WHO: Rep. John P. Murtha, D-Pa.
<p>WHAT: Some $50 million in federal tax money has been handed out since 2003 by the John P. Murtha Institute for Homeland Security at Indiana University of Pennsylvania. Much of it went to local companies and friends of the powerful appropriations subcommittee on defense chairman. And few of the projects met their goals, a new Washington Post investigation shows.
HOW: The National Emergency Disaster Information System was supposed to be software enabling National Guard personnel to enter details of a crisis scene into a hand-held device that would spit out instructions for handling specific threats. It finally won National Guard acceptance after $6 million was spent on the project but has never been deployed in the field.
WHY: A regional airport and nearly a dozen other facilities named for Murtha exemplify how the veteran congressman has poured federal aid into his economically depressed home district.
WHAT’S BEING DONE: Multiple investigations touching on Murtha’s defense appropriations and lobbying ties have heated up, although no official charges are filed yet.