Washington (CNN) - The founder and head of a now-defunct lobbying firm accused of providing illegal campaign contributions to members of Congress was arrested by FBI agents and charged Thursday.
Paul Magliocchetti, president of the once-influential PMA Group, was charged with a scheme to provide hundreds of thousands of dollars from sham contributors to favored lawmakers to build his power and influence with Capitol Hill powerbrokers.
PMA's ties to lawmakers, including the late Congressman Jack Murtha, D-Pennsylvania, and Rep. Pete Visclosky, D-Indiana, on behalf of defense contractors seeking earmarks, prompted a series of investigations. The House ethics committee determined the campaigns were unaware of the "straw" donors scheme secretly funded by PMA. No ethics charges resulted.
(CNN) - Keep your eyes on southwestern Pennsylvania. While it's being overshadowed by higher-profile Senate primaries, a special election Tuesday for a House seat that represents that part of the state has drawn national attention and could have national implications.
And while the winners in the Senate primaries move onto the general election in November, the victor in this contest goes directly to Congress.
Republican Tim Burns is battling Democrat Mark Critz to fill the seat of the late Rep. John Murtha.
The race has stepped up in intensity over the past month, with both campaigns as well as national party committees going up with television ads.
Washington (CNN) - FreedomWorks announced Wednesday that it's backing Tim Burns, the Republican candidate running in the May 18 special election for the House seat of the late Rep. John Murtha.
FreedomWorks' political action committee and the organization's chairman, former top House Republican Dick Armey, officially endorsed Burns. The group also announced they'll fund Burn's get out the vote efforts, which they say will include "door-to-door literature drops, phone banks, and yard sign distribution."
"Tim Burns may be new to the political scene, but it is real-world experience that qualifies him to serve the people of Pennsylvania's 12th District," says Armey in a release. "Tim learned the values of hard work and fiscal responsibility in starting a successful company from the ground up."
FreedomWorks is a nonprofit conservative organization that helps train volunteer activists and has provided much of the organizational heft behind the Tea Party movement.
Washington (CNN) - Rep. John Murtha, D-Pennsylvania, was remembered by colleagues Wednesday during a memorial service held in the U.S. Capitol building's Statuary Hall. Murtha died February 8 after complications from gallbladder surgery.
Among the speakers at the ceremony were Vice President Joseph Biden, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Defense Secretary Robert Gates, National Security Advisor James L. Jones, and several Democratic and Republican leaders.
Speaking towards the end of the service, Pelosi recalled Murtha as a courageous and loyal supporter of American servicemen.
"He was so interested in the soldiers. He could identify with and speak to them as one who had served in the military, but also his affection for them was as a father," Pelosi said.
The House Speaker also told a story about one of the many trips Murtha took to military hospitals to visit wounded war veterans, during which one soldier, dressed in a Pittsburgh Steelers jersey, waited in his room for Murtha in full salute.
"Jack loved that," Pelosi said.
Washington (CNN) - The National Naval Medical Center has opened a review of the surgical care provided to the late Rep. John Murtha, D-Pennsylvania, who died last week following complications from a recent surgery.
A senior US military official declined to speak on the record citing privacy concerns but confirmed to CNN the review includes an in-depth "quality assurance" and review of the outcomes of the care Murtha received.
The Navy is keeping the Murtha family apprised of its findings.
While at the Navy's hospital in Bethesda, Maryland Murtha had his gallbladder removed on January 28 using a laparoscopic surgical technique. He later became ill and died at Virginia Hospital Center - a local civilian hospital the Washington DC area - on February 8. He was admitted to the hospital's intensive care unit on January 31.
Military sources say its believed Murtha's intestine may have been nicked during the initial procedure leading to massive infection. In a statement to CNN earlier this month, a source close to the congressman told CNN's Senior Medical Correspondent Elizabeth Cohen that was the case.
(CNN) - Pennsylvania and the nation said good-bye Tuesday to John P. Murtha, politician, warrior, father, friend, gentleman.
Speakers at the funeral for the Democratic congressman recalled a man skilled in the ways of Washington but, more importantly, a public servant who never forgot why he was elected 17 times to represent the people of Pennsylvania's 12th district.
"Jack Murtha never lost sight of God's purpose in the law," said the Rev. William George, president of the Georgetown Preparatory School in Washington. "Law-making should be sacred work and Jack knew that."
Murtha, 77, died February 8 of complications from gall bladder surgery.
A former Marine colonel and twice-wounded Vietnam War veteran, Murtha earned a reputation as one of Congress's loudest anti-war voices. He initially supported the 2003 invasion of Iraq, but he stunned much of Washington when he called for a swift U.S. pullout in November 2005.
"U.S. and coalition troops have done all they can," Murtha said. "It's time for a change in direction."
Washington (CNN) - The mountains and valleys of southwestern Pennsylvania seem a world away from Washington, but they may soon be the scene of a fierce campaign battle between Democrats and Republicans.
Monday's death of Democratic Rep. John Murtha triggers a special election for his office, and conventional wisdom says the GOP has a good chance to pick up a House seat.
While Murtha rarely had any serious challenges in his 18 re-election contests, his party doesn't dominate what's considered a socially conservative district, which stretches from Cambria County in west-central Pennsylvania down to the southwestern corner of the state.
In the 2004 presidential election, Sen. John Kerry won Pennsylvania's 12th Congressional District by 2 percentage points. But Sen. John McCain narrowly edged out Barack Obama in that district in the 2008 presidential contest, even though Obama carried the state by 10 percent. The 12th was the only congressional district Kerry won in 2004 that McCain carried four years later.
(CNN) - Taking out a patient's gallbladder is routine. At least 500,000 such surgeries are done each year in the United States. It takes an hour or two, and the patient can go home that day or the next.
But in rare cases, the surgery can be deadly. Democratic Rep. John Murtha of Pennsylvania recently died after complications from the procedure after doctors "hit his intestines" during surgery, a source close to the late congressman told CNN.
Murtha underwent the scheduled laparoscopic surgery at the National Naval Medical Center in Bethesda, Maryland, on January 28, to remove his gallbladder, and was discharged. Three days later, he was admitted to Virginia Hospital Center's Intensive Care Unit because of major complications from surgery, the hospital said in a statement. He died there Monday at age 77.
The National Naval Medical Center declined to reveal additional details on Murtha's death.
Washington (CNN) - Pennsylvania Rep. John Murtha died Monday as a result of recent gallbladder surgery complications which arose from doctors accidentally nicking Murtha's intestines, a source close to the late congressman has told CNN. The procedure was "routine minimally invasive surgery," but doctors "hit his intestines," the source said.
–CNN's Sabriya Rice contributed to this report
Pennsylvania Democrat Rep. John Murtha died Monday at age 77. (Photo Credit: Getty Images/File)
(CNN) - Rep. John Murtha of Pennsylvania, a longtime fixture on the House subcommittee that oversees Pentagon spending, died Monday following complications from gallbladder surgery, according to a statement from his office.
He was 77.
The veteran Democratic congressman recently underwent scheduled laparoscopic surgery to remove his gallbladder.
Murtha was hospitalized in December and had to postpone a hearing with Defense Secretary Robert Gates on the administration's strategy in Afghanistan.
The congressman returned to work after a few days in the hospital and helped oversee final passage of the 2010 defense appropriations bill.
Murtha represented Pennsylvania's 12th congressional district in the House since 1974, making him the chamber's eighth most senior member. According to his biography on the House Web site, Murtha was the first Vietnam War combat veteran elected to Congress.