Thursday, April 30, 2009

John Murtha Airport: Earmark Reform Poster Child

Photo: Rep. John Murtha

From Mother Jones:

Pennsylvania Congressman John "Jack" Murtha, a Democrat and the powerful chairman of the House appropriations committee, is a creature of the Washington culture that needs to be changed. Here's another example of why:

At the behest of Rep. John P. Murtha (D), chairman of the House defense appropriations subcommittee, the Pentagon has spent about $30 million equipping the little-used airport named for him so it can handle behemoth military aircraft and store combat equipment for rapid deployment to foreign battlefields....

Read more ....

FACT CHECK: Obama Disowns Deficit He Helped Shape

Photo from The White House

From Myway News/AP:

WASHINGTON (AP) - "That wasn't me," President Barack Obama said on his 100th day in office, disclaiming responsibility for the huge budget deficit waiting for him on Day One.

It actually was him - and the other Democrats controlling Congress the previous two years - who shaped a budget so out of balance.

And as a presidential candidate and president-elect, he backed the twilight Bush-era stimulus plan that made the deficit deeper, all before he took over and promoted spending plans that have made it much deeper still.

Read more ....

My Comment: Some decent reporting from the AP .... finally.

Elizabeth Edwards Writes About Husband's Affair In Book, 'Resilience'

Elizabeth Edwards tells all in a new book. Miller/Getty

From New York Daily News:

Campaign cad John Edwards' cheating ways made his wife, Elizabeth, sick to her stomach - literally.

After the former presidential hopeful confessed his betrayal, Elizabeth Edwards writes in her new book, "I cried and screamed, I went to the bathroom and threw up."

Elizabeth, 59, who is terminally ill with cancer, speaks in far more detail than before about her husband's infidelity in her new memoir, "Resilience," due to be published May 12 by Broadway Books. A copy was obtained by the Daily News.

Read more ....

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Republican Arlen Specter Switching Parties Today

Sen. Arlen Specter

From Human Events:

HUMAN EVENTS has learned from staff sources that Sen. Arlen Specter (R-Pa) is about to announce his switch to the Democratic Party.

Specter, a five-term Republican and ranking member on the Senate Judiciary Committee, is facing a tough primary challenge next year from former Club for Growth president Pat Toomey. He was one of the three Republicans to support President Obama’s stimulus bill, and his liberal approach to many issues -- from his devoted opposition to the Supreme Court nomination of Robert Bork to his support for illegal alien amnesty programs -- earned him a low ACU rating of 43 in 2006. This switch will give the Democrats their 60-seat filibuster-proof majority.

According to the Washington Post, Specter said today, "I have decided to run for re-election in 2010 in the Democratic primary," said Specter in a statement. "I am ready, willing and anxious to take on all comers and have my candidacy for re-election determined in a general election."

Read more ....

Update: Specter To Switch Parties -- Washington Post

My Comment: Sen. Specter knows that he is going to lose the Republican nomination to Pat Toomey. Being 20% behind in the polls was his wake-up call. Will this help him in 2010 .... we shall see.

The Media Elite's Secret Dinners

From The Washington Post:

Last Tuesday evening, Rahm Emanuel quietly slipped into an eighth-floor office at the Watergate.

As white-jacketed waiters poured red and white wine and served a three-course salmon and risotto dinner, the White House chief of staff spent two hours chatting with some of Washington's top journalists -- excusing himself to take a call from President Obama and another from Hillary Clinton.

As the journalists hurled questions and argued among themselves, Emanuel said: "This feels a lot like a Jewish family dinner."

Read more ....

Monday, April 27, 2009

It Pays To Go Green! Al Gore's Net Worth Jumps From $2 Million In 2000 To $100 Million In 2008

From Gateway Pundit:

Pro Patria discovered that while Al Gore is scaring the daylights out of young children he is making millions from his green investments.

So what has Al Gore gained from his Big Green escapades?

According to public disclosure information, Gore was worth somewhere between $1 million and $2 million in 2000. Not quite eight years later, Gore is estimated to be worth somewhere in the neighborhood of $100 million. While I ordinarily would applaud such financial gains from such a short period of time, I can’t help but to question just how it happened. When you look out at what Al Gore has done, it’s evident that he figured out on a way to capitalize on the creation of Big Green while becoming the official doomsday prophet that has helped to build Big Green into the monetary powerhouse that it has become.

Read more ....

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Watchdog Groups Want Ethics Panel Probe of PMA Ties

From Roll Call:

Democracy 21 and other good-government groups are expected to ask the House ethics committee next week for an investigation into lawmakers with close ties to defunct lobbying firm PMA Group, Democracy 21 President Fred Wertheimer said on Friday.

