After serving almost exactly 36 years in the United States Congress, Rep. John Murtha of Pennsylvania has died. He had been in intensive care following gall bladder surgery. He was the first Vietnam War veteran elected to Congress.
A mixed bag, politically, Murtha got failing grades from both NARAL and the National Rifle Association.
Murtha was either chairman or ranking member of the House Appropriations Defense Subcommittee for decades, overseeing a record expansion of the military-industrial complex.
But he also broke with the hawks in 2005 when he demanded a withdrawal from the Iraq war.
In 1980, Murtha became embroiled in the Abscam scandal. The FBI caught the congressman on tape considering a $50,000 bribe. He would survive the scandal to serve 30 more years in the House. —PZS