Murtha Bashing

Murtha, a longtime senior Democrat on the House Appropriations Committee, has battled accusations over the years that he has traded federal spending for campaign contributions, that he has abused his post as ranking party member on the Appropriations defense subcommittee, and that he has stood in the way of ethics investigations. Those charges come on top of Murtha’s involvement 26 years ago in the FBI’s Abscam bribery sting.

“Pelosi’s endorsement suggests to me she was interested in the culture of corruption only as a campaign issue and has no real interest in true reform,” said Melanie Sloan, executive director of Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW), a Democratic-leaning group. “It is shocking to me that someone with [Murtha’s] ethics problems could be number two in the House leadership.”


At issue is Murtha’s relationships with two defense lobbyists. Paul Magliocchetti of the PMA Group is a former aide to the lawmaker, and Robert “Kit” Murtha is his brother and was a senior partner at KSA Consulting from 2002 to 2005.

The PMA Group has become the go-to firm to approach Murtha as ranking Democrat on the Appropriations defense subcommittee, CREW charges. In the 2006 defense appropriations bill, PMA clients reaped at least 60 special provisions, or “earmarks,” worth more than $95 million.

The PMA Group and its clients have been top campaign contributors for Murtha: $274,649 in the 2006 campaign cycle, $236,799 in the 2004 cycle and $279,074 in the 2002 cycle, according to CREW’s tallies.

After Kit Murtha joined KSA Consulting in 2002, one of his first clients was a wireless networking company called Aeptec Microsystems Inc., which was seeking to build a business complex in Murtha’s district with a Pennsylvania state grant. Aeptec executive Michael Hoban contributed $2,000 to Murtha’s campaign that year.

In 2004, Murtha helped secure the grant. A few months later, the Appropriations subcommittee approved a $4.2 million earmark for the company.

All I can say is it’s really nice to see the Washington Post bashing Democrats instead of Republicans for a change.

New SSL Certs On The Way

Interesting read over on CNet regarding the new EV SSL (Extended Validation) secure certificates for e-commerce web sites which will soon be available. Browsers that detect these new certs will indicate their presence using color coded background painting of the address bar as an visual cue. This will replace that little yellow lock icon we’re all accustomed to ignoring today. The lock icon is pretty worthless as a trust indicator due to a whole slew of small, cheap cert companies that basically do little or no background checking before selling someone a new cert for their web site. The new EV SSL guidelines require a signifigant amount of background checking before the cert is issued. This is going to be a boon to companies like VeriSign which have always had a system of background checking in place for cert applicants but have seen their business underminded by the cost differences between issuing VeriSign high trust certs and the cheaper “limited trust” cert sellers.