The request will seek a probe into whether the millions of dollars in campaign contributions the firm generated for favored Members of Congress influenced the tens of millions of dollars in earmarks those lawmakers secured for PMA clients.

Outside groups are barred from filing complaints with the ethics committee, but the panel can initiate probes on its own and the request is sure to pile political pressure on an already strained House Democratic leadership team.

Read more ....

Best Served Cold Watch: Obama Abandoning Murtha.

From Red State:

I have to admit that when it comes to avenging slights made against it this administration has both total recall and infinite patience. What’s below (via Instapundit) is probably the most important part of this New York Times article about Jack Murtha’s travails:

While past presidents often courted Mr. Murtha with phone calls and private meetings, President Obama has extended to him no such courtesies. On a visit to the White House, the lawmaker told senior defense officials that it would be “foolish” and “ridiculous” to cancel all of a $13 billion contract to buy new presidential helicopters, as he later recounted to a defense industry newsletter. But Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates has insisted on scrapping the deal as a symbol of waste.

Read more ....

My Comment: Red State is a conservative blog, and it has no loyalties to the Democratic Party .... but I have to agree with their assessment that relations between President Obama and Rep. Murtha are clearing going down two separate paths.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Ethics Complaint From Judicial Watch Says Price Dodd Paid For Cottage Amounts To A Gift

From The Hartford Courant:

The conservative government watchdog group Judicial Watch filed an ethics complaint Friday against U.S. Sen. Christopher Dodd, saying the price Dodd paid for his cottage in Ireland amounted to a gift from a friend and accusing the senator of failing to report it as such on government disclosure forms.

"It's relatively straightforward," said Tom Fitton, president of Judicial Watch. "It looks like he is getting taken care of in Ireland, and he's not reporting the nature of the gifts he is getting as a result of his being taken care of."

Read more ....

ABC News Reports On John Murtha's Pork Laden Airport

House Heavyweight Feels Threat to Power

Representative John P. Murtha of Pennsylvania, with Nancy Pelosi, the House speaker, has long wielded considerable clout. Matthew Cavanaugh/European Pressphoto Agency

From The New York Times:

WASHINGTON — So powerful was Representative John P. Murtha at one time that he used to put up billboards in his Western Pennsylvania district declaring that “the P is for Power.” Few in Congress dared disagree: he doled out or withheld billions in federal money each year for lawmakers’ pet projects, better known as earmarks.

Now, however, a string of federal criminal investigations of contractors or lobbyists close to Mr. Murtha, the top Democrat on the defense appropriations subcommittee, are threatening to undermine his backroom clout.

In the weeks since the news that prosecutors had raided the offices of the PMA Group — a lobbying firm founded by a former Murtha associate that became a gateway to his office and his biggest source of campaign money — about two dozen rank-and-file Democrats have risked his wrath by calling for a House ethics investigation of the matter. One Democrat has even foresworn seeking earmarks for the military contractors in his district because of ethical concerns about the process.

Read more ....

Friday, April 24, 2009

Is Keith Ellison The Chris Dodd of Minnesota?

Rep. Keith Ellison

From Hot Air:

My friend Eric Ostermeier at the University of Minnesota takes a look under the hood of Rep. Keith Ellison’s re-election campaign, and notices that most of the fuel comes from outside of Minnesota. The two-term Congressman from MN-05 has raised most of his money from outside the state, let alone his district. In fact, his out-of-state rate of financing is eleven times that of someo of his colleagues in the Minnesota delegation:

A new Smart Politics analysis of the FEC data reveals another eye-opening fact – DFLer Keith Ellison (MN-05) received more than 80 percent of his itemized individual campaign contributions from those living outside of the Gopher State. In fact, Ellison received 11 times a greater percentage of funds from out-of-state than DFL Representative Tim Walz (7.2 percent) and Republican Representative Erik Paulsen (7.6 percent) and more than four times that of Congresswoman Bachmann (18.7 percent). …

Read more ....

Another Dodd Donor Debacle: ICE And Oil Speculators

The Next Right:

The hits keep on coming on Chris Dodd's flaky first quarter finance report.

We learned he raised $44,000 from usurious payday lenders. So, could he find some donors even more anti-consumer than that bunch?

Answer: Yes.

Dodd raised $18,400 from executives at the Intercontinental Exchange. "one of the nation’s leading exchanges trading credit default swaps and other risky financial instruments."

Actually, what the Intercontinental Exchange (a/k/a "ICE") did in 2008 is far more problematic.

Read more ....

