Remember Martha Coakley’s trip to Washington — the one she took to raise money at a fancy Capitol Hill wine bar with a Who’s Who of health care lobbyists?
Something similar is happening in Pennsylvania, where a May 18 special election is being held to replace the late Rep. Jack Murtha, D-Pa.
The race is very close between Democrat Mark Critz, a former senior staffer for Murtha, and Republican Tim Burns, but Critz has a trump card. He was the guy who used to prepare Murtha’s list of pork for preferred lobbyists and defense contractors. So those lobbyists and contractors are now paying him back — they account for more than half of his individual campaign contributions, the Washington Post reports:
Defense contractors, local business officers and lobbyists that relied on earmarked federal contracts from Murtha (D-Pa.) recently chipped in $142,400 to elect Mark Critz, an analysis by The Washington Post shows. Those donations made up more than 52 percent of the individual contributions that Critz raised in the first-quarter of 2010 as he seeks to replace his late boss, new campaign records reveal.
Four former lobbyists of the PMA Group, a once-powerful lobbying shop, also chipped in to elect Critz. Murtha arranged for his spending panel to steer hundreds of millions of earmarked contracts to PMA clients. The firm shut its doors amid a criminal investigation scrutinizing more than $1 million dollars in campaign contributions it gave to Murtha and other subcommittee members. Critz’s money came as well from top officers of companies that were longtime beneficiaries of Murtha’s largess in doling out military contracts…
The House ethics committee identified Critz as a person who prepared earmark suggestions for Murtha, and Murtha told the committee he routinely approved the list his staff gave him without making any changes…
This seat has belonged to the Plunderers for decades, and they aren’t going to give it up without a fight.