Thursday, November 1, 2007


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Following increased public scrutiny of a controversial charity linked to U.S. Representative Jack Murtha, D-PA, the group’s board of directors mysteriously vanished from the organization’s website, the Majority Accountability Project ( has learned.

The Pennsylvania Association for Individuals with Disabilities (PAID) -- headed by a longtime Murtha aide and created with federal money garnered by the scandal-plagued Congressman -- claims to help the disabled find employment.

But investigations by several news outlets, including, raised new questions about the group’s mission and achievements. Following September reports in the Capitol Hill newspaper Roll Call and, PAID removed the list of its board members from the charity’s website. reported on September 12, 2007, that PAID named Murtha as its Honorary Chairman as late as June 25, 2007. Other well-known board members included Pittsburgh Steelers fullback Rocky Bleier, former U.S. Senator Max Cleland, D-GA, a triple-amputee Vietnam veteran [See material at the end of this post about Max Cleland], and U.S. Representative Patrick Kennedy, D-RI.

The entire board was deleted from PAID’s website following articles about questionable spending by the organization, and a lack of success on behalf of the disabled.

New Scrutiny

According to the Capitol Hill newspaper Roll Call, disability advocates in Pennsylvania never heard of PAID.“Since its creation, PAID claims to have helped 237 people with disabilities obtain permanent jobs,” they reported.

“But the organization has never been mentioned in a local newspaper and it does not appear to have ever been awarded any of the myriad citations given by agencies that employ people with disabilities.”

That same week, reported the organization spent as much as $600,000 on voter registration, an effort whose largest single beneficiary would be Murtha.

Old Questions

Despite its apparent failure as an advocate for the disabled, the Washington Post reported last December that “PAID has become a gathering point for defense contractors and lobbyists with business before Murtha's defense appropriations subcommittee, and for Pennsylvania businesses and universities that have thrived on federal money obtained by Murtha.”

In addition to the more well known board members, PAID’s directors included a host of lobbyists and defense contractors who have benefited from Murtha’s taxpayer-funded largesse.

Those with business before Murtha’s committees are well-represented at PAID’s annual golf tournament, priced at upwards of $10,000. The main named sponsor of last year’s tournament was Applied Ordnance Technology, which has seen its share of federal funding skyrocket after the company opened an office in Johnstown, PA, at the behest of Murtha.

This year’s tournament was held at the Argyle Country Club on September 24; but, unlike prior years, PAID did not post photos of the event on their website.

Note from Steve Maloney: Max Cleland, a former U.S. Senator from Georgia is a notable stooge for John Murtha. MAP points out that Cleland is a "triple-amputee" and Viet Nam-era war veteran. What MAP doesn't point out is that Cleland doesn't have a Purple Heart. Why?

Because his injuries were self-inflicted. Contrary to all instructions given to troops at the time, Cleland picked up a hand-grenade on a U.S. base, rather than calling munitions experts. While he was gazing at it, the grenade went off. He didn't receive a Purple Heart because his injuries were due to his own actions.

For obvious reasons, Cleland is extremely reticent about how he got his "war wounds."

As for PAID, it obviously has nothing to do with disabled individuals. It's one purpose for being is to link Murtha with people and organizations who will support his political aspirations with huge "donations." If you go to, you can find the organizations that pour money into Murtha's coffers.

In 2006, one supposedly non-profit contributor, UPMC (University of Pittsburgh Medical Center) gave Murtha $192,500. The contributions came from UPMC's PAC, as well as from wealthy administrators and doctors that Murtha helped enrich with federal dollars.

The non-profit UPMC recently reported a surplus (i.e., profit) of nearly half-a-billion dollars. UPMC has received criticism in the Pittsburgh area for wildly overcharging patients, including those on Medicaid, the federally funded health program for the poor.

In the case of my indigent brother, William, he went a UPMC facility with a feeling of faintness -- a condition called syncope -- and the original bill for this minor affliction was $22,600. Medicaid paid about half that fee, one that was totally out-of-line.

What kind of standard of care does UPMC provide? In that regard, we might ask the organization's chairman, Jeffrey Romoff, whose view of UPMC's care is so deficient that he himself went to Johns Hopkins for treatment of his own medical condition. (If you "google" Romoff's name, you can find the whole story about his trip to Baltimore for treatment.)

In 2006, Murtha transferred some of his own campaign funds to 4th District Democrat Jason Altmire, who narrowly defeated Republican Melissa Hart in PA's 4th Congressional District.

What did Altmire do before he became one of Nancy Pelosi's and John Murtha's favorites in Congress? He was a six-figure lobbyist for UPMC. During the congressional race, Altmire referred to Murtha as his "campaign manager."

Pennsylvania Politics: you gotta love it.

Steve Maloney
Ambridge, PA

Please help William Russell in his campaign against Murtha by going to his web site at: If you can make a small contribution or other offer of support, William will very much appreciate it.

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