The entire 54-minute video showing the FBI’s Abscam sting on Rep. John Murtha can be viewed here. Warning – video contains profane and blasphemous language.
Rep. John Murtha, D-Pa.
Rep. John Murtha, D-Pa., who has been endorsed for House majority leader by presumed speaker-to-be Nancy Pelosi, escaped indictment in the 1980 Abscam scandal by a single grand jury vote, according to reports.
But a video posted by an anti-Murtha campaign shows it’s clear his recorded refusal to accept a $50,000 bribe “at this point” was because he had bigger goals in mind.
“I expect to be in the [expletive deleted] leadership of the House,” Murtha said on the profanity-laced video posted by BootMurtha.com, where former Navy Seal officer Larry Bailey, who served in Panama, Bolivia, Scotland, Colombia, Vietnam and the Philippines, runs campaigns opposing the congressman for his anti-military views.
Bailey’s website, Veterans for Truth, has posted a nearly hour-long video made by the FBI at a Washington townhouse that features Murtha.
“I’m just avoiding having a problem. I do business like this all the time,” Murtha told the FBI agent in explaining his “disinterest” in the $50,000.
An ethics committee investigation at that time failed to take action against Murtha following the 1980 vote-buying scandal, except that the results prompted the committee counsel to resign in protest.
In the Abscam case, U.S. Sen. Harrison Williams, D-N.J., and six House members agreed on camera to take bribes from FBI agents posing as Arab sheiks.
Murtha’s comments to the “Arab sheik’s agent” were: “I’m not interested – at this point. If we do business awhile, maybe I’ll be interested, maybe I won’t.”
He did tell the agent to take care of two other guys, and he testified against another representative later. He’s maintained his innocence, explaining he was meeting with people he thought had enough money to develop jobs in his district.
He does repeatedly talk on the video about jobs in his district and assures that a connected request for immigration manipulation to allow the benefactor into the U.S. would be no difficulty.
“I’ve got as much influence … as anybody in Congress,” he told the agent. “I know the right the people.”
“His venality permeates the tape from start to finish,” Bailey told WND. “It’s clear he was willing to consider a bigger bribe, but $50,000 wasn’t enough for him.”
Murtha references both “billions” and “millions” on the video.
A Washington Post report by Pulitzer Prize-winning investigative columnist Jack Anderson characterized the Pennsylvania Democrat’s interaction with the FBI as “perhaps the saddest scene on the secret Abscam videotapes. … He refused to take the money, but his reason was hardly noble.”
“I want to deal with you guys awhile before I make any transactions at all, period,” Murtha explained. “After we’ve done some business, well, then I might change my mind. … I’m going to tell you this. If anybody can do it – I’m not B.S.-ing you fellows – I can get it done my way. There’s no question about it.”
Murtha also elaborated on his disinclination to take money during the meeting.
“All at once, some dumb [expletive deleted] would go start talking eight years from now about this whole thing and say [expletive deleted], this happened,” Murtha said. “Then in order to get immunity so he doesn’t go to jail, he starts talking and fingering people. So the [S.O.B.] falls apart.”
Murtha continues by telling the undercover officer that “there are a couple of banks that have really done me some favors in the past, and I’d like to put some money in.”
The watchdog group Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington has listed the congressman in its report “Beyond DeLay: The 20 Most Corrupt Members of Congress (and five to watch).”
“Future House Speaker Pelosi’s endorsement of Rep. Murtha, one of the most unethical members of Congress, shows that she may have prioritized ethics reform merely to win votes with no real commitment to changing the culture of corruption,” said CREW’s executive director, Melanie Sloan.
The video shows Murtha bragging that he “knows the right people” and suggesting that the “sheik’s” agent “buy insurance if you want to.”
“There’s no question about it I can get it done,” he said. “What I’ve got to know is exactly what you guys have in mind.”
Murtha also has been criticized for directing federal money to family members and friends.
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