A computer analysis released by the Center for Public Integrity found that three quarters of the members of the House Appropriations Defense Subcommittee engaged in the same kind of controversial influence peddling that got chairman John Murtha, D-PA, Rep. Jim Moran, D-VA, and Rep. Peter Visclosky, D-IN, in hot water for their dealings with the now defunct PMA Group.
“The Center's analysis reveals that 12 of 16 subcommittee members have been involved in similar circles of relationships fraught with potential conflicts of interest. In these circles, former staffers became lobbyists for defense contractors; the contractors received earmarks from the representatives; and the representatives received campaign contributions from the lobbyists or the contractors.”
Sixteen former subcommittee aides-turned lobbyists forked over $1 million in campaign contributions to the 12 members of Murtha's Mob, and were rewarded with $100 million in earmarks, the Center reports. Murtha is currently under investigation by the Justice Department and the House Ethics Committee for possible illegal quid pro quos.
The Center found suspicious “relationship circles” involving 11 lobbying firms and more than 50 earmarks – totaling more than $100 million – including Rep. C.W. Bill Young, R-FL, Rep. Jack Kingston, R-GA, Todd Tiahrt, R-KS, Rep. Norman Dicks, D-WA, former Rep. Dave Hobson, R-OH, who retired last year, Rep. Steve Rothman, D-NJ, Rep. Rodney Frelinghuysen, R-NJ, Rep. Kay Granger, R-TX, and former Rep. Roger Wicker, R-MS, now a senator.
Looks like the probe needs to be expanded a bit.