CBS Skewers Murtha's Earmarks Without Mentioning He's a Democrat

April 7th, 2008 10:43 PM

Can you imagine any major television news network doing a report on a Republican Congressman's history of exorbitant earmarks without mentioning his Party affiliation?

The words "Republican," "GOP," "right-wing," or "conservative" would likely appear in almost every sentence, correct?

Well, as amazing as it might seem, the "CBS Evening News" on Friday did a fabulous segment about Congressman Jack Murtha (D-Penn.) and his free-spending ways when it comes to his own district, but never once informed viewers that he was a Democrat (video embedded upper right, h/t Hot Air via NBer Blazer):


Among power brokers in Washington, Congressman John Murtha is one of the most powerful. In the past four years, he has steered more than $600 million in congressional earmarks to his Pennsylvania district, two billion since 1992. But what's good for Murtha and his home district isn't necessarily good for America's taxpayers. Sharyl Attkisson follows the money.


At a recent high-priced fundraiser at the Ritz, top defense lobbyists flocked to honor Congressman John Murtha, head of the House Committee on Military Spending. This year alone, Murtha gave out nearly $160 million in earmarks, grants of money without the normal public review.

(Graphic on screen)

$159.1 Million

Ms. RYAN ALEXANDER (Taxpayers for Common Sense): Every private entity that received an earmark from Representative Murtha gave him a contribution, a campaign contribution.

ATTKISSON: Murtha helped set up the nonprofit Concurrent Technologies in his hometown of Johnstown, Pennsylvania. Among the things they do, help others get federal money. They should know, they get $200 million in federal grants each year. Murtha alone doled out nearly $12 million in earmarks to Concurrent this year. Concurrent pays big bucks to PMA, a lobby firm started by a former Murtha committee staffer. Both PMA and Concurrent employees give generously to Murtha's campaigns.

More mysterious is Murtha's million dollar earmark to the Center for Instrumented Critical Infrastructure.

Representative JEFF FLAKE: (From C-SPAN broadcast) We don't know if this center even exists.

ATTKISSON: Anti-earmark Congressman Jeff Flake had questions when he found no record of the center. Murtha wasn't there, so a colleague spoke for him.

(Begin excerpt from C-SPAN broadcast)

Rep. FLAKE: Does that center currently exist?

Representative PETER VISCLOSKY (Democrat, Indiana, 1st District, Gary Merrillville, Hammond): At this time, I do not know. But if it does not exist, the monies could not go to it.

(End of excerpts)

ATTKISSON: Congressman Murtha wouldn't tell us if the center exists or agree to an interview. His most notorious project is the government agency the government doesn't want, the National Drug Intelligence Center, also in Murtha's hometown. Every year, the White House tries to close it because they already have a drug intelligence center, but Murtha keeps the duplicate open, using--you guessed it--earmarks, a half billion dollars so far.

Ms. LESLIE PAIGE (Citizens Against Government Waste): It's like you want to drive a stake through its heart, but you can't because Congressman Murtha continues to put this in.

ATTKISSON: Murtha's power plays are no surprise to those who followed him since the bribery scandal known as Abscam. He wasn't charged, but the undercover tape shows him even back then bragging about his power.

Representative JOHN MURTHA: (From 1980 undercover video) I've got as much influence in that god...(word censored by station)...Congress with the leadership and the White House as anybody in Congress. There's no question about it. And I haven't been here for a long time, but I know the right people and I know the system.

ATTKISSON: Three decades later, Murtha not only knows the system, he's mastered it. Sharyl Attkisson, CBS News, Washington.

Bravo, CBS. Next time, try telling your viewers what Party the hypocritical elected official represents. 

Or, is that just plain verboten when the hypocritical elected official is a Democrat?