlying message in the course was, “If your ancestors arrived in America early, they took over the country and made all the laws to benefit themselves.” I was fortunate in that the daughter involved did not buy into that message. However, sometimes things happen which cause me to worry if that is closer to the truth today than I care to admit.
Roll Call reported yesterday that according to newly released FBI documents, Representative John Murtha was involved in funneling money to sham companies and nonprofits to benefit the lawmaker’s friends and former staffers.
The article reports:
The watchdog group Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington filed a Freedom of Information Act request for Justice Department files on Murtha and other Members of Congress. Its requests have been denied for the living Members on the grounds that they have a right to privacy, CREW Executive Director Melanie Sloan said last week. Murtha’s death eliminated the privacy exemption, and the Justice Department handed over a heavily redacted bunch of files to CREW on Oct. 14.
I understand the right to privacy, but where there is criminal activity involved, shouldn’t exposure of that criminal activity trump the privacy right?
The article at Roll Call lists a number of questionable transactions that Representative Murtha was involved in. The article then concludes:
The FBI investigation also suggested that a staff member in Murtha’s office may have failed to disclose thousands of dollars in income and assets on her annual financial disclosure forms; that money from Murtha’s campaign fund may have been used to buy guns for the personal use of another Murtha staffer; that Murtha may have steered contracts and earmarks to other family members; that staff members may have violated the one-year ban on lobbying Murtha’s office after leaving his employ; and that KSA may have run a fraudulent political action committee.
There is no evidence in the released documents that the FBI pursed any of these cases.
Sloan of CREW said the FBI files prove a long-sought point: “It was as bad as we said it was. It wasn’t nothing; it wasn’t OK.”
A thorough investigation of John Murtha while he was alive could have saved taxpayers some serious money. This is the kind of spending cuts we need to begin with. It is sad that the FBI allowed these activities to continue without thoroughly investigating them, and it is a shame that John Murtha had so little respect for the office of Representative and the people he was supposed to represent that he engaged in this sort of behavior.