INDIANA, Pa. -- The buzzer is broken at the John P. Murtha Institute for Homeland Security, and a note invites visitors, "Please knock." On a summer afternoon, a lone intern answers the door of the mostly empty basement offices that through the years have overseen $50 million in federal money awarded to projects designed to make the nation safer.This largesse, folks, is not only made up of "other people's money," it is financed with YOUR taxpayer dollars.
Named for the chairman of the powerful House Appropriations subcommittee on defense, who has shepherded most of its funding, the Murtha Institute was supposed to embark on projects to protect the country from terrorists and clean up environmental dangers. Much of the work went to companies and friends close to the congressman, and few of the projects met their goals, a Washington Post investigation shows.
But its spotty performance and internal turmoil have not deterred Murtha (D-Pa.) or his alma mater, Indiana University of Pennsylvania, which houses the center, from seeking more money or dreaming big about the future.
Plans are underway to move the Murtha Institute from its dormitory basement suite to a $53 million IUP athletic arena and conference center now under construction. Murtha secured a $3 million federal earmark for the building two years ago, and he sought another earmark this year before abruptly changing course as investigations of his defense appropriations and lobbying connections heated up. Murtha redirected some of that request to IUP research.
Folks, in these trying times, "politics as usual" shouldn't cut it.
If Jihad Jack had pulled his ponzi schemes anywhere outside what should be the hallowed halls of Congress, Jack Murtha would be now be sitting in the John P. Murtha Penitentiary.
It's now more apparent than ever that Murtha Must Go!!