Murtha Institute Hands Money to Murtha Friends

Funds to beef up security are showered on connected firms
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 21, 2009 12:08 PM CDT
John Murtha answers a reporter's question about Kuchera Defense Systems Inc., after attending a breakfast at the "Showcase for Commerce" trade show in Johnstown, Pa., May 29, 2009.   (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar)
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(Newser) – 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.