Liz Elsewhere

New Majority , February 2nd, 2009
“Murtha Donors Raided by Feds”
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A recent FBI raid on a Pennsylvania defense contractor has reopened old questions about the ethics and staying power of Rep. John Murtha.

Brothers Ron and Bill Kuchera are top executives with Kuchera Industries and Kuchera Defense Systems. The offices of these companies were raided late last month apparently in connection with concerns about possible misuse of corporate funds. 

At the same time, federal agents raided the Kuchera brothers' homes and a game ranch owned by Bill Kuchera.

The Kuchera brothers are important supporters of Rep. Murtha – and thanks to his good offices, large recipients of federal dollars. In 2008, for example, Murtha earmarked $8.2 million for Kuchera enterprises. On the other side of the ledger, Murtha has received over $56,000 in campaign contributions from Kuchera staff in recent years. Both Ron and Bill Kuchera as well as Bill Kuchera's wife, Lena, donated the legal maximum to Murtha's 2008 campaign.  Over the past five years, the Kucheras have collectively donated about $24,000 to Murtha's campaign committee.  In addition, Bill Kuchera's ranch—dubbed "LBK" for himself and his wife-- was in fact used as a venue for an August 2008 fundraiser benefiting Murtha.

The relationship between the Kucheras and Murtha goes deeper still. Bill Kuchera served on the board of the Pennsylvania Association for Individuals With Disabilities, another beneficiary of Murtha-directed federal funds and an organization founded by 27-year veteran Murtha aide Carmen Scialabba.  Kuchera's lobbying on Capitol Hill is done by Ervin Technical Associates (ETA)—a firm whose president and board chairman are both reportedly close to Murtha, with firm president Jim Ervin having once served as a Pentagon liaison to the House of Representatives.

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