Thursday, July 19, 2007

Murtha Again Misrepresents Earmarks

The other day I wrote about the 'phantom earmark' that John Murtha is advocating for an entity that seemingly does not exist. Today the plot thickens, as the Hill reports that contrary to Murtha's claim, the Department of Energy does not support the earmark he requested:

DoE spokeswoman Anne Kolton said yesterday the earmark is not a program that meets the department’s “mission critical” threshold, noting it was “inconsistent” with the department’s 2008 budget.

Anti-earmark crusader Rep. Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.) challenged the earmark on the House floor Tuesday, asking if the “mysterious” Center for Instrumented Critical Infrastructure even existed because he and his staff couldn’t find a website for it. Flake’s challenge failed, 98-326.

It's worth noting that this is the second time this year that Murtha has claimed justification for one of his earmarks on the grounds that a federal agency supported the earmark. The first case was more egregious: he claimed that the Department of Justice planned to transfer jurisdiction over the 'No-Fly List' to an entity in his district that DoJ was in fact attempting to shut down:

To secure congressional funding for a pet project, Rep. John Murtha, D-Pa., made a surprising claim: The little-known National Drug Intelligence Center was about to take charge of the "vitally important" terrorist no-fly list.

Murtha's news, in a letter he sent to the House Intelligence Committee last month, came as a surprise to the nation's intelligence community. The Office of the Director of National Intelligence already had recommended that the NDIC, in Murtha's hometown of Johnstown, Pa., be closed for poor performance. It also puzzled the Justice Department, NDIC's parent agency, where spokesman Dean Boyd said there are no "current" plans for such a transition...

Murtha's letter said the center "also anticipates undertaking a new and vitally important mission…with the National Counterterrorism Center—assuming responsibility for the terror no-fly list, the terror incident training program and [as] the post-disaster recovery site for the National Counterterrorism Center."

The Justice Department's Boyd said there are no "current" plans to move the terror incident program to the NDIC. Boyd said he could not comment on any plans dealing with post-disaster relocation.

Mr. Murtha seems to have a problem with the truth.

Hat Tip: Glenn

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