Murtha: ‘If I’m corrupt, it’s because I take care of my district.’

Criticism of Rep. John Murtha (D-PA), whom Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) calls one of the “most corrupt members of Congress,” has been mounting recently over his aggressive efforts to steer money to his district. In a recent interview with the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Murtha used stark language to defend himself against charges of corruption:

Mr. Murtha, a 76-year-old Marine veteran schooled in the blunt-knuckle deal-making that defined politics here, is contrition-free when it comes to his success.

“If I’m corrupt, it’s because I take care of my district,” Mr. Murtha said. “My job as a member of Congress is to make sure that we take care of what we see is necessary. Not the bureaucrats who are unelected over there in whatever White House, whether it’s Republican or Democrat. Those bureaucrats would like to control everything. Every president would like to have all the power and not have Congress change anything. But we’re closest to the people.”

Murtha’s remarks recall another one of CREW’s most corrupt lawmakers, Rep. Don Young (R-AK), who defended his controversial earmarks on the House floor in 2007. “I was always proud of my earmarks. I believe in earmarks, always have, as long as they are exposed. But don’t you ever call that a scandal,” said Young.