Murtha Named Top Porker in 2007

By Fred Lucas | July 7, 2008 | 8:24pm EDT

( - Rep. John Murtha (D-Pa.) was named "Porker of the Year" for 2007 on Wednesday by the taxpayer watchdog group Citizens Against Government Waste (CAGW).

The organization, which promotes fiscal responsibility and federal earmarks reform, conducted an online poll of 3,400 people about members of Congress. The often controversial Murtha, chairman of the House subcommittee on defense appropriations, won with 63.4 percent of the votes cast, according to CAGW.

In FY 2008, which began last October, Murtha secured 72 earmarks worth $149.2 million for his district, according to CAGW.

"For flouting the rules and playing games with reform, while filing spending bills with pork and arrogantly threatening anyone that challenges his authority, Rep. Jack Murtha is the 2007 Porker of the Year," the CAGW announcement said.

A spokesman from Murtha's press office could not be reached for comment Wednesday.

No other lawmaker came close to Murtha's vote tally.

The distant runner-up was Rep. Don Young (R-Alaska) with 10.6 percent of the vote, while Sen. Blanche Lincoln (D-Ark.) came in third place with 9.9 percent, followed by Rep. James Clyburn (D-S.C.) who had 6.7 percent, and Sen. Richard Shelby (R-Ala.) tied with Rep. James Oberstar (D-Minn.) for 4.1 percent.

Murtha made news for earmarks in May 2007 after attempting to insert a $23 million earmark for the National Drug Intelligence Center in Johnstown, Pa., in the intelligence authorization bill.

In 2006, the House Government Reform Committee called the center "an expensive and duplicative use of scarce federal drug enforcement resources."

Rep. Mike Rogers (R-Mich.) made a motion to remove the earmark and later told reporters Murtha threatened legislative retribution. Rogers reported that Murtha said, "I hope you don't have any earmarks in the defense appropriations bills, because they are gone, and you will not get any earmarks now and forever."

Rep. Todd Tiahrt (R-Kan.) also said Murtha threatened federal funding for a Boeing project in his Kansas district after Tiahrt voted with Rogers.

Republicans sought to reprimand Murtha, but the measure failed on a 219-189 party line vote.

"Rep. Jack Murtha has long been known inside the Beltway for using threats, power plays, and backroom deals to control spending decisions," the CAGW announcement said.

"There is an area of the House floor known as 'Murtha's corner,' where the legendary appropriator dispenses earmarks. The overwhelming vote for Porker of the Year vote shows that his shameful behavior is attracting attention throughout the country," it added.

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