The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA

Local News

March 23, 2009

Murtha defends statement


Again, Murtha’s staff said the news report showed a lack of understanding of the political process.

“Congressman Murtha holds two major fundraisers every year around the exact same time. These people (in the CBS report) contributed during our February 2008 fundraiser, along with more than 400 other people,” Mazonkey said.

Murtha and his staff vigorously defend the projects earmarked in the federal budget, which was the point Murtha was trying to make with the Constitution in front of the camera, Mazonkey said.

“The Constitution specifically gives Congress the power to appropriate federal funds,” Mazonkey said. “Earmarks don’t increase the federal budget; they direct funds within the budget for certain community projects or programs.

“If elected members of Congress didn’t direct these funds, Washington bureaucrats would be left to decide what’s best for our communities. We think our elected representatives have a better understanding of what we need.”

Mazonkey added:

“Earmarks have brought jobs, economic development and community improvements to our area. If Congressman Murtha didn’t fight for these funds, then they would be left for Washington bureaucrats to decide where to send your tax dollars. In more cases than not, your money would be sent to the big cities like Pittsburgh and Philadelphia.”

Murtha’s staff theorizes that a former disgruntled worker at Kuchera, and perhaps at Penn State Electro Optics Center, spread false information.

For months, since the first reports of a possible investigation surfaced, Murtha has insisted that the FBI has not contacted him.

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