Allies rush cash to debilitated Murtha

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“Businesses are notorious for wanting stability in members of Congress,” Mr. Sepp said. “Why break in a new member of Congress when you know the old one so well?”

The money to keep Mr. Murtha’s seat safe came from dozens of Washington politicians, political action committees, the liberal group and employees of numerous defense contractors.

Mr. Murtha’s Republican challenger also relied heavily on outside money to build a campaign chest of more than $2 million, according to FEC records.

“You’ve got to raise as much as you can; otherwise, you’ll just get buried,” said Russell campaign spokesman Steve Clark.

Politicians gave to Mr. Murtha in several ways. Some wrote personal checks. Others dipped into their own congressional campaign funds. Several gave through special leadership PACs that they use to raise money for the campaigns of party leaders and colleagues.

Mr. Emanuel gave to Mr. Murtha through his own campaign fund and separately from his leadership committee.

Other Democratic politicians who opened their checkbooks for Mr. Murtha in the final days of the campaign included Mrs. Clinton, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi of California and Rep. Chet Edwards of Texas.

PACs for a host of special interests, including beer wholesalers, the coal mining industry and government workers, also contributed to Mr. Murtha. The PMA Group’s PAC gave $5,000, while PMA employees gave more than $10,000 in personal donations.

According to data compiled by Washington-based Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, PMA and 10 of its clients have given Mr. Murtha hundreds of thousands of dollars in campaign contributions since 2002.

Mr. Murtha is hardly the only member of Congress to benefit from out-of-state campaign contributions.

More than 90 members of the House, Democrats and Republicans alike, have raised at least 90 percent of their campaign money from outside their own legislative districts, according to a recent report by, a nonpartisan group that tracks how political contributions influence government policy.

“Congressman Murtha is just an example of the river of money that drives Congress,” said Dan Newman,’s executive director.

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