Last week the broke that John Murtha’s nephew created a company, Murtech that received $4,000,000 worth of Pentagon contracts without having to bid on them. At the time the junior Murtha (Robert C. Murtha Jr) said that his defense contracts had nothing to do with his Uncle, the King of Congressional pork:
Murtha said he does not advertise being the nephew of John Murtha and considers it “unfortunate” that some will unfairly assume Murtech received its federal contracts because of his uncle’s influence at the Pentagon.
New information has been discovered that indicates that Robert Murtha may not have been truthful about not using his Uncle to secure contracts. And there may have been a quid pro quo to where some of the contracts needed to be executed in Uncle John’s district. The relevant parts of WAPO Report says:
…Newly obtained documents, however, show Robert Murtha mentioning his influential family connection as leverage in his business dealings and holding unusual power with the military. The documents add to mounting questions about Rep. Murtha, whose use of federal earmarks to help favored defense companies and whose relationship with a former lobbying firm are under scrutiny by federal investigators.
The congressman has used his control over Pentagon funds to build a hub of defense-related industry in his congressional district and has also received generous campaign donations from the companies.
Robert Murtha, an engineer, benefited from some of the defense contracts when companies brought him in to manage a small portion of the work. Even when the main contract shifted to a new company, he continued to be paid as part of the team. Some former business associates and employees told The Washington Post that they thought the role played by Robert Murtha’s companies was unnecessary.
Jeff Curtis, an engineer who worked for Robert Murtha’s company in 2001, contacted The Post to say that he and some co-workers did virtually no work on a project to make kits to test for biological agents. Curtis said he remains “furious” that taxpayer dollars were wasted.
“I was always thinking, ‘Why is the government paying this company?’ ” said Curtis, 29, who is now doing engineering work in North Carolina. “If it’s fair to have this kind of no-bid work, I’ll start a company and do it for half as much. Because this company didn’t do anything.”
In e-mails obtained by The Post, Robert Murtha told a business partner in 2001 that there were conditions for “keeping funds flowing.” Part of the federal work, he said, must be channeled to Johnstown, Pa., his uncle’s home town. This has been a requirement for what I do to get dollars through,” Robert Murtha wrote in an e-mail to a senior official with NMS Imaging of Silver Spring, the lead contractor on a project to produce biological test kits….He warned in an e-mail that failing to move work to Johnstown could jeopardize “financial rewards” for all parties. “Everyone on your side and on my side benefit from this, without having invested anything,” he wrote……
Although he worked for a subcontractor, Robert Murtha sometimes called the shots on larger decisions, documents and interviews show. In 2000, he began demanding that NMS move some of its assembly work to Johnstown, records show. NMS officials complained at first but eventually complied.
Robert Murtha repeatedly warned NMS and others that the Pentagon generally deferred to his judgment, documents show.
“These projects are given to us because of my technical and performance reputation,” he wrote in 2001. “When I let things go a certain way, it is normally accepted.”
The invoices provided to The Post show that the Pentagon’s contracting official on the project, David Cullin, authorized payments to ACS Defense and simultaneously to Murtech, then a small consulting firm owned by Robert Murtha. In October 2000, NMS questioned a Murtech invoice and whether Cullin approved billings for what appeared to be duplicative supplies and services. In response, Cullin wrote to NMS, “Please expedite as much as possible,” regarding an $18,000 payment to Murtech.
Seems to me that we could be saving some of of the waste in our federal treasury of we stopped the Pork King from making his nephew rich. To read the entire WAPO article, click here Nephew Mentioned Rep. Murtha in Dealings as Contractor.