Thursday, December 16, 2010

Earmarks From the Crypt

So you thought when John Murtha died that the endless stream of pork heading to his district would cease? Not so fast, my friends, not so fast.

Behold Zombie Murtha.

In these times when it is fashionable to be ostensibly austere, the Senate omnibus spending bill has drawn considerable criticism for being larded up with pork projects -- some of which is emanating from lawmakers who put the earmarks there themselves. And in this reporter's view, it's only fitting that Rep. John P. Murtha, D-Johnstown, was able to get an earmark into the bill from beyond the grave.

The John P. Murtha Foundation, initiated after the 18-term appropriator's Feb. 8 death, is in line to get a $10 million earmark for the Murtha Center for Public Service at the University of Pittsburgh at Johnstown. You may recall that the state also chipped in $10 million for the Murtha Center, which was proposed as a 25,000-square-foot place to keep Murtha's old papers with museum, classroom, office and meeting space. The Murtha museum, foundation member and former Murtha aide Matt Mazonkey tells us, is less than 10 percent of the total space.

With any luck we may be spared this travesty.

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