Contractor With Ties To Murtha Charged By Feds
"A former executive for a Pennsylvania defense firm with close ties to Rep. John P. Murtha (D-Pa.) has been charged with taking bribes from a partner defense company and appears to be cooperating in a federal investigation of Pentagon contracting."
That's the top of a story by our Post colleague Carol Leonnig, who has been closely following a rolling federal investigation of contractors with ties to Murtha.
The case appears to be gaining momentum. It continues to fuel questions about the role that Murtha -- chairman of the House Appropriations subcommittee on military spending -- played in arranging contracts, congressional earmarks and the like for favored companies.
More from Leonnig's story:
"Richard Ianieri, the former president of Coherent Systems International, is accused of taking bribes from officials at a firm the company hired as a contractor. The charges, filed late Monday by the U.S. Attorney's Office in Pittsburgh, came in the form of a filing that typically indicates that the defendant plans to plead guilty and cooperate with investigators.
"The company that allegedly paid the bribes, identified in court filings only as "K," closely resembles Kuchera Defense Systems, which is based in Murtha's congressional district outside Pittsburgh and was a subcontractor to Coherent. Kuchera Defense Systems and its sister company, Kuchera Industries, are under federal investigation for allegations of fraud and overbilling on Defense Department contracts. The probe focuses on companies that benefited from contracts orchestrated or approved by Murtha, the powerful chair of the House Appropriations subcommittee on military spending.
"Defense investigators and the FBI raided Kuchera's corporate offices and the homes of its top two executives January. In late April, the Navy suspended Kuchera for 'alleged fraud,' including 'multiple incidents' of incorrect charging, Navy officials said, along with allegations of defective pricing and ethical violations."
Government Inc. readers may recall that Murtha has been one of the leading practioners of earmarks -- funding that is directed to very particular places.
Federal investigators are examining the extent to which those earmarks are linked to campaign contributions to the powerful lawmaker.
By Robert O'Harrow |
July 7, 2009; 3:10 PM ET
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