Government Watchdogs Warn Of Lack Of Oversight For Trillions in President's New Spending Programs

From ABC News:

The Government Accountability Office today issued a report on the $787 billion stimulus bill called "RECOVERY ACT: As Initial Implementation Unfolds in States and Localities, Continued Attention to Accountability Issues Is Essential."

The GAO study asserts that officials from most of the states surveyed "expressed concerns regarding the lack of Recovery Act funding provided for accountability and oversight. Due to fiscal constraints, many states reported significant declines in the number of oversight staff -- limiting their ability to ensure proper implementation and management of Recovery Act funds."

Read more ....

My Comment: Lack of oversight?!?!?! I am just praying that there will be at least some minimum oversight .... instead of none.

Welcome To The Airport For Nobody

On average, just 20 people a day flew out of the John Murtha Johnstown-Cambria County Airport last year. But, the airport was just allocated $800,000 in stimulus funds to repave an alternate runway. (Jonathan Karl /ABC News)

From ABC News:

Rep. John Murtha Steered $150 Million in Taxpayer Funds to Airport Over Last Decade

You've heard of the Bridge to Nowhere. You might call this the Airport for Nobody.

The John Murtha Johnstown-Cambria County Airport has an impressive $18 million runway made of reinforced concrete that's big enough to land any airplane in North America. The airport also has a $7 million air traffic control tower, a $14 million hanger and $8 million radar. Most of the time, the only thing the airport doesn't have is airplanes.

An average of just 20 people a day flew out of the Murtha Airport last year. But, the airport was just awarded more federal money -- $800,000 in stimulus funds to repave an alternate runway.

Read more ....

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Poll: 60% Say Government Has Too Much Power, Too Much Money

From Ramussen Reports:

Sixty percent (60%) of Americans say the federal government has too much power and too much money, according to a new Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey.

Just nine percent (9%) say the government has too little power and money. Twenty-four percent (24%) believe the government has about the right amount of both.

Read more ....

Bonuses To New York Times Execs Under Fire

From the Huffington Post:

At a time when New York Times managers are forcing all employees to take a five percent pay cut, and demanding even larger sacrifices from the NYT-owned Boston Globe, top executives of the beleaguered newspaper received substantial bonus and fringe benefit payments over and above their salaries, according to a proxy statement released on March 11.

These bonuses and benefits to top Times company executives have provoked growing resentment among Times staffers, and frank anger from Globe reporters who have been warned by Times executives that their paper will be folded if they do not come up with $20 million in pay cuts and layoffs.

Read more ....

My Comment: I have been reading the New York Times for about 25 years. It is a shame to see how much it has gone downhill since then. Lets face it .... management has screwed up .... but to now loot the company and to position themselves for financial help from the Government .... sigh .... these blood suckers have no shame or self respect.

Democrats Under Ethics Cloud Benefit From Distracted Public

Rep. Jane Harman awaits President Obama's address to a
joint session of Congress. Feb. 24, 2009 (AP)

From FOX News:

Allegations of ethics violations by Democrats in recent months have not made the same splash that they did a few years ago when Republicans were on the receiving end.

Allegations of ethics violations by a handful of Democrats in recent months reached something of a crescendo this week as two prominent members of Congress were accused of corruption.

California Rep. Jane Harman denied allegations that she offered to help seek reduced charges for two pro-Israel lobbyists suspected of espionage in exchange for help from a pro-Israel donor, also suspected Israeli agent, in lobbying House Speaker Nancy Pelosi to give Harman a key chairmanship.

Read more ....

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Rep. Jan Schakowsky And Her Family

From Instapundit:

PATHETIC: “Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D-Ill.) blasted ‘tea party’ protests yesterday, labeling the activities ‘despicable’ and ’shameful.’”

Ironic: “The husband of an Illinois congresswoman pleaded guilty Wednesday to tax violations and bank fraud for writing rubber checks and failing to collect withholding tax from an employee. Robert Creamer, a political consultant married to four-term U.S. Rep. Jan Schakowsky, could face four years in prison on the two felony counts when he is sentenced Dec. 21.”

Tax hypocrisy abounds in Washington, but they’re angry that people are protesting. . . .

Read more ....

Murtha's Earmarks Keep Airport Aloft

The security check-in area at the John Murtha Johnstown-Cambria County Airport in Johnstown, Pa., where the security staff members sometimes outnumber the passengers. (By Robin Rombach For The Washington Post)

State-of-the-Art Pennsylvania Facility Sees Few Travelers but Lots of Funding

JOHNSTOWN, Pa. -- The John Murtha airport sits on a windy mountain two hours east of Pittsburgh, a 650-acre expanse of smooth tarmac, spacious buildings, a helicopter hangar and a National Guard training center.

