Cernig and I are on the same wavelength today. I had the same immediate reaction when reading the about Murtha's endorsement of Hillary. It dredged up vague recollections of being burned by actions that belied his rhetoric. A quick check at sourcewatch.org refreshes the memory.
Murtha has delivered votes to help Republicans block a number of Democratic initiatives: "to investigate federal contracting fraud in Iraq, to reform lobbying laws, to increase financing for flood control, to add $150 million for veterans' health care and job training, and to exempt middle-class families from the alternative minimum tax." Those who vote with Murtha have been rewarded with a large supply of earmarks for their districts.
In 1989 Murtha became chairman of the Defense Appropriation Subcommittee. There he imposed new rules and procedure that forced Defense appropriations bills to be decided behind closed doors. The practice has continued since Republicans took the majority in 1995.Before it's lost in the stampede to canonize the man, it might be good to remember that in the end he's just another professional politician who has built his career on earmarks.
In 2006, When the Republican majority brought their ethics package, the Lobbying Accountability and Transparency Act of 2006, to the floor, Rep. Louise Slaughter (D-N.Y.) offered a motion to recommit with instructions to strike the text of the bill and replace it with the text of the Honest Leadership and Open Government Act, the Democrat's ethics bill. The motion to recommit failed by three votes, after Rep. Murtha led a group of four Democrats, himself and Reps. Rick Boucher (D-Va.), Martin Sabo (D-Minn.), and Michael Capuanoto (D-Mass.), to vote with the Republicans.