Letter to Congressman John Murtha

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
District Office
647 Main Street
Suite 401
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.
Sincerely yours,

Reuel K. Sample

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  • snarfboy

    Wasn’t the Iraq war under Bush a giant earmark? “While they do not increase the federal budget, they are still coming out of tax payer dollars – my dollars”

    Unbudgeted – unfunded- giant EARMARK.

    Personally I think earmarks are a good idea if they bring my taxes back home. The honorable delegate from the US territory of Iraq should thus write a defense bill with earmarks for his/her constituents.

  • snarfboy

    I am back again because I have given this a little thought. The reason why earmarks are a rallying cry for conservatives is that the government is broke.

    But why is the government broke?
    1. The economy took a downturn just prior to Clinton leaving office due to the dotcom bust. However at the time the country was starting to run a surplus.
    2. George Bush, a social conservative, took the surplus and gave it away via tax cuts and refunds to folks who didn’t need it nor want it.
    3. George Bush made a deal with the oil companies and the auto industry that deregulated gas economy, ensured the rise of the SUV and killed the electric car.
    4. To stabilize oil flow George Bush went to war with Iraq.
    5. The Bush administration underestimated the cost of the Iraq war and sent billions of dollars to a cause that didn’t accomplish #4.
    6. Needing a feather in his cap, George Bush promoted home ownership for all – asking bankers to ease lending requirements.
    7. The home mortgage industry tanks due to #6.
    8. Bush leaves office leaving a miserable situation to his successor.
    9. Fiscal conservatives, at this point, still at odds with social conservatives start talking about earmarks in an attempt to retake their party.
    10. The social conservatives, still baffled by the change of regime, say “whatever” and rally to their party, biding their time until the economy is stable enough for them to reintroduce useless legislation designed to polarize Americans.

    Let me know if I missed something…..

    • I appreciate the time you have taken for the comment.

      No one would deny that the federal government has been mismanaged under both Republican and Democrat leadership. I do disagree with your reasons as to why we went to war with Iraq. As to the housing issue, Barney Frank was instrumental in passing bills that required high risk lending.

      But none of this addresses the point. The Democrat Party in its bid for the Presidency stated that we were moving forward. In his addresses over seas, President Obama stated that the things done are past, but we are looking toward the future. As a Senator, Obama co-sponsored a bill that would put a one year moratorium on all earmarks, and pledged to slash earmarks dramatically.

      What you are missing is that George Bush is out of office. We are supposed to be in a new administration and moving forward. My letter to the Congressman addresses his present earmarks.

      I appreciate both your candor and respectfullness in your comments!