It was recently revealed that John Murtha‘s nephew Robert Murtha’s company received about $4 million in no-bid (or sole bid) contracts. Given that John Murtha has considerable political clout, there are suspicions that he used his influence in order to get these contracts for his relative. The reporter who broke the story said that when she went to the business, she found no one there-thus raising suspicions about what is going on.
John Murtha has quite a history of pork, including the most recent pork incident involving an airport. Given his alleged fondness for pork, it would hardly be shocking if he tossed some chops to a relative. However, it is important to note that there is no evidence of wrongdoing. At this point, it is a matter of speculation based on fairly limited evidence.
Naturally, helping a family member need not be anything wrong. We, obviously enough, have a special relationship with our family and we should look out for their well being. For example, if a relative of mine applied for a job at FAMU, I would help him through the process and make sure that everything went smoothly. So, if Murtha merely helped his nephew through the process of securing contracts by giving advice based on his own experience and telling him what snags he might run into, then that would be fine .
However, it would be wrong to cross over from legitimate family help into the realm of nepotism and corruption. For example, while I would do more for a family member applying at FAMU than I would for a stranger, it would be unethical of me to try to interfere with the legitimate hiring process. Likewise, if Murtha used his influence in illegitimate ways to get those contracts for his nephew, then he was acting unethically. If so, he needs to be punished for his misdeed. Of course, he has a great deal of influence and his party is in power-so the likelihood that anything significant will happen to him is fairly low. After all, he has kept the pork flowing in a time when Obama has said that he will put and end to it.