Friday night news dump: Murtha cleared of Congressional ethics charges

By: MARK HEMINGWAY
Washington Examiner
12/19/09

While everyone is understandably obsessed with whether or not the Senate will pass this monstrosity of a health care bill, Congress decided they wouldn’t find a better time to announce this news:

Ethics Office Closes Inquiry Into Murtha, Dicks and Moran

The Office of Congressional Ethics has closed its investigation into Reps. John Murtha (D-Pa.), Norm Dicks (D-Wash.) and Jim Moran (D-Va.) and their relationships to the lobbying firm PMA Group, and the OCE advised against a formal House ethics investigation, the lawmakers’ offices said Friday.

George Behan, Dicks’ chief of staff, said the OCE, which reviews potential rules violations and refers investigations to the House ethics committee, informed the Washington lawmaker on Dec. 2 that it had recommended the inquiry be dismissed.

“In his case, there was never anything there,” Behan said.

Murtha spokesman Matt Mazonkey and Moran spokeswoman Emily Blout confirmed their respective lawmakers received similar letters.

“The Board of the Office of Congressional Ethics recommends that the Committee on Standards of Official Conduct dismiss the above allegations,” the OCE report issued to Moran’s office states. The one-page document indicates the board made a unanimous vote, 6 to 0.

The PMA lobbying scandal is one of the biggest to hit Congress in decades, and Murtha is already a synonymous with political corruption in the public mind. If the Office of Congressional Ethics won’t do anything about this scandal, it’s safe to say the the Office of Congressional Ethics won’t do anything about influence peddling, ever.

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