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More On Rep John Murtha’s “Abscam” Past

More on "Cut And Run" Murtha from our friends at CNS:

Murtha's Anti-War Stance Overshadows Abscam Past

By Randy Hall and Marc Morano
CNSNews.com Staff
January 13, 2006

(CNSNews.com) – Members of the press have given extensive and glowing coverage to Rep. John Murtha's criticism of the war in Iraq, but have overlooked a number of other controversies the Pennsylvania Democrat has experienced over the past 25 years. This includes his reported role as an un-indicted co-conspirator in the Abscam bribery scandal of the late 1970s and early 1980s.

Murtha has denied any wrongdoing, but Cybercast News Service has learned that one of Murtha's former allies, a Democratic congressman who served on the House Ethics Committee in 1981 and says he lobbied colleagues not to censure Murtha, now believes Murtha lied to him about his role in Abscam.

Since Murtha's Nov. 17, 2005, call for an immediate withdrawal of U.S. troops from Iraq, one CNN anchor has called him "one of the most highly respected members of Congress," the Associated Press has referred to Murtha as "one of Congress' most hawkish Democrats," and ABC News has noted that he is "a decorated marine who served in Vietnam."

But a search of the Nexis online database by Cybercast News Service found only three newspaper articles over the past two months connecting Murtha with the FBI's Abscam (short for "Arab scam") sting operation that led to the arrest of several congressmen for accepting bribes.

According to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, "Murtha was one of eight members of Congress lured to a Washington, D.C., townhouse by a team of FBI agents posing as representatives of a fictitious Arab sheik. They handed out briefcases filled with $50,000 in return for helping the sheik gain residency in the United States."

Noting that Murtha "is not squeaky clean," the Brattleboro, Vt., Reformer reported that the congressman "did not take the cash" offered by the agents. Instead, "he asked the fake sheik to consider investing some money in his struggling home town, Johnstown."

The Washington Post referred to the incident as "an ethical scrape" in which Murtha was "named as an unindicted co-conspirator and testified against two House colleagues."

But, a videotape of a Jan. 7, 1980 Abscam-related meeting involving Murtha shows that the congressman's rejection of the offered bribe was less than definite. "I'm not interested. I'm sorry," Murtha told the FBI agent, but added that he meant "at this point. See Video.

"You know, we do business for a while, maybe I'll be interested, maybe I won't," Murtha said on the FBI videotape.

The congressman told the undercover FBI agent that he was a member of the House Committee on Standards of Official Conduct and acknowledged: "If you get into heat with politicians, there's no amount of money that can help."

In November 1980, the Justice Department announced that Murtha would not face prosecution for his part in the scandal. "I did not consider that any money was offered, and certainly none was taken," Murtha told reporters. "The FBI who taped the entire conversation knows damn well no money changed hands."

Eight months later, the House ethics panel also chose not to file charges against the Pennsylvania Democrat.

A July 30, 1981, article

This article was posted by Steve Gilbert on Sunday, January 15th, 2006. Comments are currently closed.

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