What is the Center for Instrumented Critical Infrastructure?

Update 7/21/07:
The Department of Energy is denying Murtha's claim that it supports his $1 million earmark request to fund this Center. DoE spokeswoman Anne Kolton said that the earmark is not a program that meets the department's "mission-critical" threshold, noting it was "inconsistent" with the department's 2008 budget.

* * * * *

A million bucks paid by you is small change compared to debating the entire federal budget of $2.8 trillion, but what it goes to is pretty shady.

Just what is the Center for Instrumented Critical Infrastructure? A long-winded corporate term for some project designed to make citizens think that this thing is about safety or security? A search through Yahoo or Google does not turn up anything substantial.

On the House floor Tuesday, Republican Rep. Jeff Flake of Arizona questioned Democratic Rep. Peter J. Visclosky of Indiana who is Chairman of the Appropriations Subcommittee about this Center. Visclosky admitted that he didn't have a clue.

After a lengthy back-and-forth, Flake, complaining that his staff couldn't find a website for the center, asked Visclosky, "Does the center currently exist?"

"At this time, I do not know," the Indiana Democrat replied. "But if it does not exist, the monies could not go to it."

Perhaps he should ask Pennsylvania Democrat John P. Murtha. He's the sponsor for this earmark. He also did not show up to defend this so-called Center. Supposedly, the Center is part of a corporation called Concurrent Technologies (link to their web site), which is based in Johnstown, PA.

Yet Flake's attempt to get rid of that earmark failed 98 to 326. Even though Visclosky admitted he did not know what the Center is about, the Democrats still chose to support the earmark.

Here is where it gets interesting. Concurrent Technologies Corporation (CTC) is actually a Section 501(c)(3) entity. Their 2005 Form 990 reports no direct support from the public (charitable contributions), yet it has received over $116 million in government grants in that year.

It would seem that back in 1988, Murtha asked the University of Pittsburgh to form a non-profit entity that would focus on excellence in metalworking. This entity would receive funding from the Navy. Over the years, this non-profit became CTC. It would seem that this "corporation" is totally funded by earmarks. The New York Times believe that CTC has been paid almost $1 billion in grants and contracts. From 2002, it would seem that most of the members of the CTC board and directors have contributed to Murtha's campaign.

Daniel DeVos, president of CTC is part of the PMA Group, one of Murtha's largest overall campaign-funders.

Note also that Murtha slipped in a few earmarks for Concurrent back in May for the Intelligence Authorization bill. It contained $5.5 million for CTC for a mobile missile monitoring system and intelligence training. Of course it got cut in half during the House-Senate conference of the bill.

Also interesting is a June 2007 press release by Murtha about Concurrent Technologies being listed by Washington Technology magazine in their top 100 government contractors as well as being nominated for the 2007 Secretary of Defense Employer Support Freedom Award for its continuing support of employees who serve in the National Guard and Reserve.

Check out the C-SPAN video file

Related Links

Redstate - This is a problem

Crypt's Blog - What's in your wallet?

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Comments

Too many stupid bills are passed at the expense of Americans. :-(

The earmark is designed to create the center. The acutal purpose of the center sounds reasonable -- adding sensors to gas and power infrastructure to detect failures.

What is completely unreasonable is that federal funds be used for these and the myriad other purposes in a way that benefits a small percentage of citizens. If Murtha wants to spend public money in his district, get it on a local ballot and see if his constituents want to pay for it. It is much easier to get it tacked on to the end of an appropriations bill and have 430 representatives who have no idea what it is approve it, so that taxpayers spread all over the country, most of whom will never use this infrastructure, will be forced to pay for it.

There are so many problems with this story:

1. If Visclosky couldn't validate the existence of the center, why did he go out of his way to validate it's funding?

2. If no one on the house floor could identify the center or it's purpose, why did they approve it's funding by over a 3-1 margin?

3. After the steady stream of republicans being paraded in front of us to demonstrate unethical abuse of earmarks, why did 50% of republicans vote in favor of this spending?

4. After watching this shameful spectacle on the house floor, can there be any confidence that the funds will be spent in any way consistent with the intent in the earmark?

Of course, the earmark boondoggle has no party affiliation. Most republicans are happy to go along with Murtha et. al. for fear of having any of their own earmarks come under scrutiny.

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Posted by: R Jones
Posted on: July 21, 2007 09:05 AM

Thanks for giving us that video link! The best disinfectant is sunshine.

R. Jones

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Posted by:
Posted on: July 30, 2007 05:26 AM

Try asking this guy.....http://www.ctc.com/learnaboutctc/c4isr.cfm

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Posted by: antv
Posted on: July 30, 2007 10:01 AM

You've rebutted your own points there, runaway, the reason it passed is because "Most republicans are happy to go along with Murtha et. al. for fear of having any of their own earmarks come under scrutiny." although its not just republicans that are guilty of this. Everyone will be more than happy to look the other way because they don't want to be called on their near-criminal actions.

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Posted by: James (Author)
Posted on: July 30, 2007 10:39 AM

Exactly, but you got a few congressmen who are willing to embarass either party over some shady earmark.

Members of Congress appear to be very slow learners. They haven't yet realized that in this era of instant global communications in full color, there are no secrets. Even after some of their members have learned this fact the hard way, they still don't get it. Ask former rep Mark Foley how his cell phone text messages became public knowledge.

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Posted by: Johnny Yuma
Posted on: August 2, 2007 06:49 PM

Time for another Boston tea party

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Posted by: Bob
Posted on: January 23, 2008 01:10 AM

The DOE has so much money that they don't know where to spend it. How else do you think their website is a PR10 - they must have slipped Google engineers a suitcase or two full of cash for that one.

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Posted by: Ukwebco
Posted on: March 3, 2008 01:29 AM

If Concurrent Technologies Corporation (CTC) is a non-profit organization and mainly feeds on government grants and feeds, then accounts should be properly maintained as part of a federal system to show up its expenditure in various projects to in public.

http://www.ukwebco.com/

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Posted by: Bob
Posted on: March 15, 2008 11:51 AM

But I'm sure the liberal Dems are going to fix all of this soon enough... cough, cough....

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Posted by: adam
Posted on: April 5, 2008 10:36 AM

Try asking this guy.....http://www.ctc.com/learnaboutctc/c4isr.cfm

The bills should be passed to help Americans, not to plunder from them..

Boston tea party rulez :P

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Posted by: Murano
Posted on: June 16, 2009 08:22 AM

Its good that questions are asked about money spent the UK has a big row over politicians excessive spending at the moment.

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