The FBI and the IRS raided a defense contractor heavily linked to Rep. John Murtha as part of an ongoing investigation headed by the Inspector General of the Defense Department. The firms raided are Kuchera Industries and Kuchera Defense Systems, both owned and operated by Ron and Bill Kuchera. The firms do a large amount of business with the Defense Department and with larger defense firms with government contracts, such as Raytheon and Northrup Grumman. Murtha is closely tied to the firms, having provided millions in earmarks, and the Kuchera brothers, whose personal residences and Bill Kuchera’s game preserve were also raided.
Since 2002, employees of Kuchera firms have provided $60,600 in campaign contributions to John Murtha and his political action committee. Over those same years, Murtha has provided the firms with an immense amount of help from his position as ranking member and then chair of the Defense Appropriations Subcommittee. In 2008, one of the few years in which earmarks were mandated to be disclosed, Murtha earmarked $8.2 million to the Kuchera firms. The Washington Post previously reported that Bill Kuchera was one of many defense contractors and lobbyists who sat on the board of a Murtha-linked nonprofit.
There has so far been no indication that Murtha is involved in the investigation. WJAC-TV in Johnstown, PA, reported that the purview of the Defense Department’s Inspector General covers “fraud crimes in which the government was either a part to or a victim of.”