The John P. Murtha Institute for Homeland Security may look like a mostly deserted basement below an Indiana University of Pennsylvania dormitory, but over the years it’s overseen $50 million in federal funds—almost all of it going to Murtha’s friends and industry allies, a Washington Post investigation finds. The institute is supposed to vet and oversee projects to make the nation safer, or clean up the environment, but few have actually succeeded.
“He who pays homage to Murtha is the one who gets the money,” say a former employee of a researcher linked to the institute. Jeffrey Crane, the institute’s director from 2006 until last month, calls it a “paper institute,” with no power over the money flowing through it. But despite its frequent failures, Murtha keeps funneling money into the institute, including a $3 million earmark to build its new office, in an IUP athletic arena.