Murtha reportedly called Dem ethics, lobbying bill 'total crap'

Published: Wednesday November 15, 2006

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Congressman John Murtha reportedly called a Democratic bill on lobbying and ethics reform "total crap" two days before the House Majority Leader election, during a vote-bidding presentation before the Blue Dog Coalition.

"Rep. John Murtha (D-Pa.) told a group of Democratic moderates on Tuesday that an ethics and lobbying reform bill being pushed by party leaders was 'total crap,' but said that he would work to enact the legislation because Speaker-to-be Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) supports it," John Bresnahan reports for Roll Call.

"Even though I think it’s total crap, I’ll vote for it and pass it because that’s what Nancy wants," Murtha said, three sources at the meeting told the Capitol Hill newspaper.

Murtha has been accused of abusing his position as ranking member of the Defense Appropriations Subcommittee of the House Appropriations Committee to benefit lobbying clients of his brother, and a liberal-leaning watchdog group blasted incoming House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Ca) for endorsing him, as reported on RAW STORY.

In September, CREW compiled a list of lawmakers, that it designated as the "20 Most Corrupt Members of Congress," at its Beyond DeLay website. Murtha was given a "dishonorable mention" by the group for being "involved in a number of pay-to play schemes involving former staffers and his brother, Robert 'Kit' Murtha."

"Eight incumbents in CREW’s report lost their races to ethics issues," notes CREW's press release.

"Future House Speaker Pelosi’s endorsement of Rep. Murtha, one of the most unethical members of Congress, shows that she may have prioritized ethics reform merely to win votes with no real commitment to changing the culture of corruption," CREW's executive director, Melanie Sloan, stated today. "How can Americans believe that the Democrats will return integrity to the House when future Speaker Pelosi has endorsed an ethically-challenged member for a leadership position?"

Excerpts from Roll Call article:


Pelosi has made enactment of the Honest Leadership and Open Government Act the cornerstone of her legislative agenda for the 110th Congress, and she is preparing to make it the first bill introduced under her reign. Murtha voted against the legislation earlier this year on the House floor.

Congressional corruption was a major issue for voters in the recent midterm elections, and Pelosi has pledged to clean-up the Congress as part of her efforts to reform the House.

A Democratic lawmaker, speaking on the condition of anonymity, said he was “surprised” by the tone of Murtha’s comments, especially Murtha’s repeated claim that he would back any proposal that Pelosi favored. This lawmaker has already declared for Hoyer.

“‘My agenda will be Nancy’s agenda’ — he kept saying that,” the lawmaker said. “The performance was stunningly awful.”