Friday, September 29, 2006
Jack Murtha escaped prosecution by federal authorities in the Abscam scandal, but that wasn't the end of his worries. Even as federal prosecutors were putting a half dozen of his corrupt colleagues on trial, he still had to worry about how the rest of his colleagues in the House would deal with him -- that is, he had to deal with a potential investigation of his activities by the House Committee on Standards of Official Conduct (otherwise known as the House Ethics Committee).
Technically, he hadn't violated the laws of the United States when he attended a meeting with an undercover FBI agent posing as the representative of an Arab sheik -- even an undercover FBI agent who offered him $50,000 in cash.
But even though Murtha refused to take the cash at that first meeting, explaining somewhat apologetically that he didn't know the agent well enough yet (and leaving open the possibility that he would take the money during a second meeting), he still had serious trouble to deal with: the Rules of the House of Representatives required that any attempted bribe be reported immediately to the proper authorities.
Murtha had failed to do so. In fact, when he was first questioned by the local press about his role in the scam, he falsely claimed "They didn't offer me any money, and I didn't take any."
Click here to meet Jack's opponent