This letter is sent to Congressman John Murtha in response to a news article posted on CBS news.
The Honorable John Murtha
Member, United States House of Representatives
647 Main Street
Johnstown, PA 15901
Dear Mr. Murtha:
I am writing in response to a news article posted on CBS.com dated April 20, 2009 entitled “Murtha’s Defense Earmarks Draw Questions “( http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2009/04/20/eveningnews/main4958071.shtml). The article states: “In all, 10 recent Murtha donors are slated to receive $31 million in Murtha earmarks for 2010.” You also stated that you are willing to be called corrupt if you are “taking care of your district.”
On your website, you defend the policy of using earmarks: “Earmarks do not increase the federal budget, they direct funds within the budget for certain community projects or programs. If these funds are not directed by members of Congress, decisions would be left for Washington bureaucrats in various federal agencies to decide what is best for our local communities. ”
Although I now live in Tennessee, I grew up in Erie, and will always consider Western Pennsylvania my home. Sir, I strongly urge you to reconsider your position on these, and any, earmarks. You have stated: “Earmarks do not increase the federal budget, they direct funds within the budget for certain community projects or programs.” While they do not increase the federal budget, they are still coming out of tax payer dollars – my dollars. As a ranking member of Congress, and one who is well known on the national scale, you should take the lead in ending the practice of earmarks. Western Pennsylvanians, and I know them well, want to keep more of their hard earned money rather than pay an increasing tax margin to have you and others “direct” those funds.
Your statements on earmarks would carry more weight if 31 million dollars of your “directed funds” were not going to 10 donors to your campaign. While you are not doing anything illegal, Western Pennsylvanians and the rest of the country will no longer tolerate the slight appearance of wrong doing. Again, as a respected member of Congress you have the ability and influence to stop the use of earmarks. I urge you to do so.
Reuel K. Sample