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Murtha Goes to Bat for Troubled Company

POSTED: 11:08 AM ET, 08/15/2008 by Derek Kravitz

The powerful chairman of the House Appropriations defense subcommittee is defending a company that was convicted last year of illegally exporting military parts, The Post's Christopher Lee reports.

Rep. John P. Murtha, a Pennsylvania Democrat, wrote State Department officials in late June urging them to meet with the president of Electro-Glass Products, a 50-employee Pennsylvania company that was sanctioned by the State Department and fined $20,000 for illegally exporting parts for night-vision goggles to a company in India.

Murtha described Electro-Glass as an honest, highly respected company that wouldn't have sent the parts "if they truly believed the shipments were in violation of the law."

Matthew Mazonkey, Murtha's spokesman, said the congressman has no personal or financial ties to the company.

"It is Congressman Murtha's policy to inquire into federal problems that constituents bring to his attention, regardless of the circumstances," Mazonkey said in an e-mail.

Murtha, known for steering millions of dollars in federal earmarks toward contractors in his home district, is considered one of the 22 most corrupt members of Congress by the Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington.

But Melanie Sloan, CREW's executive director, said in this instance, Murtha's letter to State Department officials didn't necessarily seem excessive.

"It seems to me there could be some legitimate reasons he did it," she said.

By Derek Kravitz |  August 15, 2008; 11:08 AM ET
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