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Jack Murtha’s Got That PMA

Two weeks ago, a Pentagon official thought aloud to me about how the defense industry would resist President Obama’s attempts at procurement and acquisition reform. The “ground game,” this official said, would rely on defense-reliant members of Congress. For a baroque example of how this works, don’t miss The Washington Post’s piece on Rep. John Murtha (D-Penn.), who heads the defense subcommittee in House Appropriations. And he’s, uh, well-compensated for it:

A Pennsylvania defense research center regularly consulted with two “handlers” close to (D-Pa.) as it collected nearly $250 million in federal funding through the lawmaker, according to documents obtained by The Washington Post and sources familiar with the funding requests. The center then channeled a significant portion of the funding to companies that were among Murtha’s campaign supporters.

The cut-out in question appears to be a lobbying firm called PMA, which is under federal investigation. PMA’s clients got $299 million in defense earmarks in last year’s budget, and by pure coincidence, they and the firm routed $775,000 to Murtha for his reelection campaign last year. Funny how that works.

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