Inside the terminal on a recent weekday, four passengers lined up to board a flight, outnumbered by seven security staff members and supervisors, all suited up in gloves and uniforms to screen six pieces of luggage. For three hours that day, no commercial or private planes took off or landed. Three commercial flights leave the airport on weekdays, all bound for Dulles International Airport.

Read more ....

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Murtha's Defense Earmarks Draw Questions

From CBS News:

(CBS) CBS News investigative correspondent Sharyl Attkisson and investigative producer Laura Strickler reported this story for

Spring in Washington is "earmark season" - a busy time for Congressman John Murtha.

"That's my business," Murtha said. "I've been in it for 35 years."

As head of a powerful Defense committee, Murtha controls hundreds of millions of taxpayer dollars, reports CBS News investigative correspondent Sharyl Attkisson. And he's not shy about directing money to those who give generously to his election campaigns.

Read more ....

Bank Bailout Is Ripe For Fraud

Bank Bailout May Hurt Taxpayers, Be Open To Fraud -- Yahoo News/AP

Inspector general cites potential flaws in bank bailout, urges Treasury to adopt safeguards.
WASHINGTON (AP) -- Taxpayers are increasingly exposed to losses and the government is more vulnerable to fraud under Obama administration initiatives that have created a federal bank bailout program of "unprecedented scope," a government report finds.

In a 250-page quarterly report to Congress, the rescue program's special inspector general concludes that a private-public partnership designed to rid financial institutions of their "toxic assets" is tilted in favor of private investors and creates "potential unfairness to the taxpayer."

Read more ....

My Comment: Many red flags are waving .... but no one is doing anything. I guess there are too many hands in the till.

Israelli Spies And The U.S. Congresswomen

Sources: Wiretap Recorded Rep. Harman Promising to Intervene for AIPAC -- CQ Politics

Rep. Jane Harman , the California Democrat with a longtime involvement in intelligence issues, was overheard on an NSA wiretap telling a suspected Israeli agent that she would lobby the Justice Department to reduce espionage-related charges against two officials of the American Israeli Public Affairs Committee, the most powerful pro-Israel organization in Washington.

Harman was recorded saying she would “waddle into” the AIPAC case “if you think it’ll make a difference,” according to two former senior national security officials familiar with the NSA transcript.

Read more ....

More News On Rep. Harmen's Contacts With Israelli Agents

Harman Vehemently Denies Bribery Allegations Allegdly Caught on NSA Tapes -- FOX News
Rep. Harman's alleged quid-pro-quo with an Israeli spy -- Foreign Policy
Rep. Harman's alleged quid-pro-quo with an Israeli spy -- Foreign Policy Blog
Caught In The AIPAC -- The Atlantic
Who Listened To Harman? NSA Or FBI? -- The Atlantic
Jane Harman 'recorded on wiretap promising to intervene for American-Israeli group' -- The Telegraph
Major Democratic Scandal Breaking -- Auburn Journal
Harman denies allegations, questions wiretap -- The Hill
Jane Harman denies CQ report she was heard on NSA wiretap lobbying for AIPAC officials -- L.A. Times
Harman responds to CQ: Report ‘recycles three year-old discredited reporting.’ -- Think Progress

Sen. Dianne Feinstein Helping Her Husband

Sen. Dianne Feinstein at President Obama's Inauguration
(Photo from Minnesota Public Radio)

EXCLUSIVE: Senator's Husband Cashes In On Crisis -- Washington Times

Feinstein sought $25 billion for agency that awarded contract to spouse

On the day the new Congress convened this year, Sen. Dianne Feinstein introduced legislation to route $25 billion in taxpayer money to a government agency that had just awarded her husband's real estate firm a lucrative contract to sell foreclosed properties at compensation rates higher than the industry norms.

Mrs. Feinstein's intervention on behalf of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. was unusual: the California Democrat isn't a member of the Senate Committee on Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs with jurisdiction over FDIC; and the agency is supposed to operate from money it raises from bank-paid insurance payments - not direct federal dollars.

Read more ....

Update: What Is Old Is New Again... Sen. Feinstein Steers $25 Billion to Agency Linked to Her Husband -- Gateway Pundit

My Comment: This is not the first time that Sen. Feinstein has been implicated in a conflict of interest with her husband .... probably will not be the last. But it is infuriating that before the announcement of this contract was made .... 10 million shares were bought (by her family) .... and bought at a time that is regarded to be the worst since the Great Depression .... and when the contract was announced they end up walking away with a cool 20 million in profit (at today's price).

Sigh .... this Congress really stinks.