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NYT: Kanjorski bartered votes for pork

He dealt with John Murtha at ‘trading post,’ paper says

A New York Times article published Monday revealed U.S. Rep. Paul Kanjorski, D-Nanticoke, got the aid of a powerful colleague in acquiring millions of dollars for local companies.

The article says Kanjorski got help on “8 to 10” projects, including the $9.5 million he secured for a now-bankrupt company partly owned by his nephews, from dealing with U.S. Rep. John Murtha.

The article, titled “Trading Votes for Pork Across the House Aisle,” explains how Murtha has essentially been running a political trading post in the House.

Murtha, a Johnstown Democrat, has helped Republicans get Democratic votes on bills in return for the money for spending projects, called earmarks.

“Whether they get what they want in the bill or they get the votes they are looking for, nobody ever leaves completely disappointed,” the article quotes Kanjorski as saying.

Kanjorski, the article states, is one of several representatives often seen in what has been dubbed “Murtha corner.” And he has reaped rewards, including securing money to buy disease-resistant socks for soldiers from the Clarks Summit firm of Noble Fiber Technologies.

An article excerpt states:

“Mr. Kanjorski, the Pennsylvania Democrat, said he had help on ‘8 to 10’ projects, including a $9.5 million deal four years ago for research by a firm partly owned by his nephews. In an interview, Mr. Kanjorski said his relatives ‘just happened to be the only people who would take responsibility’ for developing the technology, which involved using water jets to pulverize materials. He said he recently gave Mr. Murtha a pair of high-tech disease-resistant socks made with silver fibers by a company in his district. After padding around in them, Mr. Kanjorski said, Mr. Murtha was so pleased that he agreed to an earmark to buy them for soldiers.”

A Noble Fiber Technologies company profile says the president and chief executive officer is William McNally and the chief financial officer is Donna Bennie.

Kanjorski on Monday made the following statement:

“My comments to the New York Times regarding Congressman Jack Murtha’s effectiveness in the U.S. House of Representatives emphasized his interest in helping his colleagues better serve their districts. His power is derived from his ability to reach workable compromises with members of very disparate backgrounds, not his ability to deliver earmarks. I am disappointed that the story failed to fully reflect the extraordinary legislative talents of my friend, Jack Murtha, which has helped his district and has helped my district.”

Kanjorski had previously been criticized for obtaining money for his nephews’ company, Cornerstone Technologies LLC. The company planned to develop high-tech applications for its patented high-pressure water-jet technology, create a work force and partner with major commercial and military corporations. It became mired in lawsuits and debt, failed to prosper once the government funds dried up and has since filed for bankruptcy.

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