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Friday, January 23, 2009

Breaking Exclusive: Firm With Deep Ties To Murtha Raided By FBI And IRS Agents

From Pat Dollard's.

So two local cronies of John Murtha, who have been kicked of dollars in defense contracts and earmarks by him through the appropriations committee, have been kicking money back to him. The company is called Kuchera industries, and is owned by brothers Bill and Ron Kuchera. It’s located in Windber, Pennsylvania. Here’s Kuchera’s website. I have an exclusive source inside the company who is feeding me information. The approximately 25 Federal agents rounded up the employees, took everyone’s social security number, and sent almost all of them packing. It is not known exactly who, if anyone, was detained. The Feds remained, poring through files, papers, and computers, and removed boxes stuffed with God knows what. Is Murtha a war profiteer and war criminal, bilking the Defense Department out of precious dollars? Developing…

Bill(left) and Ron(right) Kuchera.
From WaPo.

Murtha repeatedly intervened on behalf of PAID to help Kuchera expand.

After PAID’s founding, Scialabba approached Kuchera to get involved. Kuchera jumped, not only joining the group’s board but ramping up hiring of disabled workers, who now compose a third of the 200 employees in his company’s defense business. The federal government picked up Kuchera’s $7 million training bill. This year, Murtha earmarked $1.3 million for Kuchera’s chemical and biological weapons detection research.

Kuchera employees donated more than $31,000 to Murtha in the past three election campaigns, according to federal election records. Between 1990 and 2000, contributions totaled $1,000. And congressional lobbying disclosure forms tally $140,000 in payments since 2001 from Kuchera to Ervin Technical Associates, whose chairman is former representative Joseph M. McDade (R-Pa.), a close Murtha ally.

The Hill:

The company has been active in politics, with top officials donating more than $100,000 in campaign contributions over the past decade, to both Democrats and Republicans.

The majority of that money, according to Federal Election Commission filings, has gone to Murtha; company officials gave their hometown congressman more than $56,000 in contributions in recent years. Sens. Arlen Specter (R-Pa.) and Bob Casey Jr. (D-Pa.), as well as Reps. Bill Shuster (R-Pa.), Patrick Murphy (D-Pa.), Mike Doyle (D-Pa.) and David Hobson (R-Ohio) have taken money from Kuchera employees.

Kuchera has several Pentagon contracts that could be worth more than $100 million over a decade, including parts used in air-to-air and surface-to-air missiles, and robots used in dangerous war zones to patrol vehicles for booby traps and bombs.

The company employs around 250 people.

Links between Murtha and top executives at Kuchera run deep. Chief Executive Officer Bill Kuchera served on the board of a nonprofit group that a Murtha aide founded, according to a 2006 article in The Washington Post. The group is dedicated to helping the disabled find jobs.

At the time the Post article came out, Kuchera told the paper his company did not rely on Murtha for federal business, and that the congressman is simply “supportive of everything you can think of around [Johnstown], from roads and sewers to defense contractors.”