Pentagon Gives $4M in No-Bid Contracts to Murtha Nephew

Looks bad, even if no evidence of meddling
By Gabriel Winant,  Newser User
Posted May 5, 2009 8:35 AM CDT
US Rep. John Murtha, D-Pa., addresses supporters at his headquarters in Johnstown, Pa. Tuesday, Nov. 4, 2008. Murtha was re-elected.   (AP Photo/Keith Srakocic)
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(Newser) – It can be hard for a defense contractor to be related to a powerful legislator with hands on the military’s purse strings. Just ask Robert Murtha, nephew of Democrat John Murtha, and chief of Murtech—everyone assumes that his success is his uncle’s work. Today, the Washington Post reports that Murtech got $4 million in no-bid contracts from the Pentagon last year to support development of detection systems for weapons of mass destruction. “We were uniquely qualified,” says the younger Murtha.

There’s no evidence of meddling by Rep. Murtha. But Robert Murtha has dodged reporters, and contracts like these look suspect. “By definition, the taxpayer isn't necessarily getting the best deal possible,” says a watchdog spokesman. “And certainly when you see the company has close ties to one of the most powerful appropriators in Congress, our antenna really perks up.”